Going to Key West
Information: Key West Chamber of Commerce, 800-527-8539, www.fla-keys.com.
Hemingway Look-Alike Contest: www.sloppyjoes.com. If you can’t make it to the look-alike contest, live webcam is available at their website beginning at 6:30 p.m. on July 19.
By air: American Eagle flies nonstop from Miami to Key West; United Express flies nonstop from Fort Lauderdale. Roundtrip airfare for the 50-minute trip starts around $100.
By land: Simply get in a car, and head south. Connect with U.S. 1 and continue as far as it goes. The 4-hour drive down the Keys is spectacular.
By sea: Key West Express operates high-speed passenger ferries from Fort Myers Beach and Marco Island. The ferry takes approximately 3 1/2 hours, and docks about a 15-minute walk from Sloppy Joe’s. 888-539-2628; www.seakeywestexpress.com. Adult roundtrip fare $146.
WHERE TO STAY
Truman Hotel, 611 Truman Ave.; 305-296-6700; www.trumanhotel.com. One of the only contemporary places to stay in Key West; beautifully decorated in a very quiet spot near the south end of Duval Street. Doubles from $169-$199.
Simonton Court Historic Inn & Cottages, 320 Simonton St.; 800-944-2687; www.simontoncourt.com. Central location, with lush grounds and gardens in a restored cigar factory; the mansion, inn, and cottages all once housed workers. Doubles in summer approximately $190 to $260.
Blue Marlin Motel, 1320 Simonton St.; 305-294-2585; www.bluemarlinmotel.com. Just a block from the water in the South Beach area of the island, walking distance to everything at the south end of Duval Street. Doubles start at $97.
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK
There are hundreds of bars and restaurants in Key West; here are a few personal favorites.
Six Toed Cat, 823 Whitehead St.; 305-294-3318; www.sixtoedcatkeywest.com. Excellent for breakfast and lunch, and with a picture of my “Ernie” still on the wall. $9-$16.
Blue Heaven, 729 Thomas St.; 305-296-8666; www.blueheavenkw.com. Dine inside or outside with the roosters, but duck the falling limes in the same Bahama Village space where Hemingway used to referee Friday night boxing matches. $8-$18.
Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery, 301 Whitehead St.; 305-293-8484; www.kellyscaribbean.com. Just the best happy hour on the island, with $4 key lime margaritas and $4 fabulous wings, in the same building where Pan Am Airlines began in 1927. Happy hour 4-7 p.m. daily. Dinner entrees $15-$30.
Green Parrot, 601 Whitehead St.; 305-294-6133; www.greenparrot.com. Classic old bar, reputedly where Hemingway would stop for a nightcap when walking home from Sloppy Joe’s. Live music every night.
La Te Da, 1125 Duval St.; 877-528-3320; www.lateda.com. Three great bars, the outside Terrace Bar, the inside Piano Bar, and the upstairs Crystal Bar, with a drag revue.
WHAT TO DO
Hemingway Home and Museum, 907 Whitehead St.; 305-294-1136; www.hemingwayhome.com. The ultimate Hemingway experience in Key West; not to be missed. $13 adults, $6 kids 6 and over.
Truman Little White House, 111 Front St.; 305-294-9911, www.trumanlittlewhitehouse.com. Great historic tour of President Truman’s winter home starting in November 1946. $16 adults, $5 kids 5-12.
Key West Museum of Art & History, 281 Front St.; 305-295-6616; www.kwahs.com. Lots of Key West and Hemingway memorabilia in the historic old Custom House. $10.
Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, 1316 Duval St.; 305-296-2988; www.keywestbutterfly.com. Stunningly beautiful butterflies and tropical birds. $12 adults, $8.50 kids 4-12.
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, 601 Howard England Way; 305-292-6713; www.floridastateparks.org (find Fort Zachary in pulldown box). Admission $2.50 for one person on foot or bicycle to $6.50 for a carload of eight.
Fishing: Many charter and party boat options are available, but I liked Tortuga IV, 305-293-1189; www.tortugacharters.com. A friendly half-day party boat that goes offshore every morning and afternoon. $55 includes all tackle.
HEMINGWAY DAYS EVENTS
Highlights of Hemingway Days, July 17-22. Note that some events require pre-registration.
Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum guided tours. 907 Whitehead St. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.hemingwayhome.com.
Rarely exhibited Hemingway photographs and memorabilia. Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House, 281 Front St. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. www.kwahs.com.
Introduction of contestants and previous winners of the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest. Doubletree Grand Key Resort, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd. 5:30 p.m.
Key West Marlin Tournament first day of fishing. 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. www.keywestmarlin.com.
Sloppy Joe’s 32nd annual “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, first preliminary round. 6:30 p.m. www.sloppyjoes.com.
“Hemingway On Stage: In Deadly Ernest.” The final segment of actor Brian Gordon Sinclair’s six-part one-man dramatic presentation on Hemingway’s life. Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St.; 8 p.m. $10 per ticket. 305-295-6616, ext. 106, or www.kwahs.com.
Key West Marlin Tournament’s second day of fishing.
“Hemingway On Stage: In Deadly Ernest” at Tropic Cinema. 11:30 a.m.
Papa Hemingway Look-Alike Fish-Off: Papas compete in dockside catch-and-release challenge using traditional Cuban yo-yos. Conch Republic Seafood Co. docks. 1:30 p.m. Free.
Sloppy Joe’s 32nd annual “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, second preliminary round. 6:30 p.m.
Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition winners announcement and reception at Hemingway’s first Key West residence, Casa Antigua, 314 Simonton St. 8 p.m. Free. www.shortstorycompetition.com.
Key West Marlin Tournament’s third day of fishing.
Caribbean Street Fair with arts, crafts, jewelry, tropical clothing and food. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. 305-292-8445 or www.keyshelpline.org.
Photo opp with “Papas.” Greene Street outside Sloppy Joe’s. Noon. www.sloppyjoes.com.
Running of the Bulls: “Papas” dressed in their Pamplona best and a breed of “bull” found only in Key West. Outside Sloppy Joe’s. 1 p.m., followed by Hemingway’s birthday cake at 1:30 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament awards banquet and silent auction (open to tournament participants and their guests only). Westin Key West Resort, 245 Front St.
Sloppy Joe’s “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, final round. 6:30 p.m. Hemingway 5k Sunset Run/Walk through Old Town Key West. 7:30 p.m., with awards ceremony to follow. To register: 305-240-0727.
Sloppy Joe’s Arm Wrestling Championship. Registration 11 a.m., contest begins at noon. Sloppy Joe’s. $5 entry fee; free to watch.Screening of “To Have and Have Not” at Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St. Reception and silent auction at 7 p.m., film at 8 p.m. 305-292-8445.