OMG! Where do I begin?! We did so much in just 1 day!
Our day began with a nice continental breakfast in the courtyard of our hotel.
And then we went exploring!
First we went in search of the marker of the southernmost point. When we got there, a small line of people waiting to take a picture had formed. Everyone was so friendly and each person, or couple, took turns taking the picture of the person, or couple, in front of them. Here we are.
From there it was a short walk back up the street to Mile 0, the beginning/end of US route 1, depending upon which side if the street you are standing on.
As we continued walking, we happened to see some chickens in the street. This one seemed to be crossing the road to get a snow cone!
There are actually many chickens roaming the streets of old town Key West. We finally found out why. Apparently long ago, when people still traveled freely between Key West and Cuba, there was a thriving cock fighting business in Key West. Eventually, the city of Key West outlawed cock fighting, but there were still lots of people who owned chickens, so it continued. So, the city made it against the law to even own a chicken and freed all the chickens as protected birds. Even today this law persists. There is still a $500 fine for "harassing" a chicken!
Our next stop was a tour of the house that Ernest Hemingway lived in for the 16 years he lived and wrote in Key West. Our guide had an amazing amount of knowledge to share with us! It was a great tour!
There are 54 cats on the property, all directly descended from the cat, "Snow White," that was owned by Hemingway's sons! That cat had 6 toes and so do many of the cats there now. This one in the dining room never even blinked as the tour came through!
One of Hemingway's wives, Pauline, I think, had this pool installed while Hemingway was in Paris (writing and having an affair with a journalist which his wife knew about). It was the first pool ever in Key West and was created at a cost of $20,000! The whole estate had only cost Hemingway $8,000 when he bought it. When Hemingway returned and saw the pool, he flipped! He tossed a penny into the air and told Pauline she might as well have his "last red cent!" She caught it and pressed it into the wet cement near the pool! It's still there today!
Behind the house is this carriage house which used to be connected by a iron walkway from the second floor balcony of the house. It's in the carriage house that Hemingway wrote. This is his writing studio.
Across the street from the Hemingway House is the original Key West lighthouse. We toured the museum housed in the keeper's house and then climbed the 88 steps of the spiral staircase to the top of the lighthouse! What a view!
From the top of the lighthouse we noticed that a Disney cruise ship had docked in the harbor for the day.
This house is the southernmost house in the U.S.
This is the current lighthouse, 7 miles out on the reef.
After visiting the lighthouse we wandered down to Duval St. and had lunch. We saw some interesting sights along the way!
This bar, originally called, "Sloppy Joe's," was Hemingway's favorite bar. The current Sloppy Joe's is across the street.
After lunch we toured "The Little Whitehouse," originally part of the Navy base, and where President Harry Truman spent many working retreats while President. It is currently furnished with Truman's furniture from 1949. There is still a working Presidential suite inside, which many other Presidents and their families have used and continue to use, so there are no photographs allowed inside the house. This was another great tour and our guide was extremely knowledgable!
Finished with touring for the day, we wandered back down to the harbor at Mallory Square. We sat and watched the Disney cruise ship pull out, saw lots of other boats come and go, and witnessed another incredible sunset! I took hundreds of pictures but I'll only post a few of them here.