Ernest Hemingway’s House, Key West – We loved seeing the Hemingway House in Key West and not in ways I would have imagined. The house itself was built in the 1850’s by another family and fell in disrepair in the 1880’s. Hemingway received it in the 1930’s as a wedding present and lived there through the 1930’s with his second wife Pauline (he had four, information which is part of the tour and Hemingway lore). The house is sturdy and beautiful. It has original hardwood flooring and large windows in every room. Every room is well balanced and graceful. There are about 50 to 70 cats roaming the rooms and property. The property is large and includes Hemingway office/study/work house and pool. It gives you a chance to see and feel how he lived and worked and it gives you a sense of a life of grace in a way that you could not otherwise experience. The combination of lovely weather, a large sense of space, beautiful grounds and plants and sumptuousness give you a sense for how he could sit with fans blowing all around and write fabulous fiction. It was a glimpse into another time and another way of living.
Fort Zach’s Beach, Key West – This State Park and Beach was different that I was expecting. We paid our $7.50 and enjoyed the beach. On the plus side, it is the only sand beach in Key West or possibly on the Keys. You can park and walk straight down to the sand beach. You can take a picture of yourself on the rocks at point zero, the most southern point of the US landmass. We were there on a windy, wavy day and we did swim out with masks on, but had no visibility. I have heard that on a calm day, there are fish, coral and nice things to see underwater around the rocks. On the less plus side, there is little shelter on the beach so on a sunny day, you get a lot of sun and it is very hot. Much of the beach is rocky. It’s hard to walk around at the water’s edge. The water can be wavy for small kids. There are not any trash bins, so if you are eating, you need to bring your trash out with you. This is a great place to watch the sunset, but the park also closes at sunset, so the park rangers chase everyone out of the park right after it finishes.