On Thursday, I toured Windemere, the cottage on Michigan’s Walloon Lake where Ernest Hemingway spent his summers as a boy. Many of his first stories are set nearby. As American literary places go, this is one of the best — but it’s almost totally inaccessible. The current owner is Hemingway’s nephew. For him, Windemere is a private home, not a public museum. He doesn’t allow visitors and neighbors famously won’t point it out. Yet he opened it to strangers last week, in conjunction with an international Hemingway convention. So I went.
I’ve been to a bunch of Hemingway sites in Michigan (Horton Bay, Petoskey, Seney) and elsewhere (Oak Park, Ill., Key West, Fla.). They’re all good, but this may have been the best–or perhaps the most rewarding, because I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to see it.
From “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife,” by Ernest Hemingway: “The doctor went out on the porch. The screen door slammed behind him. He heard his wife catch her breath when the door slammed.”