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The Departure: Key West I

By Lotuff Leather

Hot, bright, and bursting with an unconventional sort of spirit, Key West is an island unlike any other, and not just because it’s found at the southernmost point of the United States. The ideal combination of laid-back and uplifting, this is probably the only place where over the course of a few hours, visitors can study literary history, walk down the street with a mojito in hand, go parasailing, and watch a performer swallow a sword on a street corner.

There’s so much more to do in Key West than even this, though, so to combine the first two pursuits, drop in at Sloppy Joe’s bar on Duval Street- the main road where most everything happens. Well-known for opening the day Prohibition ended in 1937, Sloppy Joe’s is even more renowned for being a favorite of Ernest Hemingway. The bar today is a must-visit for both devotees of his work — tributes to Hemingway adorn the walls and form the atmosphere — and aficionados of well-made drinks (the rumrunner is always a good bet). 

If drinking at the same bar as Hemingway isn’t enough, his beautiful home of nine years is welcome for public viewing, as are 53 polydactyl cats descended from his own who still roam the grounds and house. Avid reader or not, this house is interesting in and of itself for the reason that it’s full of art and unusual architectural innovations for its time and place, such as the fact that because it was built from quarried limestone, it’s never been affected by a hurricane.

A sunny place deserves a sunny bag, so carry along our Mini Sling Backpack.

-Liz Silvia