Florida

The Literary Suburbs of Key West

This article originally appeared in Hayo Magazine

When my Lee suggested visiting Key West on our Florida holiday, I wasn’t all that excited. I mean, I hadn’t really heard of the place and didn’t know what was there.

It was only when I discovered its literary heritage, did I get excited. If you’re a book lover, I’d say this one of the most amazing places you can visit. Key West just oozes literary love affairs, starting with Hemingway. His house is in a prime location (and it’s massive!); the man had taste. It’s also fairly cheap to visit; a measly $13 entry and this includes an optional tour from one of the Hemingway house experts.

We walked into what was a blissfully cool building and were treated to the delights of posters, information placard and titbits about Hemingway’s life. There were tokens, quotes, and antique items everywhere, as well as hundreds of cats – maybe not hundreds, but at least twenty or more.

We walked through the different rooms and found a marvellous view of the gardens, the flowers, the cats (yes more cats) and the pool. It didn’t take long for us to make our way back outside amongst the tropical wildlife.

This complete circle finally brought us to Hemingway’s studio – the one place I was dying to visit. It was on the first floor of an outbuilding and didn’t disappoint.

The room was painted a simple white and had been frunished with a desk, a table and a few chairs, a couple of book cases and in the middle of it all was his typewriter.

We couldn’t go in the room, but instead gazed through the iron bars that protected these priceless artefacts from sticky fingers.

We finished touring the house, the studio, the gardens and made our way to the quaint little bookshop filled with Hemingway’s works. It took me ages to decide on which one to buy and in the end, I settled for To Have and To Have Not because something in the blurb mentioned Key West – I always like to buy a book set in the place I’m visiting.

The literary side of Key West doesn’t stop at Hemingway’s house and I believe there are in excess of twenty other literary icons that graced Key West with their presence over the years. If you’re a Hemingway lover then it may be worth a trip to Sloppy Joe’s on Duval Street, a favourite haunt of his.

For those of you wanting to pay homage to Hemingway and other great literature icons, you may be thrilled to discover that Tennessee Williams and Robert Frost both spent time on the island and you can see their homes too. Although, maybe you would prefer to take part in the Hemingway Day Celebration. The choice is yours.

For me, I had a very different mission. On a side street, not far from Duval Street is a little bookshop called Key West Island Bookstore. Going strong since 1973, I was keen to visit the little independent establishment and expand my collection for a second time that day.

From the outside, the store wasn’t anything special, in fact it was easy to miss. I asked for a recommendation for a local author and the woman behind the counter was only too happy to help.

For me, Key West was the most wonderful place I’ve ever visited. It had an amazing culture, beautiful scenery, stunning architecture and the best bit? It had enough literary titbits to keep me occupied for hours.

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  • 2 FREAKIN’ YEARS
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We bought our forever home 2 years ago today! And oh my gosh it has been the biggest, scariest and most expensive adventure EVER, but I’ve loved every second!
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This place is our haven, our palace, our kingdom and it’s perfect 😍 here’s to many more years 🍻
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PHOTOS: a few of the rooms we’ve done already: the living room, the guest bedroom, the kitchen, the first floor hallway and the downstairs toilet. Not featured is my home office which has been overrun with WFH and is a bit chaotic 🤦‍♀️😂 #adventureswithnatasha #myhouseandhome #makingahouseahome #howihome #pocketofmyhome #homestyle #homeinspo #myhomevibe #beautifulhomesofinstagram #myhomevibes #storyofmyhome #realhomesofinstagram #heyhomehey #homedecoration #homedecorating #homedecorinspo #homedecorlovers #interiordecor #interiordecoratingideas #decorlovers #decorlove #interiordesigninspiration #interiorideas #decorationideas #decorideas #decoratingideas #decorinspiration #housedecoration #homeinteriordesign
  • Thank god the week is almost over. It’s been a tough one. Work has been crazy busy and I just feel like we need some time to breathe. Roll on the bank holiday weekend 🙌
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The weather has taken a turn for the worst so I don’t envision drinking fancy cocktails in the garden but hopefully we can start finishing some of the five million jobs we’ve half started during lockdown 🤷‍♀️
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Plus a family quiz on Sunday 💪 we’ve been doing pub quizzes every week for the last 6 weeks and it’s so much fun!
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What are your weekend plans?
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PHOTO: we visited The Silo Hotel in Cape Town after watching the BBC’s Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby series and it did not disappoint. This place was amazing! With incredible views of Table Mountain ⛰ 😍

#adventureswithnatasha #thesilo #thesilohotel #thesilohotelcapetown #africanamazing #beautifulafrica #exploreafrica #iloveafrica #visitafrica #capetown #capetownsouthafrica #capetownguide #mothercity #secretcapetown #capetowninfo #explorecapetown #southafricatravel #thisissouthafrica #southafrica #capetownlife #westerncape #easterncape #capetownbest #capetownliving #capetownmag #capetownvibes #capetownblogger #capetownphotographer #capetownfeed
  • I won’t lie, there was a wobble yesterday.
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It only last for about two minutes but I did unashamedly cry on my own in a dark room for a moment.
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It happens. I mean, I’m a crier, so it really isn’t anything new in this house.
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Sometimes panic levels just get too much.
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Considering it’s #mentalhealthawarenessweek, it seemed well timed. Today I’m feeling upbeat, but that might not last. It can be very temperamental sometimes. For now, I’m going to daydream about beaches and bikinis 👙and hope the positivity lasts 😍
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#adventureswithnatasha #africa #africanamazing #africaphotography #gotoafrica #capetown #capetownsouthafrica #capetownguide #mothercity #secretcapetown #capetowninfo #explorecapetown #southafricatravel #thisissouthafrica #southafrica #capetownlife #westerncape #easterncape #capetownbest #capetownliving #capetownmag #capetownvibes #capetownblogger #capetownphotographer #capetownfeed
  • Take me back to Vegas where we wandered the strip until the small hours, marvelling at the weird and wonderful.
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*may be slightly tipsy in this photo. I can’t remember if this was before or after I befriended a giant Hershey’s Kisses

#adventureswithnatasha #newyorknewyork #newyorknewyorklasvegas #newyorknewyorkhotel #brooklynbridgelasvegas #lasvegas #vivalasvegas #vegasbaby #vegasstrip #vegaslife #lasvegasstrip #lasvegasblvd #lasvegasnevada #explorer #adventures #traveller #travelagain #throwback #takemeback #vegasvacation #vegasnights #vegastrip #blogging #blogger #travelblogger #instatravel
  • 😜 Really, this should have been #TonguetasticTuesday, so instead I’m calling it #StickItToThemWednesday 😂
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The working weeks seem to fly by at the moment, I almost can’t believe it’s Wednesday already.
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If you’re looking for some escapism, my last African Safari post is now live on my blog, complete with photos like this one.
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Pop quiz time: how tall is a giraffe? 🦒
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Believe it or not, we almost missed seeing this guy. His markings are literally the PERFECT camouflage!

#adventureswithnatasha #safari #africansafari #giraffe #giraffes #giraffesofinstagram #safariphotography #safaripark #aquilasafari #africasafari #capetown #capetownsouthafrica #capetownguide #mothercity #secretcapetown #capetowninfo #explorecapetown #southafricatravel #thisissouthafrica #southafrica #capetownlife #westerncape #easterncape #capetownbest #capetownliving #capetownvibes #capetownfeed
  • Tuesday Spotlight: the Sahara Las Vegas resort in - you guessed it - Vegas!
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The Sahara is an iconic Vegas hotel that opened on 7th October 1952.
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In 1960 it was the filming location for the original Ocean’s 11 movie.
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In 1964, the resort paid $25,000 for The Beatles to perform, but due to demand the event was moved to the Las Vegas Convention centre.
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That same year there was a rooftop fire that caused $1 million in damage. The water used by the firefighters flooded the main showroom and soaked through to the main casino floor where gamblers didn’t want to quit playing.
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During the repairs, the hotel was able to stay open and marketing slogans said ‘Visit the Hottest Casino in Town’.
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By the early 1970s, the Sahara was on a decline. There were many attempts to capture more high rollers but none succeeded (including a NASCAR themed ride).
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The casino and resort finally closed its doors in 16th May 2011, after which it was bought and renamed SLS.
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After several changes in ownership, the Sahara reopened on 29th May 2019. While its traditional Arabian theme isn’t prominent throughout the hotel, the decor does pay homage to its past.
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The original sign (featured in this photo) is currently housed at the Neon Museum in Vegas.
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Learn something? I love reading up on the history of the Vegas hotels! You just never know what you might find out...I didn’t know Ocean’s 11 was a remake 🙀🤦‍♀️😂
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#adventureswithnatasha #vegas #lasvegas #saharacasino #thesahara #saharalasvegas #saharavegas #historyoflasvegas #vegasbaby #lasvegasstrip #lasvegasnevada #lasvegassign #vegasstrip #vegasnights #vegasvacation #neonmuseum #neonmuseumlasvegas #visitlasvegas #nevada #onlyinvegas #iconic #neonmuseumvegas #lasvegasblvd #lasvegasbaby #travel #travelgram #lovetravel #seethworld #travelling #instatravel

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