Start of 730-word article
CONCH TOWN OR KEY WEST, IT'S THE END OF THE LINE
To Ernest Hemingway it was home. To locals it is Conch Town. And to
motorists driving south on US
Highway l, it is the end of the line.
Officially, this southernmost tip of
continental America and year-round favourite with vacationers is
A train or trolley tour will
acquaint you with the city, your
bonus being a driver whose
humour has you smiling most of
the way. But, with ninety per cent
of its attractions confined to an area roughly four miles (6km) long and a mile
wide (2km) wide, Key West is really made for walking.
Roads shaded by palm trees will lead you past old Bahamian style houses
tucked behind tropical foliage spilling onto the sidewalks. Large fragile looking
structures with vast verandahs and lots of gingerbread trim, these homes have
weathered a century and a half of hurricanes and tropical storms. From sturdy
cypress, mahogany and cedar, with wooden pegs instead of nails, many were built
by carpenters from ships wrecked off this coast. Knowing all about the sea's
treachery they installed widow's watch platforms, from which nineteenth century
women waited and watched for their men....
The most popular stop on our walking tour is the Spanish-style mansion on
Whitehead Street that Ernest Hemingway called home on and off from 1931. A
tour of the 1851 house includes his study in which he wrote 75% of his life's
work, including 'A Farewell to Arms' and 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', 'The Sun
Also Rises' and 'To Have and Have Not' which is set in the Florida Keys.
IF YOU GO: For information on Key
West, telephone the local information
centre at: 1-888-245-5397. Or click on
Keywestinfo.com. Their accommodation
guide details everything from hotels and
motels to condos, Bed and Breakfasts
and private homes.