American novelist and poet, Ernest Hemingway was a man of many passions, many adventures, and many stories.

As we approach Valentine ’s Day, it’s safe to say that Ernest Hemingway had more than his fair share of loves… The humorous old man left a trail of paper hearts behind him at his passing.

Family portrait with first wife, Elizabeth.

In Key West, FLA, stands the “Hemingway House,” a museum commemorating his life, works, and strange fascinations.

It was here that Hemingway acted on his boxing fantasies—he built an outdoor ring where he paid neighbors to fight with him.

Also in this home, his beloved second wife Pauline spent the equivalent of $330,000 to build him a surprise swimming pool while he was in Spain “covering the Civil War” with his journalist friend, Martha. Upon his return, he angrily exclaimed that Pauline spent “all but [his] last penny, so [she] might as well have that,” Pauline later had that penny fixed in cement on the pool’s north end.

Even stranger, today, the Key West property is home to almost 50 six-toed cats—all interbred descendants of Hemingway’ beloved polydactyl companion, Snowball. Rumor has it, he also kept several peacocks on the property.

In addition to the Key West house, Ten miles east of Havana, Cuba, stands the historic Museo Hemingway (pictured above), also called Finca La Vigia, or “lookout house.” His Havana home (pictured above), was the inspiration for an anticipated “Hemingway Hotel” as well as a distinct circuit of Hemingway’s most loved local bars.

Finca La Vigia was home to his third wife, Martha for five years… and to his fourth wife, Mary for nearly 14. Around the age of 60, a restless Hemingway also fell into fruitless love with 19-year-old Adriana. But despite her competition, Mary stayed around ‘till the end.

By Natalie Maynor [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Next to his tennis courts in Havana, sits his beloved boat, the Pilar, as evidence of his love for deep sea fishing. Rumor has it that, his affinity for guns was exposed during WWII, when he had the boat outfitted to “hunt Nazi Submarines” in the Gulf. Even today, his trophy kills from many fishing and hunting trips line the walls of both homes.

 

After two consecutive plane crashes on an African sight-seeing-safari, when his lifelong love for alcohol caught up with him, Hemingway used his coveted guns to end his own life.

We conclude our tribute with a Valentine’s pick up line from the love expert himself (though we don’t recommend trying to snag a date with this one):

“If my Valentine you won’t be,
I’ll hang myself on your Christmas tree.”

-Hemingway, 1956

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