Formerly home to Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams and President Harry S. Truman, Key West in the Florida Keys is filled with historic homes. From later this month, visitors to the subtropical island city can explore some of its most intriguing homes on newly announced tours priced from $30 (£24).
Running on select dates from late December through to mid-March 2017, the Key West Historic Homes guided tours will offer visitors the chance to explore the island’s architectural highlights, which include exquisite 19th-century cottages and ornate Victorian mansions.
The first tours will run as a self-guided exploration of homes festively dressed for the holiday season from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 27 and 28 December. For 2017, the tours will run on Friday and Saturday, 13-14 January (4-8 p.m.), 17-18 February and 17-18 March (both 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Offered by the non-profit Old Island Restoration Foundation (OIRF) – which promotes the restoration and preservation of Key West’s historically significant buildings – the limited-edition tours showcase notable historic homes, creative renovations and contemporary structures featuring lush gardens and colourful outdoor living areas.
Many of the homes are located in Key West’s Old Town, which is believed to be America’s largest predominantly wooden historic district, with almost 3,000 structures. Today, in part due to the OIRF, many of these are restored and flourish as single-family homes, B&Bs and museum attractions.
For the January tours, transportation between the homes will be offered aboard Conch Tour Trains, while for February and March, participants will need to proceed from house to house independently. At each tour stop, OIRF volunteers will serve as guides informing visitors about the home’s history, architecture, décor and garden.
Tickets start from $30 for self-guided tours and $35 for those with Conch Train transportation included. The ticket price includes a map and list of houses. Tickets are on sale now.
Travel to Key West: Hayes & Jarvis (01293 762 456, www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk) offers seven nights in the Florida Keys from £1,599 per person. Valid for travel on 15 March 2017, the price includes three nights in Key West and four nights in Islamorada, return American Airlines flights from London Heathrow to Miami and car hire for the duration. The price is based on two adults travelling and sharing room-only accommodation. Call to book. The same package is available for departures on 12 January and 16 February 2017 from £1,649pp.
For further information on the tours and to buy tickets, visit: www.oirf.org
For further information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit: www.fla-keys.co.uk