Living in New England is like living in the pages of a storybook. Around each corner is another home of a famous author, or an architectural gem you’d recognize from famous works of American literature. If you’re looking for ways to infuse excitement into your quarantined existence, look no further than these historic destinations. By taking a literary tour of New England, you’ll discover beautiful locations and learn something new along the way. Stagger your trips over the next few weeks to create weekend getaways you’re sure to remember.
The quaint town of Amherst, Massachusetts is home to the Emily Dickinson Museum. Known as The Homestead, the property was constructed in 1813 and became the ancestral home of the Dickinson family. Between the years of 1858 and 1865, Emily Dickinson lived and wrote inside The Homestead, drawing inspiration from the bountiful reserve of natural beauty surrounding her home, and from correspondence she maintained with close personal acquaintances.
Due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions, the Emily Dickinson Museum is currently offering virtual tours in lieu of in-person visits at this time. Visitors who still wish to see the home and explore the surrounding area are permitted to walk by and take photographs while maintaining health and safety guidelines.
To create a unique experience, participate in one of the exciting virtual tours before departing your home to see the grounds of this gorgeous location. Use your newly established Dickinson knowledge to spark your imagination and draw inspiration from the stunning New England scenery.
The House of the Seven Gables became etched into infamy with the publication of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel of the same name. Located in historic Salem, Massachusetts, this potentially haunted estate was first erected in 1668 for Captain John Turner. The home underwent several notable renovations with each new owner either adding or removing gables to the facade to keep up with the trends of the time. Once in possession of the Ingersoll family in the early 1780s, the mansion was reduced to only four visible exterior gables.
Enter Nathaniel Hawthorne--the second cousin of Susanna Ingersoll who inherited the house upon her father’s death in the 1800s. Hawthorne was already known around Salem for being a reclusive writer, and he used the mansion as inspiration for a gothic tale of murder and mystery. Visitors are provided an in depth-look as to how the House of the Seven Gables novel came into creation and are given unique insight into the history of the home itself.
Located in the heart of Salem, this compelling destination is perfect for explorers who want to immerse themselves in the New England experience. Visitors are typically provided with a guided tour through the mansion, but the House of the Seven Gables is offering an alternative experience to comply with safety guidelines:
- Visitors can pay a fee of $7 per person to receive a guided audio tour of the surrounding gardens to soak in the sights of this gorgeous mansion in all its glory.
- To view the mansion itself, the House of the Seven Gables is offering virtual tours of the interior of the home, the price of which is included in your $7 admission to the gardens.
Stephen King’s House
Recently converted from a place of residency to a local nonprofit, Stephen King’s home in Bangor, Maine has been attracting visitors for decades. Though it has not been announced as to when people will be permitted to enter the home itself, horror enthusiasts are encouraged to take pictures outside the imposing mansion. Perfect for those of you who want to take a lengthy road trip and have some time to stretch your legs on a neighborhood stroll, this trek to Bangor is one for the books.
The house is located at 47 West Broadway and is easily recognizable from the street. With a high wrought iron gate featuring sculpted bats and spiderwebbed features, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into one of his famous eerie tales. Snap a few photos before piling back into the car to discuss which of King’s novels is most terrifying.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known most famously by his pen name Mark Twain, lived in Hartford, Connecticut with his family between 1874 and 1891. The home is now a popular museum dedicated to memorializing the author and paying tribute to the numerous iconic works he wrote while living at this location. Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, among several others, in this American gothic style mansion.
The home and museum features over 25 rooms to view on the guided tour and there is an additional gift shop and cafe located on the grounds as well. Currently offering virtual tours and guided tours observing social distancing restrictions, you have several options available to make the most of your experience. Be sure to spend time admiring the exterior architecture of the home which was designed to look like a steamboat.
Heading back into Massachusetts, the Orchard House located in Concord was home to the Alcott family in the 1840s-1850s and beyond. The home was briefly sold to Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1852 but was obtained once again by the Alcotts in 1857. In 1868, Louisa May Alcott sat down at her specially built shelf desk in her bedroom at Orchard House and began writing the beloved Little Women novel.
Extensive care has been taken to ensure that the exterior of the home has remained largely the same since Louisa May Alcott and her family resided here. Though it is currently closed due to state restrictions, you can schedule a virtual visit before departing to see the grounds of the home in person. Located along a main road, it’s easy for visitors to pull over and take a quick stroll around the carefully maintained gardens.
Located in Derry, New Hampshire is the picturesque farm of the poet Robert Frost. Frost and his family resided on this 64 acre farm between 1900 and 1911, and the surrounding area served as inspiration for some of his most famous poems.
The self-guided nature tour or the on-site poetry trail takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and can be done without the assistance of a guide. Walk through the grounds of this sweeping landscape while stopping periodically to read placards adorned with Frost’s poems. Guided tours of the farm are still currently available for a small fee.
Located in the affluent Berkshires region of Massachusetts, Edith Wharton’s historic home was named The Mount upon its creation. Designed by Wharton herself, The Mount housed the famous author and her husband from 1902 to 1911. Located on over 100 acres of breathtaking farmland, this destination is one of the most memorable in the state. Former residents of the home have stated that it was haunted, and Wharton wrote several ghost stories throughout her career.
See for yourself whether The Mount is home to the supernatural by scheduling a tour through the historic landmark’s website. If you want to simply walk through the grounds of the home or visit the accompanying bookstore and care, you’re permitted to do so without prior reservation. To make the most of your time here, embark on the guided tour of the mansion before spending the rest of the afternoon safely strolling through the scenic grounds.