5 destinations for American literature lovers

Explore the works and lives of the authors whose works we know and love

Reading transports us to new destinations and opens our world to new characters and concepts. Now, you can explore the lives of the authors that created your favorite stories and characters. Here are a few places to visit if you love to read classic literature.

1. Hannibal, Missouri — Mark Twain


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Mark Twain, most famous for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was born as Samuel Clemens in 1835 in Hannibal, Missouri. This was the town on the Mississippi River that inspired Twain throughout his writings. Now, the town hosts the Mark Twain Museum, which holds a collection of eight buildings — each an important part of Twain's early life. Six of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

2. Key West, Florida — Ernest Hemingway


Christopher Nelson/Flickr

Ernest Hemingway penned the classic novels The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man and the Sea. His home in Florida has been persevered as a museum. Hemingway lived and wrote in this house for 10 years. Visit the rooms that witnessed the most prolific period of the Nobel Prize winner's career. Learn more about Hemingway and his home with a guided tour.

3. Amherst, Massachusetts — Emily Dickinson

Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism/Flickr

Emily Dickinson is a famous American poet. The historic house museum consists of two houses: the Dickinson Homestead and the Evergreens. The Homestead was the birthplace and home of Dickinson. Her poems were discovered in her bedroom after her death. The Evergreens was built by her father as a wedding present for her brother Austin. The home is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

4. Concord, Massachusetts — Louisa May Alcott

Wikimedia Commons

Louisa May Alcott wrote the American classic Little Women in her family's home in Massachusetts. This is also the location in which the book is set. There have been very few structural changes to the house since the Alcotts' time there in the 1850s through 1877. About 80 percent of the furnishings on display were owned by the Alcotts, which makes the rooms look very much like they did when the family lived there. It is a time capsule of history and of Little Women.

5. Indianapolis, Indiana — Kurt Vonnegut


Dustin Batt/Flickr

Kurt Vonnegut is known as one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the 21st century. He was a World War II veteran, pacifist, satirist, environmentalist and visual artist as well as an internationally acclaimed writer. He penned modern classics such as Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, and Breakfast of Champions. His memorial library was opened fairly recently in 2011 and allows visitors to explore his works and his life. Sit at the same model typewriter he used, see his drawings and doodles, view photos from family and friends and explore a collection of first edition novels.


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