was this @ finca vigia

Ernest Hemingway reading outside his home, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

It was at Finca Vigía that he wrote much of For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway would later buy the property out of some of the first royalties from the book, published in 1940.

Image: Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea at the Finca Vigia outside Havana. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

It’s been a year since the U.S. and Cuba began normalizing relations. Tourism, business and cultural exchanges are booming. And there is another curious benefactor of those warmer ties — Ernest Hemingway, or at least, his legacy.

The writer lived just outside of Havana for 20 years, and that house, called the Finca Vigia, has long been a national museum. But years of hot, humid Caribbean weather have taken a toll on the author’s thousands of papers and books. A Boston-based foundation is helping restore those weathered treasures, and who better to lead that effort than the original dean of home repairs: Bob Vila, of public television’s This Old House.

He tells NPR’s Carrie Kahn that he has a personal connection to Cuba. “I’m American-born Cuban,” he says. “My Havana-born parents emigrated during the latter part of World War II, and I was born in Miami, raised there and partially in Havana up until the revolution in 1959.”

New Conservation Effort Aims To Protect Papa’s Papers

Don’t you be any more bitter than you have to be. Remember we all should have been quite dead before we were twenty and so we are as ancient and as little understood as people can be. We overstayed our welcome and you having brains and being a fighting man would always be suspect in your Army. I have never known a fighting man with a good brain to ever come to any good end.
—  Ernest Hemingway, from “a letter to GENERAL E. E . DORMAN-O'GOWAN, La Finca Vigia, 23 December 1954,” Selected Letters 1917-1961 (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1981)

I never had so damned much time to think in my life, especially nights on the water and here when I can’t sleep from having lost the habit, and have thought about you with great pleasure and admiration and how wonderful you were and are.
—  Ernest Hemingway, from “a letter to HADLEY MOWRER, L a Finca Vigia, 25 November 1943,” Selected Letters 1917-1961 (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1981)