Welcome back to the Friends That Carry On Podcast! We’re a group of friends that like to travel the world together. We want to share our passion for travel through travel tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way and stories of our adventures!
This week, we welcome you to the Fantasy Island – Key West, Florida. We’ll talk about the places to see, things to do, where to eat, and the Home of Hemmingway and other infamous anecdotes. Eric Fargo is the host and is joined by Jim Wassel, Walt Palmer, Tony Price, Jim Scott, Brian Romine, and Jim Read. The week’s tchotchke is a picture of Ernest Hemingway, whom we will talk about a lot.
You can listen along here:
10 Things to See and Do in Key West, Florida
1. Naval Complex: Eric rode the planes there and saw the Keys from the air. It was beautiful. He also learned to parasail, detecting marine life in water, among other things.
2. Fancy Fest: It started in 1979. Some of us were there in 1999 before it became popular and when it was super edgy. Some transgender people created their themes. It was also the first time we saw body paint. This year it will be held from October 18th to 27th.
3. Key West Airport: This airport is tiny and easy. There’s also a tiki bar! They also have lighter bag restrictions.
4. Sunset Cruise: It was the first Sunset cruise for one of the Friends, and he continued doing it to other countries since. For history buffs and lovers, tall ships would be excellent. The food and drinks are great.
5. Duval Street: You can find everything you want on Duval – restaurants, parties, and hotels. One of the Friends’ favorite is a local place called Shots and Giggles.
6. Beaches: They have small beaches and private ones, separated by mangroves. They are all over Key West.
7. Fishing: Need we say more?
8. Truman House: Truman used this like a second or “Little White House”. It’s beautiful and history lovers will appreciate this place.
9. Historic Cemetery: This place shows the quirkiness of people who lived in the island. Jim Read remembers this gravestone that said: B.P Roberts – “I told you I was sick.”
10. Hemingway’s House: A great stop that you must see in Key West!
The Home of Hemingway
The tour in the Home of Hemingway was fabulous. There were a ton of stories that the Friends loved that would make you think, “Oh, that’s so Hemingway.” We’ve listed the best ones that we could remember!
Lover of Cats
If you know Hemingway, he was a lover of cats. He had a cat who had six toes on each paw. Today, there are cats in Key West who have odd numbers of toes and can be traced back to Hemmingway’s cats. They now hire fulltime vets who limit the number of breeding that they can do. Cats are treated like royalty. There are maybe 60 cats in the house still today.
Another was the urinal he took from a local bar, now Captain Tony’s, once Sloppy Joe moved from that location. He made it a fountain in his backyard, saying that he pissed so much money on that bar that it is best he brings this one [urinal] with him.
The Brick Wall
He was so pissed with the people wandering on his property. So Hemingway sent his guys out to rip bricks from the streets. Thus, the wall was built.
A neighbor’s house had a sign on its wall, facing Hemingway’s house, “Hemingway pissed here.” Jim Read took a picture there, pretending to take a piss.
Where to Stay in Key West
Recommended places that the Friends stayed in the past:
1. Crown Plaza: It’s situated along Duval street, where the party district is.
2. Marrero’s Guest Mansion: It is an old mansion turned into quirky little rooms. The best thing is that there a pool in the back and a small, self-service bar. If you take anything from the fridge or make yourself a cocktail, you write it down.
3. Miscellaneous Airbnb and VRBO homes
Where to Eat in Key West
Key West is filled with great restaurants. The Friends enjoyed dining experiences in these restaurants:
1. Blue Haven: It is a bar where the Friends go for morning cocktails. It is a quirky breakfast place.
2. The Benedict: Another great breakfast place.
3. Latitudes: This restaurant features a fine-dining experience. It is a private island and you get there by boat.
4. La Grignote: A spectacular French restaurant along Duval Street. The Friends loved the bacon on a French croissant.
5. El Siboney: A Cuban place along Catherine Street. It features “traditional Cuban home cooking & house-made sangria in a casual, family-friendly setting.”
If you’re interested in hearing more Podcasts, Guest Interviews, or other adventures, make sure you follow us wherever you listen to Podcasts or find more here.