I mentioned a while ago, that Jewish Friend and I went superfunadventuring to Salem for a trip to the House of the Seven Gables. More recently, we made a daytrip to Concord, MA to visit Orchard House, and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s estate. The plan is to embrace this summer of underemployment and use this deluge of time wisely– fill it with learning. The response to my photos from the Concord trip was almost overwhelming, and many people commented on how much fun it seemed to be (and it was!). It occurs to me that maybe people who are interested in this kind of thing, don’t know what all we have at our disposal here in the Northeast.
Since I’m a nerd, and have a lot of time on my hands, I made a list– what I think is the definitive list of literary tourism in this part of the country. I’m going to hit as many places as I can, and do a little write-up of each. Since I’ve eaten almost all of the mac and cheese Providence has to offer, I have to have opinions about something.
Here’s the list:
Orchard House— house where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women and lived for many years.
Ralph Waldo Emerson House— self-explanatory.
Walden Pond— Pond where H.D. Thoreau camped out and wrote smug essays.
Wayside— Another home occupied by the Alcott family, and the only home that Nathaniel Hawthorne lived in outside of Salem.
The Old Manse— Place where R.W. Emerson lived before settling in his later estate. Also, Mosses from an Old Manse by Hawthorne…
Emily Dickinson Museum— Self explanatory
Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast— Not exactly literary, but a lot of books have been written about Lizzie. If you stay there overnight, which is grossly overpriced, you must vacate your room at 11, 1, and 3 so the proprietors can run tours through it, but they serve you a breakfast similar to the one the Borden’s consumed on that fateful day– hilarious.
Melville’s Arrowhead-– You can find Melville stuff all over this area, plus there are two annual marathon readings of Moby Dick, one of which allows you to stay on an actual whaling ship (if you book early). Arrowhead is the estate where Melville and his family settled and lived for 13 years, during which time he wrote extensively.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center— I really don’t care for Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and I have no idea what else Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote, but what better way to learn?
Mark Twain House and Museum— My parents have find memories of Twaining in Hannibal, MO, but all they have there is his boyhood stuff. In Connecticut, you get Twain as adult, and can view his beautiful 19-room Victorian estate.
The Mount–Edith Warton’s country estate– huge, beautiful, designed by Edith Warton. Sassy Redhead has visited this place already, and seems very happy in pictures.
The Longfellow House–occupied by H.W. Longfellow from 1837 to 1882.
Sunnyside— Home of Washington Irving. I’ve wanted to visit Tarrytown since I was about 9-years-old and first read Otherwise Known as Sheila The Great. In that particular book, Sheila Tubman, menace to Peter of Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing Fame, leaves NYC for a summer in Tarrytown. A friend of hers lives in Washington Irving’s old house (which is clearly not true, but really cool, I thought). This was the first time it dawned on me that you could go to places where authors had lived and wrote, and I’ve been desperate to go ever since. The fact that I’ve lived this close for a year and a half is something that I’m not very proud of, but it is what it is.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery--I’m not terrifically excited to go to a cemetery, but these old ones can be pretty cool. Also, you can’t do a literary tour without Sleepy Hollow– for reals.
Fenimore House--Just what it sounds like. Apparently, there’s a Cooper house in New Jersey too…
Naulakha (Kipling House)-– Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book while living in the mountains of Vermont.
Robert Frost Museum–Just what it sounds like. I don’t care much for Frost, which is why this is last on the list.