Literary Sites to Visit Near Boston

Growing up in New England made my life as a reader that much better. Prominent American writers had their starts right in my backyard, as well as those of my fellow Bostonians. While Boston itself is full of authors’ homes and guided tours of literary hubs, I recommend venturing out to nearby literary sites for fun day trips!

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House

Orchard House - Concord, MA

Home of the Alcott family as well as where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women, you can find details of the lives led by the girls who inspired the characters  in the book. Take a tour and you’ll find drawings and paintings done on the walls by May, the inspiration for Amy. Louisa’s room is that of a true writer, and you can almost see Jo writing away at the desk. A piano is on display in memory of Elizabeth, the inspiration for Beth. Aside from feeling like you’re truly within the story, you will learn about the family’s beliefs and the transcendentalist movement. Bronson Alcott, the father, was very influential in the movement and was friends with prominent transcendentalist writers who also lived in town whose portraits you can see hung all around the house. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop and check out all of the editions of Little Women that they have available!

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson House, Concord, Massachusetts

Ralph Waldo Emerson House - Concord, MA

Emerson’s home, dubbed first as “Coolidge Castle” and later  the “Bush” by the family, is another landmark in the realm of transcendentalist literatures in Concord. The Emerson children and some of the Alcott children even attended school together. The house is decorated as it was in Emerson’s time, with his own furniture and belongings. Enjoy the lovely grounds as well as Emerson’s eventual accumulation of nine acres and 128 fruit trees!

 

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Walden Pond - Concord, MA

Walden Pond is a hub for swimmers, boaters, and walkers on a beautiful day. Readers, too, flock here to see the beauty that Henry David Thoreau wrote about. Enjoy a picnic and a beautiful day while also taking a look into the replica of Thoreau’s legendary one-room cabin along the pond.

 

Robert Frost House, New Hampshire

Robert Frost Farm - Derry, NH

Frost lived here for eleven years and wrote most of the poems contained within his first two books. The poet even said, “There was something about the experience at Derry which stayed in my mind, and was tapped for poetry in the years that came after.” Tours, trails, and events can all be found here seasonally. And if you’re looking to go on a longer adventure, look into the Frost museums in Vermont and Franconia, NH.

 

Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, MA - front

Emily Dickinson Museum - Amherst, MA

This museum is comprised of two buildings belonging to the Dickinson family, the Homestead, and the Evergreens. The Homestead, now fully restored, is where the writer was born and lived for most of her life. There are four different tour options that provide different views and insights on Emily and her life. The exhibit, “My Verse is Alive,” allows visitors an interactive means of learning about the early publication of Dickinson’s work.

 

House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables - Salem MA

Located on the coast in the vibrantly historic town of Salem, this home is in fact not the home from Hawthorne’s novel of the same name, and you might enjoy picking out some of the key differences if you have read the book. Rather, this house is the birthplace of the author himself. Tours are engaging, informative, and very popular among the other sites this town has to offer.

 

Herman Melville's Arrowhead, The Berkshires, MA

Herman Melville House - Pittsfield MA

Otherwise known as Arrowhead, this home is where Melville wrote some of his most acclaimed works, including Moby Dick. Built as a farmhouse and inn, Melville used it mostly for writing and some farming after he purchased it. Guided tours through the restored home are offered in the warmer months of the year.