13 In Beaches + Ocean Activities/ Florida/ Food Envy/ Guides + How-Tos/ Travel

Three Days in Quirky Key West, Florida

The day after I got back to Asheville, NC and home to my fiancé from my Southeast Asia Trip, we took a romantic getaway south to Key West, Florida. We did very little research into this trip, but we had a great time eating great Key Lime Pie, being the southernmost tourists in the continental US – even if only for a moment, and enjoying a week of just being together after only seeing each other for about 18 hours in over 110 days apart.

The Seven Mile Bridge »

Honestly, one of the reasons that we chose Key West as a destination was the massive load of pins on Pinterest showing the Seven Mile Bridge and the beautiful teal water. In reality, as we were driving, it kind-of freaked me out. I don’t like driving over large bodies of water at all, but it was still really cool to see the water from the bridge. Thankfully, Matt drove it so I didn’t have to be as nervous. 

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This is the old seven mile bridge. Looks pretty creepy, huh? I was very glad to not be driving on it!

The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum »

I am a MASSIVE Ernest Hemingway fan, and I have wanted to visit this home and museum for such a long time. My dream finally came true this summer! Here are the details and some photos of the beautiful house:

Address: 907 Whitehead Street

Hours: Open 9 to 5 – 365 Days a Year including holidays

Cost: Adult: $13, Child: $6, 5 & Under: Free

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Walking into the front of the house. Your ticket includes a free 30 minute tour.

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Hemingway’s typewriters

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Hemingway was notorious for letting his cats roam all through his house, his studio and the grounds. They have certainly kept this going because cats are all through the house, in the bookstore and all over the grounds.

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I just melted seeing first editions of these. A Moveable Feast is one of my favorite books ever.

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It’s crazy seeing a writing genius’ book collection 
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The most amazing part of this tour for me was standing in Ernest Hemingway’s writing studio. I have been a lover of his work for several years, I love his writing style and I have an affinity for the 20’s and love hearing about his life abroad in that time. I had a mega, mega moment standing in this room! (And then I asked Matt if I could have a writing studio someday. Haha!)

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ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S DESK! 

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One of the many adorable cat houses for Ernest’s cats. Truly, some of these cats are descendants of Ernest’s cats. Many of the cats are named after famous writers. 

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Kitties are everywhere! In the bookstore, on chairs and hiding in the bushes!

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If you’re a Hemingway or American Literature fan this is a must-see while in the Keys. Although the house is very charming, I think that if you’re not a fan, you can see a lot of beautiful houses in the area without paying $13.

The Quirk, The Cute and The Touristy »

Key West is known for being a funky little island and I love funky destinations. Funky destinations are so much fun because there is so much to see just walking down the street.

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Check out this funky truck on the street that is covered in fake (or who knows, maybe real) coral bits, plastic toy fish & manatees and other little toys. It’s just one of those things that you can’t not stop to look at.

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Tiny alleyways between pastel colored houses are so charming.

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The lighthouse on the island is across from the Hemingway Home (it’s said that they chose this house because the lighthouse helped Hemingway find his way home after a night of drinking).

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Of course, Matt and I couldn’t go to Florida and not get some local Florida beers. I got the Key West Sunset Ale (amber ale) because it only seemed appropriate. Matt got the Funky Buddha Floridian (hefeweizen) because he sticks to his German roots and is a hefeweizen-lover.

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Matt took this beautiful photo of the ‘Wanderlust’ hangy in my car and the beach and perfect sky in the background.

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We went to Mile 0 the last mile to the south of the U.S. and we took a moment to stand by the Southernmost Buoy which made us the Southernmost Tourists in the U.S. with Cuba only 90 miles away!

The Beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park »

One of the reasons we came to Key West was to relax on the beach. The thing is, Key West isn’t really known for its beaches. Like I said, we did very little research before this trip. There are only two beaches on the island one manmade and this natural beach. There’s also a fort here, but we just came for the beach. There is a State Park fee here:

$6 for a vehicle (2-8 people), $4 for 1 person in a car or motorcycle, $2 pedestrians and bicycles 

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I loved the walk up to the beach through the trees. It looks so tropical. Like a little paradise.

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Matt and I amped up the cheesiness in this photo, but we were just so excited to be traveling together. After 30 minutes, though, I had had enough beach time and we went back to town to eat some pie. 

The Eats »

» AMIGO’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT:

We had a serious Mexican food craving, and Trip Advisor led us to Amigo’s. Matt and I split a delicious quesadilla and some guacamole. Plus, we each had a strawberry daiquiri and they should come with a warning because to be totally honest, I had to nap a buzz off from those bad boys. 

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I loved the layout of this restaurant. Matt and I sat at the bar with the open window and watched all the people pass by. Also, we were right across from the Key Lime Pie Republic and couldn’t wait to get over there to try our first piece of key lime pie of the trip.

» SLOPPY JOE’S:

Sloppy Joe’s were supposedly invented here, and Hemingway was said to have been a regular at the bar here. I’m not sure if they were truly invented here, but I had one and they are definitely delicious! We enjoyed daiquiris here too, but they were stronger at Amigo’s. They had really fun live entertainment – a man doing covers – and he was very good! Matt had the fried shrimp here and thought they were delicious.

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The Key Lime Pie »

Enjoying the Key Lime Pie was one of the greatest joys of our time in Key West. We had Key Lime Pie twice a day while we were there. We tried three of the most popular spots for Key Lime Pie (all of which make their own pies) and I ranked them according to my favorite!

 

» KERMIT’S KEY WEST KEY LIME SHOPPE

This was my #1 favorite! Their pie had this tartness to it that made my mouth pucker in the best way possible. Even though it was tart, it still was sweet enough and had the perfect texture. Matt greatly enjoyed this pie too, but for him this was his #2.

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» KEY LIME PIE REPUBLIC (formerly Key Lime Pie Factory):

This was Matt’s #1 pick and my #2. It was a close call for me, but the thing that was missing for me with their pie was the tartness. Matt loved the smooth, sweet flavor. I liked the setup of this shop a lot better and it’s the Key Lime Pie we ate the most of. We had it here each day.

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» SLOPPY JOE’S

I actually had Sloppy Joe’s recommended to me by someone for the pie alone. We GREATLY enjoyed our meal here, but the pie (at least our slice) was awful. There was no lime flavor, it had a weird rubbery texture and honestly tasted like cheese. I know that sounds crazy, but we both tasted it.  So, that landed Sloppy Joe’s as an easy choice for #3 from the both of us.

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Visiting Key West was an absolute blast. We had a 4-day stay full of relaxation, sightseeing, eating and us-time. The only things I would have done different are:

» Bring or rent a bike and take it through town. It’s such a beautiful and bike-friendly town.

» Eat more pie. I wish I could have tried every single place that made their own pies.

» Go to the fort in Fort Zachary State Park.

» Catch every sunrise and sunset.

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To keep up with my travels in real-time and read more posts and travel articles I find interesting ‘like’ the For the Love of Wanderlust page on Facebook. Simply click HERE.

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Meghan
    November 15, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Awesome post and great pictures. I looooved the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor too! It’s exactly like you’re walking through a tropical paradise to get to the beach! Did you happen to do any swimming there? I saw loads of fish there and some jellies too – it was so neat.

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      November 23, 2015 at 12:34 am

      Thanks, Meghan. We actually didn’t swim too much… Another thing I missed out on! 😉 I am not really 100% on the ocean. Haha. I get in it, but it can be a struggle building up my courage and there had been all those shark attacks in NC, so I was too scared for that week…

  • Reply
    Steph of Big World Small Pockets
    November 16, 2015 at 1:55 am

    Very jealous you’ve been to Hemingway’s house! Literary envy at an all time max!

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      November 23, 2015 at 12:35 am

      It was definitely one of those wow literary moments. I was in awe when I stood in his studio. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Xx

  • Reply
    nikitaeatonlusignan
    November 16, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I would love to visit Hemingway’s house! Especially with all those cats. <3 New life goal!

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      November 23, 2015 at 12:39 am

      It’s definitely a site to see! I want to visit his place in Cuba too! I love the idea of strolling through Hemmingway’s Havana… Swoon Haha. Thanks for reading and commenting! Xx

  • Reply
    Kevin Wagar
    November 17, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Great post! I’ve been wanting to travel through southern Florida for a while and do some SCUBA. Thanks for the great pictures and tips on Hemingway’s house!

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      November 23, 2015 at 12:42 am

      I would imagine that it would be a perfect place to dive! I’m not sure that diving will ever be something that I will do! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Xx

  • Reply
    suzettevalentine
    November 21, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Enjoying your blog, and thanks for the visit to mine as well. We loved our visit to Key West this past spring … remember several of the spots you mention. The other thing we found memorable was the roosters freely roaming around town.

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      November 23, 2015 at 12:44 am

      Thank you so much! I enjoyed yours as well! I remember the roosters too! We had one try to sit on the bench with us at Kermit’s while we ate our pie. Haha Thanks for checking out my blog and taking the time to comment! Xx

  • Reply
    Ciara
    July 19, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I love this region! I could spend every vacation there! The Keys and also the Everglades are like paradise to me and now that I moved to Pompano Beach (http://sabbiabeachcondos.com/fact-sheet/) I can go there way more often then when I still was living in Upstate NY! One day maybe when I retire I want to move there! Maybe I should already keep my eyes open for a cute tiny house 🙂
    Have a great tuesday!
    Ciara

  • Reply
    Road Trip to Alaska Part Three - For the Love of Wanderlust
    November 6, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    […] lap. Plus, fun fact, this Santa told me that he won an Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest in Key West, Florida. Too […]

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