If you’re a big bibliophile, or love reading books, and traveling, too, then you need to make a reading road trip to New England. New England has served as inspiration for American literary icons for decades, and now it’s your turn to make a journey to the places that have become literary landmarks. From Jack Kerouac to Stephen King, here’s your guide to a reading road trip in New England.
“Northing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road,” writes Jack Kerouac in On the Road. Jack Kerouac was a voice of his generation. As a Beat Poet in the 1960s, and acclaimed novelist for his classic, On The Road, Kerouac shaped and inspired travelers, adventure-seekers, and creatives everywhere during his time, and even today. Go visit his hometown in Lowell, Massachusetts to see his birthplace. The town just celebrated its centennial anniversary of Kerouac’s birth.
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Horror fans know that a pilgrimage to Stephen King’s house in Bangor, Maine is a must-do when doing a reading road trip. The king of horror has an equally spooky domain, with an 1858 estate surrounded by a black iron fence with gargoyles – would you expect anything less? Bangor, Maine has also been the inspiration of King’s fictional town of Derry, which has appeared in many of his novels and short stories. Explore Bangor, Maine for landmarks that fill King’s stories: Mount Hope Cemetery, an almost 200-year-old cemetery, was where Pet Semetary was filmed, while the Paul Bunyan Statue is a landmark from the famous movie, It.
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“I am nobody! Who are you? Are you a nobody, too?” These are the famous, poignant lines written by the 18th century poet Emily Dickinson. The reclusive poet lived out her years at The Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts. It is said that she spent over 10 years without ever leaving The Homestead, writing away at her small desk in her bedroom. Today you can see a replica of Emily Dickinson’s original writing table and visit and see the grounds for yourself at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.
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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life. And see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived,” writes Henry David Thoreau in Walden. Lovers of this introspective and observant book of nature will enjoy a visit to Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, the site of the Transcendentalist movement and Walden’s solo quest to escape from society. Discover a replica of Thoreau’s cabin, lent to him by friend and fellow writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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Mark Twain’s iconic, coming-of-age novels, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Adventures of Tom Sawyer, made its mark in 19th century American literature and continues to be regaled today. Go make a visit to The Mark Twain House & Museum to see Mark Twain’s home. You can even arrange to for uninterrupted writing time in Mark Twain’s library to scribble at your next American novel.
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