Ernest Hemingway, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1950, had four beautiful, intelligent wives and a home you can visit in Key West, Fla. He was married to Hadley Richardson for six years, to Pauline Pfeiffer for 12 years, to Martha Gellhorn for five years, and to Mary Welsh for 25 years. Except for Richardson, whose primary interest was music, all were journalists in their own rights.
No doubt they all influenced his writing, but some scholars think Pfeiffer’s editorial skills enhanced his work. He was living and working in Paris when he met Pfeiffer, a Vogue editor who was close friend of Richardson, his first wife and the mother of his son Jack. Upon learning of his affair with Pfeiffer, Richardson divorced him. He married Pfeiffer in 1927 and had two more sons, Gregory and Patrick.
The Hemingways left Paris and moved into their Key West home at 907 Whitehead St. in 1931, thanks to the generosity of Pfeiffer’s uncle Gus Pfeiffer, who gave it to them as a wedding gift. Built by Asa Tift in 1851, the Spanish-style home features furnishings purchased by the Hemingways in Europe.
The home provides an inside look at the personal lives of the famous couple and his literary work. He wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and To Have and Have Not while living in Key West. Pfeiffer continued to live in Key West after their divorce in 1939 and until her untimely death in 1951. About 40 descendants of their famous five-toed cats still live on the grounds. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is open to the public and hosts Hemingway Days every July. (fla-keys.com)
You can also learn about the fascinating couple at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer family home in Piggott, Ark., which they and their sons visited frequently. Pfeiffer’s father was a prominent businessman and landowner in northeast Arkansas.
Now under the direction of Arkansas State University, the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center focuses on the life and times of the 1920s. The house and the barn studio, where Hemingway wrote portions of A Farewell to Arms and other works, are open for tours. Exhibits in the barn studio include a Hemingway timeline, big game trophies from the Hemingways’ African safari (financed by Uncle Gus), a manual typewriter, books, photos, and other memorabilia. The Hemingways had quite a love story, though it did not end happily.
The museum’s membership program, Friends of the Pfeiffers, is sponsoring a trip to Paris, March 22–30. The trip is an opportunity to see two sides of Paris — the artistic Left Bank of Hemingway and other members of the “Lost Generation” (Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Pablo Picasso, etc.) and the glitzy Right Bank of Pfeiffer and the world of Parisian fashion (Coco Chanel, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald). Participants will not only visit Paris, but also Versailles, Giverny, and Normandy, which Hemingway covered as a journalist during the 1944 invasion. Open to the public, the cost of the land package is $3,198 per person. (hemingway.astate.edu)
Around the Mid-Atlantic
With Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day coming up soon, February is the ideal time to explore special places such as Maryland’s Carroll County, known for its farm attractions, wineries, inns, and restaurants.
Exhibit rooms in the 1850s farmhouse and the Hoff Log Barn, plus out buildings, at the Carroll County Farm Museum at Westminster will be open to visitors free of charge through March. Artisans will demonstrate farm skills of the 1800s and early 1900s.
Tea service will be available on Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. (carrollcountyfarmmuseum.org)
The Carroll County Wine Trail, which currently includes Cyngus Wine Cellars in Manchester, Galloping Goose Vineyards in Hampstead, and Serpent Ridge Vineyard in Westminster, will be adding new wineries soon. Participants in the Maryland Wine Passport program will find that these wineries offer unique tours, programs on wine-making traditions, and demonstrations on hand-crafting wines. (carrollwinetrail.com)
Looking for some February romance? Check out the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond in St. Michaels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Set amid lush gardens, the inn offers luxurious accommodations, an excellent restaurant, the Linden Spa, a fitness center, and complimentary use of the bicycles and the boat dock.
Kent County, also on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has a plethora of bed-and-breakfast inns that serve as romantic venues. Enjoy a private three-night getaway at Olivia’s Meadow Cottage or Mulberry Cottage at Brampton Inn in Chestertown, with a la carte breakfast delivered to your door and daily afternoon tea in the inn.
The inn also has a Date Night special for $190 per night in the manor house through Feb. 27 (with some blackouts; use DATENIGHT as the promo code when booking on-line). March Crazy Days, three nights for the price of two at $161 per night (promo code CRAZY), is offered in March. (brampton.com)
Take in views of Chestertown and the Chester River from the porches or relax on the patio at the Widows Walk B&B, located on High Street in the Historic District, known for its shops, boutiques, and restaurants. The welcoming inn serves a continental breakfast. Weekend rates start at $125, with a two-night minimum; weekday rates start at $105. (widowswalkinn.com)
The elegant Moonlight Bay Inn and Marina in Rock Hall, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, offers luxurious rooms with private baths furnished in Victorian/Queen Anne style.
Some guests stay there just to watch the sun go down over Maryland’s Western Shore, or to absorb the beauty of the inn’s garden. (moonlightbayinn.com)
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is also an ideal place to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Brookshire Suites, 120 E. Lombard St., has some special offers. You can get a studio suite for $89 per night or a one-bedroom suite for $99 through February. The hot breakfast buffet is included, and Wi-Fi is free. (brookshiresuites.com)
Want to save money on skiing this month? Every Monday, excluding Feb. 17, Wisp Ski Resort in McHenry, Md., offers an all-day lift ticket, sport ski or snowboard rental, and one-hour clinic for just $39.
The resort also has a brand new Rookie Year Pass for first-time skiers, ages 8 and up, for $129, available following the completion of five all-inclusive learn-to-ski or learn-to-snowboard packages. New to the resort are two beginner slopes and the Sundown Yurt Village, housing the Adult Ski and Snowboard Learning Centers, Wisp Kids Program, Sundown Café, Nordic/Snowmobile Center, and Bathhouse. (wispresort.com)
For a nighttime thrill, All Earth Eco Tours in Western Maryland’s Garrett County offers a two-hour “headlamp” snowshoe tour from 7:00pm–9:00pm every Saturday night near Deep Creek Lake Resort.
Chief guide Crede Calhoun says, “Families and folks love our daylight tour but our night snowshoeing tour is really something special. The night air is especially crisp and the magical feeling and look of a snow shrouded forest at night is a sight to behold. We’ll bring the snowshoes, headlamps, hot cocoa, and provide the fun — you bring a sense of adventure.”
According to All Earth Eco Tours, their tours are good for anyone between the ages of 8 and 70. And, guides share information about the local plants and animals, including the sleeping bears that inhabit the area you travel through.
The guides always have great stories and sometimes can call in the owls. (allearthecotours.com)
Celebrating St. Patrick
Visitors are invited to honor St. Patrick at two cathedrals in Northern Ireland. In Armagh, location of the saint’s first church, a March 16 celebration concert features a variety of choirs. That will be followed by a live-streaming TV and radio broadcast from Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, St. Patrick’s burial site, on March 17. Northern Ireland is home to vibrant cities, breathtaking sea and landscapes, a rich cultural heritage, and is the backdrop of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones.
Four action-packed days, March 14–17, are planned around Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Festival, when some of the city’s most iconic buildings “Go Green.”
The festival features concerts, street festivals, and a huge parade.