How To Avoid A Crap Time In Key West
It's pretty rare that I visit a place based solely on it's literary heritage. So rare in fact, it's happened only once. Key West, the luckiest devil in the USA if geography is anything to go by (it's closer to Havana than it is Miami) was home to the rum fuelled man-buffalo and literary lone wolf, Ernest Hemingway. One of my all time faves. His house is 907 Whitehead Street and is lazily patrolled by cats with 7 toes, descended from Hemingway's own quirky feline company. I'm not normally fussed about preserved houses, in fact I find the concept creepy, but this one was a proper treat for the young me who loved Green Hills of Africa. Outside here, Key West is a mixed bag, either a magnet for the spring break crowd or the culture lovers pick in Florida.
Despite my fandom for Hemingway, it's always good to hear what the locals think. Key West native Nathan Thornburgh has put together a guide that gives the party scene a swerve and switches out the guidebook darlings for the island's secret bounties. It is a walk, eat and drink trundle through less visited, more authentic spots, written with real passion for his hometown which presumably omitting Hemingway's house because, you know, it's a no-brainer. Either way, you'll be hard pressed to find a better written guide to the USA's southernmost point.