A peek inside historic homes
Key West houses open four weekends a year
The Curry Mansion will be a part of the Key West Home Tour Dec. 28-29.
One of the great pleasures of visiting Key West is admiring the hundreds of historic homes that have been lovingly preserved and restored.
But few visitors get a peek inside those private homes.
Four weekends a year, however, the owners of some of Key West’s most interesting houses open their doors to visitors in order to raise money for historic preservation on the island. The first is Dec. 28 and 29, followed by Jan. 18 and 19, Feb. 15 and 16 and March 15 and 16.
For 59 years, the non-profit Old Island Restoration Foundation has hosted the Key West Home Tours. It is one of the oldest home tours in the country.
For a $35 ticket ($40 at the door), visitors can tour five houses over the course of two days. There are four weekends of home tours and each one features different houses reflecting the varied tastes and originality of their owners. Some showcase homes have been scrupulously restored. Others have been ingeniously renovated. Many have art collections and antiques. This year, as a bonus, there is an additional sixth building to tour each weekend, a historic bed and breakfast or hotel.
The first home tour was organized in 1960, and that was a very different era for Key West, according to Jean Shannon, vice president of the foundation.
“The Old Island Restoration Foundation was organized by handful of people who really were disappointed
Key West Home Tours
Dec. 28-29: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 18-19: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 15-16: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15-16: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Special features: The December tours include many homes decorated for the holidays. The January tours include the option of paying an additional $10 for a ticket that takes you on the Conch Tour Train as tour transportation. To see a list of the homes on each month’s tours, visit the website here: keywesthometours .com/tours2018-2019
Tickets: Tour tickets are $35 and available online or in person at the Oldest House Museum or on the day of the tour at each of the five homes. Tickets sold on the day of the tour are $40. Online tickets can be purchased here: oirf.org/pay/ticketpay
Logistics: Homes may be seen in any order and viewings may be split over two days. Since parking is challenging in Key West, it is best to bicycle or to combine walking with the free Duval Loop Bus. Here’s information and the route of the bus: carfreekeywest .com/duval-loop-bus