New England has been home for many famous American authors. When we're lucky, their homes are left intact enough that they can be restored and turned into wonderful historic museums. Here is a list of some of the best literary museums in New England.
This is where Mark Twain wrote his greatest works, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Designed by Olivia Clemens herself, this house was the Clemens' home from 1874-1891, and was the home of Mark Twain's heart. Today you can tour the beautiful gothic house as well as visit the Mark Twain Museum and its permanent exhibit on Mark Twain's works and life.
Although she did not live here until years after the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin, the last home of Harriet Beecher Stowe is full of history. The house has been restored to look as it would have done when she lived there, and provides an intimate look into her private life. Be sure to tour the gardens and the beautiful Nook Farm area while you are there.
The House of Seven Gables, made famous by Hawthorne's novel of the same name, is the oldest wooden 17th century mansion still standing. Built in 1668 in Salem, MA, it's a National Historic Landmark, and an amazing example of the architecture of the time. On site, you can also visit Nathaniel Hawthorne's Birthplace, which was moved from its original spot in 1953, as well as several other historic buildings.
Any little girl who read Little Women will instantly recognize Orchard House and its former inhabitants as the inspiration for the book. Louisa May Alcott lived here with her family from 1858-1877, and this is where she wrote her most famous book. Most of the furniture in the house actually belonged to the Alcotts, so you can see exactly where the real-life counterparts to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy grew up.
Herman Melville was a rambling man, but his home in the Massachusetts Berkshires was one of his biggest inspirations. The legend goes that the view of Mt. Greylock from his study window was reminiscent of a great white whale, leading him to write his most successful work, Moby Dick. Now his "old farmhouse" is the home of many artifacts from his own life as well as from local history.
Transcendentalism all over Concord, MA
Many famous writers made their way to Concord, MA. Ralph Waldo Emerson moved to his house in 1835. He drew in many visitors who would go on to be famous writers and philosophers themselves. Henry Thoreau's famous cabin from Walden was located on Emerson's property and Bronson Alcott made his home nearby with his family, including Louisa May Alcott. You can visit Walden Pond, as well as a replica of Thoreau's cabin, or see the Old Manse, which was the center of Concord's political, literary, and social revolutions over the 19th century. The Concord Museum is full of literary history, not to mention Concord's significance in that pesky little scuffle known as the American Revolution.
Robert Frost all over New Hampshire and Vermont
Robert Frost left his mark all over New England. The Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH was his home for about 5 years while he taught at the local school. He claimed the area was the inspiration for many of his poems. The farmhouse still stands and is open to the public, as well as the park and trails behind the house. The Robert Frost Stone House is in So. Shaftsbury, VT. This is where he wrote some of his most famous poems, including "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening." It has been turned into a museum devoted to Frost's works. And lastly, the Frost Place Museum in Franconia, NH is another former Frost home now commemorating his poems. It's home to several signed first editions as well as a nature trail marked with plaques of his poems from that era of his life.
New England is full of famous writers, and museums dedicated to them. Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.