I was taking a guided tour of the author’s house to find out if the Hemingway mystique still survives in Key West. He used to be the No. 1 celebrity here, not only famed for his writing but also for his macho image as a war correspondent, sports fisherman, and bullfight aficionado. He was the unofficial king of Key West.
But it has been more than 70 years since “Papa” resided here. Has his star faded over time? No, his larger-than-life persona lives on.
Start at his two-story Caribbean-style villa with wrap-around balconies that was built in 1841. Now a National Historic Landmark, it opened to the public in 1964 so visitors can literally walk in his footsteps.
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Note: I visited Key West in 1979 and as I was and am an admirer of Hemingway's work, I too walked through the late great writer's house and grounds.
If you are planning a visit, I recommend you get in the proper spirit by first reading To Have and Have Not, Hemingway's crime novel set in Key West in the 1930's.