Hanging with Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway is Key West, Florida’s, most famous literary son and when they celebrate his legacy they do it in style
Despite its bawdy personality, Key West is fantastic for families. It’s surrounded by the Atlantic ocean and the Gulf of Mexico with the point at which the two bodies of water meet being the Florida Straits. The waters here are renowned for their sea life and there are many great and safe trips to be taken. Fury Water Adventures took me out into the Gulf of Mexico on a dolphin safari, followed by a great snorkelling session in the Key West wildlife refuge.
Back on land, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a beautiful experience with its glass house full of hundreds of tropical butterflies that flutter around and alight on your hands and feet. You can learn about the journey a butterfly makes from cocoon to adult butterfly and get up close and personal with these delicate insects – just make sure there aren’t any hitching a ride when you leave.
Families will also love the aquarium, the Shipwreck Museum, the Eco-Discovery Centre and of course the Sunset Celebration – a nightly event at Mallory Square in the old town to watch the sun slip slowly into the sea surrounded by fire eaters, jugglers and musicians.
Key West has lots of accommodation of all types – historic guest houses, bed & breakfasts and five-star resorts. Many located on historic Duval Street itself as well as on the coast. The Doubletree Hilton, where I stayed, is a great resort for families, particularly as it’s not in the old town so it’s quieter and has a great pool.
Hemingway Days 2013 runs from July 16th to 21st. For more see fla-keys.co.uk Gary Quinn travelled as a guest of American Airlines (aa.com) and Doubletree Hilton resorts. For information on Hemingway Days and the Florida Keys, see fla-keys.co.uk