Literary retreats

A cat rests in front of Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, now a museum, and also home for a colony of alleged descendants of Hemingway's famous six-toed cat. The home of the famous author was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1968.


If Robert Frost Place is not in your travel plans this summer, there is sure to be a literary point of interest near you. Below are a few of the places where American classics were created by some of its greatest writers.

Ernest Hemingway Home
Key West, Fla. 

Built in 1931, the Hemingway Home was the residence of one of the greatest authors of the 20th century. In the 30 years he spent here, Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most profound prose including Green Hills of Africa, To Have and Have Not, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

The majestic Spanish Colonial style home, now open to the public, still houses scores of cats and kittens, the direct descendants of Hemingway's nearly 50 cats.

The Dickinson Homestead
Amherst, Mass. 

Emily Dickinson spent almost her entire life at the homestead, rarely venturing past its stone walls. In her lifetime she wrote almost 2,000 poems, though only a handful were published while she was alive. Today, visitors can walk through the house and garden where Dickinson spent her days writing.

Mark Twain House
Hartford, Conn. 

Now a national landmark, Mark Twain lived at this house in Connecticut from 1874 to 1891. Tours are available of the 19-room mansion where he wrote his most famous works including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Eugene O'Neill's Tao House
Danville, Calif. 

One of America's most influential playwrights, Eugene O'Neill lived at Tao House from 1937 to 1944. It is a work in progress, but the National Park Service recently completed restoration of the study where O'Neill wrote his most successful plays, The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and A Moon For the Misbegotten

Carl Sandburg's Home
Galesburg, Ill. 

Now called the Carl Sandburg Historic Site, this modest house is where the Pulitzer Prize-winning author best known for his poems about urban Chicago was born and raised. The site houses a sizable collection of his work.

Steinbeck House
Salinas, Calif. 

If you find yourself in Salinas, Califonia you can eat lunch in the house where Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden were written. The Steinbeck House, a restored Victorian home where Steinbeck spent his childhood, has been converted into a luncheon café with revenues going to support local charities.

Walden Pond
Concord, Mass.

On the brink of being swallowed up by urban sprawl just a decade ago, Walden Pond and the surrounding area are now a protected national landmark. In 1845, essayist and naturalist Henry David Thoreau moved into a tiny shack on the grounds of this patch of woods owned by fellow writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. After three years in this natural setting, he produced Walden, a classic essay on the wonders of the natural world. Today, a replica of Thoreau's cabin stands in the woods to commemorate his legacy of environmental conservation.

New York City Literary Tours
New York, N.Y.

From Henry James to Henry Miller, scores of great American writers have been inspired by the energy and culture of New York City. Joyce Gold History Tours take visitors on a journey through New York's neighborhoods to see where these writers once lived.

Around The World

For literary excursions around the world, log on to Literary Traveler. This online magazine has articles about historic literary figures and the places that inspired them as well as maps, event listings and suggestions for vacation destinations.