Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hemingway House Museum

One of the six toed cats at the Hemingway House
Oh the cats. That's the first thing you'll notice. There are a lot of them at the Hemingway House, somewhere between forty and fifty. But these aren't just any old cats. They're polydactyl cats, which means, they can have extra toes on each foot. Four to Seven additional digits is common.

The first was Snowball. A gift to Hemingway, from a friend, who was a sea captain. According to legend, if you're a sailor, it's good luck to have a six toed cat on your ship. Today, not all of the feline residence have extra toes, but each carries the gene that causes the mutation.

The Hemingway House and Museum is open daily from 9-5 and is one block off Duval and Olivia at 907 Whitehead Street. Admission is $13 for adults and $6 for children. Group rates of 12 or more are available, call to check on rates: 305-294-1136. Set aside at least 90 minutes for your visit.

If you drive past, watch out for pedestrians. Getting that perfect shot of the entrance, often requires stepping out into traffic. Add in jaywalkers and a few bikes and scooters and navigation can be tricky.

Once you're safely inside the brick walled estate, go directly to the front porch and check to see when the next 30 minute guided tour is scheduled. If one has already started, wait. Go check out the gardens, and come back for the next tour. The well trained guides will regale you with stories and insight into a man many consider to be one of the world's greatest writers.  It's definitely worth a short wait.

Howard Hughes, a 7 toed cat. 
Highlights, on your tour, will include Pauline's pool and Papa's revenge, the cat cemetery out back, and Hemingway's typewriter in his office over the carriage house. There's oh so much more, but I don't want to spoil it for you.

There is a small gift shop, in the carriage house, where you can buy Hemingway's novels, poems, short stories and biographies. They carry a nice variety of souvenirs too.

The grounds are beautiful, so take a few minutes to wander. If you're looking for an unusual wedding spot, you can get married here. You can even get a Hemingway look-a-like to perform the ceremony.

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