The Arts: Hemingway's Key West Haven
Ernest Hemingway is one of my favourite of all time. He had an adventurous life that rivalled the characters in his works. A visit to Hemingway’s writing haven in Key West is what inspired me to become a travel writer.
On a visit to Key West in March 2015, I visited the home Hemingway had on the island. The Spanish Colonial style home contained many of the original furnishings from the time Hemingway lived there from 1930 to 1939. It is one of three homes Hemingway had and has been designated as a US National Register of Historic Places since 1968. The home was the first on the island to have a swimming pool and a second-floor bathroom with running water.
There are three portraits of him on the first floor. One where he is in his 40s, one in his 60s, and an artist’s portrait of Hemingway where he looks in his 30s. In each portrait Hemingway looks pensive, distinguished and sober.
Another highlight of the property are the polydactyl, cats, who are descendants of the original feline Snow White, who was given to Hemingway by a ship captain. Today, because of Snow White, there are up to 50 of these six toed cats living on the Key West property.
As a writer myself, it is not surprising many that my favourite room was his writing studio. This was located on the second floor of a carriage house, separate from the main house. I was looking forward to seeing this part of the property more than any other. He wrote many works including The Snows of Kilimanjaro and the novel To Have and Have Not and the nonfiction work Green Hills of Africa while in this room.
I can imagine that after some time drinking at Sloppy Joe’s, Hemingway would come home guided by the lighthouse across the way. He would stumble up to his studio and write. As I looked at the room that Hemingway once sat in surrounded by books, I could understand how these surroundings inspired great work. It truly was Hemingway’s writing haven in Key West.
Hemingway’s writing haven in Key West was the highlight of my trip. I can identify with Papa Hemingway on a few levels. As a result, his writing inspired me to travel. I can also relate to the tortured and depressed writer personality too. He has touched me through his prose. I was intrigued by the legend and I want to emulate his adventurous lifestyle and share my experiences with the world.
|About the Author
A journalism major from Pace University, Nicole Bergstrom is a native of New Jersey and a 20 year veteran travel writer. Nicole works as a freelance journalist and now resides in the UK, where she has been published in Global Traveler, Trazee Book, Code of Style, A Luxury Travel Blog, Arrivedo and Matador Network.