Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nekkid People in Key West

Florida Keys-Sunshine Key Rv Park (high 84, low 74)

We had so much fun in Key West on Monday, that we decided to go back yesterday.  This time, we rode the bus for $1.50 per person (senior rate) each way.

The bus stop is right in front of our campground, so at noon we were out there waiting for the bus.  It took about 1 1/2 hours to get to Key West.

We started off the day at Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West.  It cost $25 for both of us, but it was money well spent.  He only lived in this house 9 years,  but wrote most of his famous novels right there.  He and his girlfriend (soon to be wife) moved to Cuba after he got caught cheating on his wife.  She got the house.


The house sits on one acre of land…the largest home lot on the island.

We went on a tour with a guide (free for admission price) and he was very good.  You are free to wander the house on your own as well.


Lots of pictures of him, his boat and his wives.


his famous 6 toed cats.




Hemingway was a young man when he lived in Key West and this is what he looked like then.




There are beautiful lushly landscaped grounds visible from a veranda that goes around the entire house.  A lot of weddings take place right there under the arbor.


There was a carriage house next door.  This is where he did his writing.  The guide told us got up at 5 am every day and wrote until 11 am.  The rest of the day he drank and spent much of his time at Sloppy Joes bar.

Here is where he did his writing.


There was a huge pool that cost $20,000 back in the 30’s.  His wife bought it without telling him when he was away from home and messing around with another woman.  He was angry when he got home and saw what she had done.  He gave her a penny and told her “you have spent my very last red cent.”   She kept it and had it sealed into the concrete deck of the pool.  She always told her friends that was Ernest Hemingway’s last red cent.



He fixed her though.  When the original Sloppy Joes was being torn down, he brought home a urinal and left it in the yard by the pool.  Naturally she had a fit.

He said when she moved her pool, he’d move his “pool.”   She finally decided to disguise it and made it into a fountain.  It became the cats favorite place to drink.


Hemingway had cats and many of them had 6 toes.  There are still 44 descendants of his cats on the property today.   They appear to be very well cared for and are not to be bothered.   There were food, water dishes, and  shelters all over the property.

Here are some of the cat houses.


cat cemetery


some of the cats



No, I didn’t bring any home.


After the Hemingway house tour, we went across the street and spent more money Smile at the lighthouse tour.  That was another $18 for the both of us.  It was a very expensive day by the time we got home.

lighthouse at key west

We thought it would be nice to see Key West from the top of the light house. 

I am afraid of heights and those steps were scary!

lighthouse at key west

The view looking up.  I had a hard time taking the picture because I wanted to use both hands to hold on!

lighthouse at key west

The view were nice, but I was nervous on top too.

lighthouse at key west

The part I liked best was the tour of the lighthouse keepers house.  They had to climb those awful stairs 5 times a night to maintain the lights!


We wanted to go to the Bufferfly Garden but by this time it was 4:30 so we were running out of time. 

Time for Happy Hour!

Off to Sloppy Joe’s bar.

Sloppy Joes Bar

Then it was time to work our way down to Mallory Square for the sunset celebration…and more happy hour.

Mallory square, Key West

On the way down, we finally saw those naked people that Key West is famous for.  Nudity photo to follow….be aware.


naked people statues


and those were all the nekkid people we saw!

Every night there is a sunset celebration.  There are a lot of street performers working for tips.  Some are pretty amazing. Most every bar has live music and there are tons of vendors.

Mallory square, Key West

You are right on the water, so a lot of ships are going by.

Key west

The Coast Guard put on a demonstration of a rescue swimmer doing his job. 



coast guard mock rescue

The Coast Guard has a special place in our hearts since they saved our lives several years ago.  Thanks CG!

The Navy did a flyover with two F5 fighter jets.  It was amazing!  No pictures of that though.  They travel so fast by the time I heard them they were right overhead and gone.   Goose bumps there!

The next pictures are some of the sights on the pier last night.  If you come back tonight, I’ll bet it will look almost exactly the same.

Mallory square, Key West


Mallory square, Key West

Howard Livingston and the Mile Marker 24 band playing live.  They were great.

Mallory square, Key West

This guy is the “silver diver.”    He doesn’t move until you put money in his tip jar, then he gives you a sucker.  It’s amazing how still he is.

Mallory square, Key West

Mallory square, Key West

Another “statue”

Mallory square, Key West

We really enjoyed this next guy.  He got up on the unicycle and then juggled, told jokes and fooled around.



Mallory square, Key West

He drew a big crowd, but the “next” crowd had a guy doing the same thing!  They all work for tips.


Mallory square, Key West

Mallory square, Key West

I hope I can convey a little of what it’s like being in Key West for the nightly sunset celebration.  We normally don’t like crowds, but this is different.  Everyone is happy and having a good time.  There was a nice warm sea breeze.  You could smell the sea air and see the Atlantic Ocean while watching the sun set and the entertainment.  It’s a really special time.

We decided it was time to wander back down Duval Street to make sure we knew where we had to catch our bus to get back home.  I understand rooms cost $200-300 a night, so we didn’t want to miss the bus!

Duval Street is the main street and there is a lot going on. 

Duval Street Key West

Duval Street Key West

Lots of people wandering around having a good time, but everyone appeared to be behaving.  There were some kids and a lot of people had their dogs with them.

Duval Street Key West

In the streets you see people, bikes, scooters, and lighted skateboards!

We found our bus stop, waited a few minutes and were on the bus on the way home.

We arrived home 12 hours after we left.  Whew…it was a long day.  It was also a fun day!


  1. Thanks for the great tour and stories about Ernest Hemingway. Sounds like his wife was a great match for him.

    You had a pretty full day for sure - lots of fun.

  2. Great post! Loved the tour... it's been a few years since we've been down that way. Isn't public transportation a wonderful thing? Too bad the USA doesn't use it more.

  3. We would take the bus to for only a $1.50 each way.
    Love the Hemingway house. One of the few tours that they let you take photos inside. What a cool place. Great job on the tour.

  4. We would take the bus to for only a $1.50 each way.
    Love the Hemingway house. One of the few tours that they let you take photos inside. What a cool place. Great job on the tour.

  5. That was a busy and long day but it sure looked like fun.

  6. I sure enjoyed this post. I had to chuckle at the stories of Hemingway and his wife - sounds like a match NOT mad in heaven!! The Sunset celebration looked like a lot of fun. I can't imagine how those statue people do that. What a great day for you.

  7. cat*houses ~ I love it!!!!!

    What an awesome tour!! Everything you described reminded me a bit of Las Vegas. They have those painted figures at the Venetian and I always love just watching them. On Fremont street there are lots of entertainers who take tips.

    So glad you had two days of such fun but I bet you're resting today? lol

  8. I've always said the way to make mass transportation popular is to charge less for it than to park. $6 for two folks - good deal. Thanks for such a detailed blog. I really feel like I was there. What a good time we had!!

  9. I saw those 'statue' people on the streets of Barcelona. Amazing.

  10. What an amazing place!! Great job giving us a tour...I could feel the excitement!!
    Love the tour of Hemingway House and grounds. He was quite a character and talented writer!!!

  11. Sounds like a wonderful day. The cost of the bus balanced some of the entrance fees. Otherwise you would have had to pay for parking.

  12. What a fun read! Thanks so much. This is on our "list".
    If you want an interesting book, read "The Paris Wife". It is about H's first wife. Very, very good.

  13. Great post! I almost felt like I was there! It was a long and wonderful day. I think I need to rest now.

  14. Nicely done. I have the attention span of a gnat, and you had me captivated the whole time.
    Hemingway was sure a character. I think though that the "cat houses" was right up there on the list of awesome things. Very neat.
    I'm thinking you might be resting today?

  15. Really enjoyed your Key West blogs. looks like so much fun. Lots of things to see!!!!

  16. We were in Key West twice, both times for a day visit on a cruise ship. We explored quite a bit of the area on foot, and really enjoyed the butterfly garden. Hope to take advantage of the military FamCamp in KW at some point to visit the places you posted about.

  17. I'm sure you loved seeing all the cats at Hemingway's home.

    What a fun day you had enjoying all the sights and nekkid people. Did any notice how much Al looked looks like the statue guy? :)


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