If you’re anything like us, two of your favorite things in the world are probably vacations and reading. Combine them and we couldn’t be happier. (Well, unless you were to put a margarita into the mix, that is.) Luckily, there is a special kind of trip for book nerds like us—the literary vacation.
Writers’ homes can be a great way to pack some literary destinations into your trip. Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts is open to the public and visitors can view much of Louisa’s original possessions at the site where she wrote the iconic Little Women. Also in Massachusetts you can find the Emily Dickinson House and Museum, Thoreau’s cabin, and Edith Wharton’s estate. A few hours’ drive and you could also check out the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, as suggested by BookPage.
More interested in a southern reading road trip? To Kill a Mockingbird fans flock to Monroeville, Alabama, and the south is also home to the homes and museums of William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and many more. Europe also offers a myriad of literary-inspired destinations, including, but certainly not limited to, the Bronte sisters home in Haworth, England and William Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon.
If you don’t feel like lugging your own books on your trip (and you don’t own an e-reader…yet), there are options out there for you, too. The Nines Hotel in Portland, Oregon has floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with titles curated by the nearby staff at Powell’s Books. The luxury cruise line Ocean Marina also maintains a library for its patrons, complete with leather chairs and paneled mahogany walls. With ten floors dedicated to the ten Dewey Decimal System categories, the Library Hotel in New York has sixty rooms with books dedicated to their unique genre themes. (The New York Times also created thisinteresting map of literary locations in Manhattan in case you’re staying in the Big Apple this summer.)
While holing up in a beachside bungalow with a stack of great books does sound pleasant (according to Salon), Bill Gates even schedules two week-long “reading retreats” every year), sometimes vacations call for a bit more literary adventure. But even if you’re not ready to forego your trip to the beach in favor of a nerdy reading/writing tour, there are plenty of opportunities to blend the two (hey, Hemingway’s house and museum is located in Key West, after all). A little compromising can go a long way for your brain and your tan.