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New England Weekend Getaways for Booklovers

Sometimes we book lovers need to leave the library’s lounge chair in order to exercise our literary habits off the page. This assortment of attractions with authorly significance makes for some great hot spots to add to your New England weekend getaway itinerary. Road trip from landmark to landmark, or, get them all in at once for a weekend worth writing about.

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Photo: Bryan Alexander/Flickr
Photo: Bryan Alexander/Flickr

New Hampshire: The Basin, Lincoln

The grandfather of the American nature writing tradition, Henry David Thoreau, called this glacial pool "perhaps the most remarkable curiosity of its kind in New England." The White Mountains are full of waterfalls, rivers, and swimming holes, but this deep watery eye stands out. There’s no swimming allowed, so we suggest you bring a picnic and a worn copy of Walden to supplement you while you idle here awhile. Journeyers will find many places to rest your head — as well as many more awe-inspiring landscapes to explore — scattered throughout the White Mountains.

Vermont: Robert Frost Interpretive Trail, Ripton

Specifically designed to give walkers a direct infusion of the same flora and fauna that inspired Frost, this path marked with placards of Frost’s poetry is tranquil and energizing. Venturing the full length of the trail only takes about an hour and has been known to leave wanderers with a notion of landscape and literature melded into one. Bring a notepad — the muse might find you here. In fact, a notepad is the ultimate travel aide for this New England weekend getaway. We suggest you jot down notes on all the places you're experiencing and then compare your impressions with those of your favorite New England author once you're done.  Base yourself Vermont's largest metropolis, Burlington, to explore Frost's stomping grounds alongside Vermont's exploding craft beer scene.

Photo: Daveynin/Flickr
Photo: Daveynin/Flickr

Maine: Stephen King’s House, Bangor

Take a stroll down West Broadway to admire from afar the family mansion of America’s most successful horror author. A red victorian with wrap-around porch and a towering rotunda befits King’s creepy writing style and mysterious life. After you’ve paid your respects at the King family manse, get some book shopping done in downtown Bangor at one of three independent bookstores. Use Midcoast Maine's rocky coastal towns as a jumping off point for your biblio-hunts.

Connecticut: Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Hartford

Photo: Henry Zbyszynski/Flickr

This white gothic-style home surrounded by lush gardens is on the same block as Mark Twain’s historic home. Stowe was the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and her historically preserved house is now a museum with interactive exhibits and a popular ghost tour to boot. If you like to walk through a writer's space looking for insight into their creative processes, this museum provides. Being an easy jaunt from most points in Connecticut, there are plenty of options for spending the night as a Connecticut Yankee.

Rhode Island: Paper Nautilus Books, Providence

Flea market treasures and special editions mingle in this beloved-by-locals book emporium. Paper Nautilus has a garden out back for reading on a sunny day, and occasionally small format art exhibits from local creators will go up on display. With so many curious finds and a robust collection of titles, Paper Nautilus is the kind of bookshop you could spend an entire day in. Don't spend all your time here though, as Providence is full of other artsy delights and delicious food to complement your literary New England weekend getaways. 

Massachusetts: The Rare Book Room at Smith College Library, Northampton

Photo: Liz West/Flickr

True bibliophiles will rejoice over the gravitas of the collection at Smith. The personal papers and drafts of both Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf are collected here, along with the documents of many other 20th century titans. After perusing the wares silently, drive a half hour north into the country and get lunch or a coffee at Montague’s Bookmill — a used bookstore and cafe housed in an old river mill building. Fraying velvet armchairs placed among the stacks provide the ideal seat for you to sink into with your next read. Stay anywhere in western Massachusetts for easy access to Northampton and the surrounding Berkshire Mountains.

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