We came to Key West to follow in the footsteps of some very celebrated and eccentric people - Jimmy Buffett, Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart and treasure hunter Mel Fisher. We weren’t disappointed to experience the very different Key Wests that those icons symbolize. To start our stay off in a Bogart mood, we chose the Casablanca Hotel right in the heart of famed Duval Street.
Bogart stayed at the Casablanca when it was a private home and was said to have visited with Ernest Hemingway on the patio where hotel guests now enjoy their morning coffees. We were charmed by staying in what felt like a movie set of the much-loved Casablanca movie that starred Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Breakfast is included in the room price and featured fresh croissants from a nearby French bakery along with strong coffee, fresh fruits and juice. The hotel has a small pool surrounded by tropical vegetation and it was a cool welcome after a couple of hours at the beach. Jimmy Buffett vibes are everywhere in town where every other bar offers the margaritas and piña coladas he sang about. There is also a Buffett-branded Margaritaville restaurant on Duval Street for trying authentic Cheeseburgers in Paradise. The Hemingway House on Whitehead Street is a must visit for any of the author's many fans. Visitors can bask in the ambiance of the 1930s that is captured in the large house. It had been a gift to the couple from Pauline Hemingway's wealthy uncle Gus. Many tourists love to pet and photograph the menagerie of cats that roam the property and are said to be descendants of Hemingway's beloved six-toed Snow White. The pool was an extravagance for its era at a cost of more than $20,000.
Hemingway lived in Key West with his second wife Pauline in the 1930s.
The descendants of Hemingway’s cats have free rein of the house.
Hemingway's typewriter is a tourist favorite.
The Hemingway pool was built so Pauline could swim laps.
Treasure hunter Mel Fischer was able to salvage the Spanish treasure ship, the Atocha in Florida waters after many years filled with heartbreak and financial losses. The museum that is dedicated to his quest offers a fascinating look at the man and the unbelievable treasures he recovered from the ship that sank in the Keys during a 1622 hurricane. A visit to the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is a great way to learn about treasure hunting while being dazzled by the gold and silver items that were hidden under the ocean sand for centuries.
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is filled with salvaged Spanish treasures.