But there’s still over a month left of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere! What are you going to do with yourself until fall arrives in late September?
Fear not. I’ve compiled a list of ten great places for writers (and readers, too) to visit. I’ve tried to include places in the general geographic area of each segment of the country, but I know some of these places will be far away from some of you.
There’s an easy solution to that: make it a two-day trip!
I’m going to stick with places in the United States for now, but maybe someday I’ll do another list for people in other parts of the world. For now, I’ll start in the Northeast and make my way around the US in a clockwise manner.
- New England. The Mark Twain House and Museum is located in Hartford, Connecticut, and is the place where Mark Twain said he spent the happiest and most productive years of his life. The three-story, twenty-five room mansion is open to the public and visitors can also see a Ken Burns film about Mark Twain, browse in the museum shop, and have a bite to eat.
- Mid-Atlantic. The Poe Museum. Located in Richmond, Virginia, Edgar Allan Poe’s hometown, The Poe Museum contains the world’s largest collection of Poe memorabilia, a wonderful gift shop, and an Enchanted Garden. There are always exhibits to see, as well as a Sunday Reading Series and a monthly Unhappy Hour.
- The Gone with the Wind Trail has stops in several places in Georgia. Here are just three of them: Atlanta’s Margaret Mitchell house (which houses a museum including the apartment where she wrote most of Gone with the Wind); the Gone with the Wind Museum in Marietta, Georgia, where visitors can see tons of memorabilia from the movie; and Shady Oaks (located in Jonesboro, Georgia), a Tara-esque mansion complete with outbuildings and guides in period costume.
- Middle South. I am one of the world’s biggest fans of Ernest Hemingway’s writing, which is one of the reasons I’m including this site on my list (another reason being that I’ve already included a trip in the Southeast, and EH’s home in Key West, FL, didn’t fit). It’s the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, located in Piggot, Arkansas. Hemingway and his wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, spent time in Piggot with her family; in fact, the Pfeiffers had a barn on the property converted for Hemingway’s use as a writing studio. He wrote portions of A Farewell to Arms while in Piggot, as well as a number of short stories. Check out this website, too.
- The Southwestern Writers Collection, located in San Marcos, Texas, and part of the Texas State Library System, is home to countless archives of works by writers (filmmakers, too) of the American Southwest. Included in the collections are works by Cormac McCarthy, Sam Shepard, and Rick Riordan.
- The Merwin Conservancy on the island of Maui is a home and 19-acre garden that belonged to the United States Poet Laureate William S. Merwin. It is only open for garden tours one morning a month, so if you want to go, check the website’s calendar. The garden, which contains one of the world’s largest collection of palms, would be a wonderful place to rest, rejuvenate, and drink in inspiration.
- Located in Salinas, California, The National Steinbeck Center is a tribute to all things John Steinbeck, one of the most influential American authors of all time. The permanent exhibition in the center is set up to explore the locations where Steinbeck lived, wrote about, and traveled.
- Hugo House is a writer-centric haven for people who love the written word. Richard Hugo was born in Seattle and overcame poverty and grief to become a nationally-renowned poet. The Hugo House is a place where writers can take classes, attend workshops, readings, author interviews, and more. Most of the events are free.
- Spend some time taking in the scenery and wildlife in the Arctic National Refuge, but to really get an appreciation for this upper bend in the Yukon River, read Two Old Women by Velma Wallis. The story is based on an Athabascan Indian legend and tells the story of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a devastating winter famine. Once you’ve read the book, go to Fort Yukon and begin to get a glimpse of the scenery and culture that gave birth to the legend.
- In Mansfield, Missouri, in the land of the Ozarks, you’ll find Rocky Ridge Farm, home to The Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum. This tribute to one of America’s most beloved writers features the farm and home where Laura lived with Almanzo and Rose and where The Little House books were written.
Do you have more suggestions for places for writers to visit this summer? Please share your ideas in the comments so we can all learn about them!
Amy M. Reade is a recovering attorney who discovered, quite by accident, a passion for fiction writing. She has penned nine mysteries and is working on two more, plus a Cape May County historical mystery series. She writes in the Gothic, traditional, contemporary, and cozy mystery subgenres and looks forward to continuing the two series she has begun since December 2018. She also loves to read, cook, and travel.
She is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, House of the Hanging Jade, the Malice series, the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series, and the Libraries of the World Mystery series.
Her most recent work is Dead, White, and Blue, Book Two in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series.