If you love literature, visiting a writer’s home is a bit like reading their autobiography. It gives you access to personal information that’s both helpful in understanding the writer as a person and accentuating your appreciation of his/her work.
If you’re traveling around the U.S., chances are you’ll be near one of the country’s many literary historical sites. If so, consider a quick visit—who knows, maybe it’ll help you channel the writer within.
Notable Places To Visit For Literature Lovers:
1. William Faulkner
Few writers are as linked to the place where they were writing as William Faulkner is to Mississippi. And in Rowan Oak, Mississippi, you can find the place where he lived for over 40 years and where he wrote many of his major works. He mostly wrote in his study and would often outline his novels on the walls and then paint over his writing once he finished. You can still see the outline of the novel A Fable still penciled on the wall.
2. Emily Dickinson
On a three-acre plot of land in the center of Amherst, Massachusetts, stands the Emily Dickinson Museum. The museum is comprised of her home, where she was born and lived most her life, and The Evergreens, her brother and his family’s home.
3. Henry David Thoreau
In Concord, Massachusetts, you can travel to the scenic Walden Pond and attempt to go on the same reclusive journey as Thoreau did when he was writing Walden—but remember, it’s up to you how “deliberately” you live and how many “facts of life” you decide to front while visiting.
4. Ernest Hemingway
In the heart of Old Town Key West, Florida, you will find the place where Hemingway lived intermittently for over 10 years—he was a frequent traveler and expat. Needless to say, the estate is very Hemingway-esque, and everything seems to bear an interesting story. There are European artifacts, paintings, exotic mounted animals and furs, a pool, a tropical garden, and a bunch of odd six-toed cats.
5. Kurt Vonnegut
Though you can’t actually go into his house, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis, Indiana, is definitely worth a visit. It contains his typewriter, red rooster lamp, first edition novels, original artwork, photos, and rejection letters he received. It’s a suitable memorial to honor and preserve his legacy and undying advocacy for compassion, coexistence, free expression, and the complete intolerance for all human suffering.
Other literary sites include Mark Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri, and his longtime home in Hartford, Connecticut, Henry Miller’s home in Big Sur, California, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthplace in St. Paul, Minnesota, Edgar Allen Poe’s Baltimore home, and H.P. Lovecraft’s home in Providence, Rhode Island.