Literary Tourism is a fantastic form of supporting the arts in 2020. Exciting, informative, and inspiring, visiting the historic homes and spaces of classic authors is a great way to pay homage to the literary greats. After putting out our first blog Literary Tourism for 2020, we realized that we barely scratched the surface of a plethora of literary sites to visit all over the world. Our Part 2 list includes continental U.S. homesteads of your favorite authors such as Dickinson, Faulkner, and Alcott. Let us know what bookish favorites you would like us to include next!
The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, The Emily Dickinson Museum consists of both The Homestead (Dickinson`s birthplace) and The Evergreens (her brother`s home next door). An expansive area, Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson moved to The Homestead in 1830 and bore their second child, Emily Dickinson. Dickinson spent her entire life in the home, writing poetry seriously in her adulthood, gardening in her conservatory, and secluding herself to her room in later years. After Dickinson`s posthumous popularity, the site was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark, and in 2003, Amherst College and Dickinson`s ancestors helped merge The Homestead and The Evergreens for preservation. The museum displays over 8,000 historical objects between the two properties, and Emily Dickinson`s personal room has been restored to reflect the author`s time there. Filled with tours, exhibits, events, artifacts, and more, the Emily Dickinson Museum is a must see for literary lovers!
The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum located in Montgomery, Alabama is one of four surviving historic homes of the famous literary couple and the only museum specially dedicated to the pair. Zelda Sayre grew up in Montgomery and returned with her husband on numerous occasions, taking occupancy from 1931 to 1932 after her father's death. The pair wrote Save Me The Waltz and Tender Is The Night during their stay here. The museum boasts memorabilia, family artifacts, and literary events along with two specialized rooms: The Zelda Suite and The Scott Suite. AirBnb available, these suites include spacious, themed rooms and a complimentary tour of the museum.
This quaint home and farm in DeSmet, South Dakota housed Laura Ingalls and family starting in 1879 after the lure of free land drew them to the Dakota Territory. Ingalls` book By The Shores at Silver Lake (1939) details their move to De Smet as her father works to secure land and create a business in town. Today, the homestead and store offer a wide variety of activities for visitors including a one-room school house experience, hay twisting and wheat grinding, covered wagon rides, and much more! Perfect for kids and adults alike, you can even camp on the prairie grounds to get the full experience. Guides and caretakers are happy to share the history and experience of daily life on the prairie that inspired Laura`s numerous literary works.
Nestled in the southern streets of Savannah, Georgia, the Flannery O`Connor Childhood Home operates as a museum and dedication to the famous writer. Restored to a Depression era style, O`Connor spent her childhood in the multiple story building with a "leave-me-alone-or-I’ll-bite-you complex" and a veracious obsessions with chickens. The home offers a guided tour through the daily domestic life of O`Connor`s family during the Great Depression, and it displays an interesting collection of rare books in the on site Bruckheimer Library. The house also provides a free lecture series to the public, often times with famous guest speakers. Visit the Flannery O`Connor Childhood Home and enjoy one of the most historically rich cities in the United States!
Purchased in 1857 by the Alcott family, this Concord, Massachusetts 12-acre homestead was home to the family for twenty years. Famously the inspiration and location of Alcott`s namesake novel Little Women, the grounds were named Orchard House for the forty acres of apple trees located on the property. A team of experts have protected and restored this house to authenticity while displaying a plethora of original Alcott furniture and personal items. The museum holds "The Summer Conversational Series" every year to honor the educative efforts of Louisa May Alcott herself. Open almost every day of the year except a few holidays, the Orchard House provides wonderful guided tours, and many guests comment that they truly feel immersed in the world of Little Women while visiting.
This Oxford, Mississippi homestead housed Faulkner and his family for over thirty years. Built in the 1840s, Faulkner purchased the home in 1930 to accommodate his growing family. Consequently. the diverse plant life and lore of the area intrigued and inspired several of his writings. Today, the University of Mississippi owns the home in order to preserve the life and works of the multiple prize winning author. The acres and acres of grounds are open to the public from dawn till dusk everyday, and admission to the house is just $5 in cash during business hours. Just a short trip from Oxford Square and Old Miss, if you plan on visiting the historic town it might just be worthwhile to hop on over to a National Historic Landmark like Rowan Oak.