May 31, 2015

12 U.S. Literary Destinations You Can Visit This Summer

Not many of us have the funds to go visit literary destinations overseas, so here are some literary places closer to home that you can hopefully visit much easier.  I tried to get some all across the U.S. so no one is left out!

What: Alex Haley Museum
Why: Pulitzer-Prize winner's home from 1921 to 1929, restored
Where: Henning, Tennessee
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What: Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden
Why: Dr. Seuss' stepdaughter created the bronze sculptures shown here which feature Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, the Grinch, Horton the Elephant, and more.
Where: Springfield, MA
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What: The Mount
Why: Edith Wharton's home where she invited many distinguished guests to stay from Henry James to Theodore Roosevelt.  Built to overlook Laurel Lake, it was also a working farm and the whole place was designed by Wharton herself.  They have many events.
Where: Lenox, MA
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What: The Shire of Montana
Why: Can't get to New Zealand?  Perhaps you can get to Montana's Hobbit House where you can lodge.  I mean, who doesn't want to stay in a Hobbit House, I ask you!
Where: Trout Creek, Montana
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What: John's Grill
Why: The setting in The Maltese Falcon, declared a landmark in 1997.  Famous patrons include Sophia Loren, Johnny Depp, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Joe Montana, Julia Child, Lauren Bacall, and Shirley Temple.
Where: San Francisco, CA
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 Mark Twain Boyhood Home in Hannibal, Missouri - Flickr/Sandy Ford

What: Mark Twain's Boyhood Home and Museum
Why: This town was the setting for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Visit Twain's boyhood home as well as Huck Finn's home, Becky Thatcher's house, the Tom & Huck Statue, and more.
Where: Hannibal, Missouri
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What: Margaret Mitchell House
Why: You're a Gone with the Wind fan, clearly.
Where: Atlanta, GA
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What: Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
Why: Perfect photo op sitting at Vonnegut's typewriter, browse first editions and signed editions of Vonnegut's novels, check out Vonnegut's drawings and doodles, and there is Vonnegut apparel in the gift shop. The library also carries on Vonnegut's work against censorship.
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana
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What: Edgar Allan Poe's Memorial Grave
Why: What better way to pay your respects to the king of macabre than to visit his final resting place?
Where: Baltimore, Maryland
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What: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Why: While you're on the East Coast visiting Poe, why not head north and check out Sleepy Hollow Cemetery?  Spooktacular.
Where: Sleepy Hollow, NY
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Fun Fact: There is also a Sleepy Hollow cemetery in Concord, MA, which contains the graves of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Info:


What: Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas in Austin
Why: This archive, library, and museum contains over 40 million literary transcripts, photographs, rare books, film stills, and works of art.  They have Shakespeare's First Folio of his plays, and have manuscripts of James Joyce, William S. Burroughs, Wilkie Collins, J.D. Salinger, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Vladimir Nobokov, and many more. They also have exhibits several times a year and events every month.
Where: Austin, TX
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What: Hemingway's Home
Why: Hemingway. Books. Architecture. Gardens. Six-toed cats. Very low rates. Enough said.
Where: Key West, Florida
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Which literary destination is near to you?  Which one(s) do you hope to visit?
What literary destinations have you been to and recommend?

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