Take a leisurely tour of the home and gardens of the late Nobel Prize winner, Ernest Hemingway, one of the most honored and ... More
Take a leisurely tour of the home and gardens of the late Nobel Prize winner, Ernest Hemingway, one of the most honored and respected authors in America who moved in this house in 1931 and lived and wrote at this house for over ten years. The house is a Registered National Historic Landmark and insightful, educational guided tours of the house and gardens are available.
I Just returned from Key West, where i visited the Hemingway House on Tuesday; first time since seeing it in 1963! My interest in Hemingway is lifelong, having read all his published works, starting well before studying his literature as part of a degree in literature and arts from University of Michigan years ago. I understand it's run by a foundation which generally is a device used to ensure the character and essence of a subject of historical or cultural importnance and legacy, not just its commercial profit or any mission not respecting the importance or significance of the subject. Yet, this visit was hugely disappointing on a number of counts. For a $12.50, admission fee, there wasn't even a simple descriptive handout, map, brochure-nothing about the essence of Hemingway's character or a description of his activites when he lived there-like what he wrote there, for instance. Much seemed to be made of all the details and names of the resident cats-cute, but rather a rather trite emphasis compared to any decent portrayal of what should be a shrine to literary genius and fame. The whole tours seemed geared to entertaining the many kids who were constantly an annoyance. I have nothing against educating children of enough maturity to absorb a visit and some introduction to this author and his literature-but not very little, unmanaged children, constantly underfoot, disruptive and annoying to adults with some sincere interest. Most of the tourists seemed little aware of Hemingway's import-I doubt if many have even read his works from what I could hear. the tours were far too large, the guides did NOTHING to answer my individual questions about Hemingway-just referring me to the bookstore-which was nothing more than a souvenir stand with little information other than selling Hemingway's books which I have in total anyway. Several guides repeatedly brushed off my polite questions-both as to literary perspectives, history or simply how to best tour the house, as I am mildly handicapped and have trouble climbing stairs-they seemed to care less! I did ask if they were docents or paid staff; it was obvious that your paid staff care little about interests about the author or his works.
Perhaps the best museums, galleries, and homesites, shrines of any similar nature I've ever visited were best operated with docents, volunteers who actually have a sincere interest both in their subject and an educational-informative skill to communicate to visitors.
In summary, I found the operation of what could be a beautiful shrine to an American literary figure and an inspiration for both his readers and those wanting to really learn more about the man and his works to be a huge disappointment, being reduced to another commercial entity or "been there, done that" tourist traps like the many t-shirt shops, hokey tours and tawdry tourist trap operations that pollute the beauty and great character of Key West , for which it is justly famous.
The house and grounds were in great shape. The tour guides had some very interesting stories about Mr. Hemingway and his wife. The place is very relaxing, and felt like it could have been home. We are cat lovers so that dident hert either.
Liked: Interesting tour guide who knew his stuff,and had a good sense of humor.
Disliked: The house and grounds have been very poorly maintained. There seem to have been some recent and poorly designed attempts at some less-than-classy landscaping, including a brick sidewalk on one side of the property, and mismatched pavers and paths on the rest of the property (almost like an incomplete attempt and an exterior renovation.) The property seems sparce and could use some plantings and tropical trees for shade.
The property needs major repairs to bring it back to it's Hemingway glory. It seems mis-managed so it makes me wonder where the fees and gift-shop money is going... It seems that, other than the 6 toed cats and the fact that he lived there for a time, the Hemingway connection is a bit stretched at best.
You'd be better off to spend your money on the conch-train tour or buy a collectible at the sunset celebration.
i have been to visit the hemingway 4 times and am anxious to visit for the 5th time when i take my 11 yr. Old granddaughter for a tour of the lovely home. we will be there in march 2008 over spring break and she is already talking about it. our home is full of anything hemingway we can get our hands on. i have read all the hemingway books and each one fasinates me a little more than the previous one. great reading!!!! my granddaughter at 11 yrs. Of age is also reading some of his material. the old house is beautiful and we absolutely love the cats. we are cat lovers so we especially enjoy the felines. i could spend a day at the house and museum and never go anyplace else in the keys. thank you for letting us have a peek into the lives of hemingway and his fascinating wives. nancy ball , thornville oh.
The tours are free of charge and very interesting.
In addition to the house you can sit down on a bench in the lovely garden and enjoy a few moments before moving on. All in all the Hemmingway House is a nice place too hang out.
We had a great tour guide for this beautiful home. It was very hot the day of our tour, but the gardens were gorgeous. If you enjoy botanical gardens, you will enjoy this house tour even if you don't like Hemingway.
This was a great excursion. We learned alot about Key West on the walk to the house, as we had an excellent guide. The house was very nice and the stories all interesting. The grounds were beautiful and the cats fascinating! Definitely a must see!
The house is well worth visiting especially if you like history. The tour guide was very knowledgeable. My husband usually hates when I drag him to these "boring" places, but even he enjoyed the visit.
The 65 or so cats on the property and the cat cemetery are interesting to say the least. I would recommend it for anyone who takes a trip to Key West, however, be warned it is very warm in the house during the summer. Cooled with fans only.
*Terms & Conditions: Savings calculation is based on Flight + Hotel vacation package bookings for a 3 month period for 2 adults with a 2+ night length of stay compared to price of the same components if booked separately during same period. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, travel dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages.