We have a family tradition for vacations where we get up before the sun on the very last day and head to somewhere east to watch the sunrise. We started this tradition 7 years ago in Nassau, Bahamas on a small peninsula we dubbed Tortuga Island. I’ve watched the sunrise on most vacations since then from mountains in California to New York City Harbor. My sisters have done it as well in places like Riviera Maya and places in Europe. Therefore, this morning my mom and I set out for the southeastern side of the island for our last sunrise on Key West. It was spectacular, it resulted in my favorite picture of the entire trip. We headed back for breakfast at our B&B, Albury Court-a historic Key West hotel. I definitely suggest this bed & breakfast to anyone. We had a great room with our own private balcony, the staff was phenomenal, they provided breakfast poolside with muffins and bagels from local bakeries and the B&B was secluded yet within walking distance for those who think a mile or less isn’t far. We were able to walk to bum beach, Higgs beach, Duval Street, Truman Annex, the southernmost point and Hemingway’s house all in a short time.
Hemingway’s house was our last tourist stop of the trip. It was a marvelous house with a Great Gatsby feel. Some of the rooms were decorated while others were displays of Hemingway’s old books, pictures and family’s possessions. The house itself was a gift from Hemingway’s wife’s uncle and he purchased the house for only $8,000, you could never buy a house like this with that kind of money. His wife put in a pool one year that replaced his boxing ring, the tour guide said it caused quite the uproar between the two of them because the pool cost over twice as much as the house at $20,000. She also built it during the Great Depression and it was salt water which was a little ironic since the entire island is surrounded by salt water. One of the coolest things was the cats with thumbs. The cats were descendants of Hemingway’s wife’s cat which also had thumbs. Many of the cats were named after old film stars like Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe. I’ve decided after this visit to his house I need to read more than The Old Man and the Sea which was required reading in high school. We spent an hour or two at Higg’s beach and left to seek out some food. We didn’t really know where to go, so I relied on foursquare which led us to Sandy’s Cafe. It was by far my favorite food that we’ve had on the trip. Better than the key lime pie, better than custard, better than my sloppy joe. It’s a small walk up stand with a breakfast bar type seating out front, an open kitchen and chickens running around outside. We loved it. We got a Cuban sandwich to split, with my favorite Cuban bread, and some fries on the side. It was excellent and well worth all the calories. Sadly our trip had to end and I am writing this from the airport, but it was magnificent. I have to give myself a pat on the back for all the planning and a huge thanks to my parents for funding it. My mom was a real trooper for spending 6 days with me and trying all the things I wanted to try. I hope I can travel again soon maybe even back to The Keys. I would love to live in a place of paradise like this even if only for a few years. Maybe someday, I’ll even be a freshwater conch myself.