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Kickstarting your Wanderlust (27 Days Remaining!)

May 16, 2013 in American Authors, Classic Writers, Contemporary Literature, Kickstarter, Literary News, Travel

There are 27 days remaining for us to reach our Kickstarter goal.  We are excited by the process and all that is on the horizon for Literary Traveler.  We are really enthusiastic about this project and dedicated to making it happen, but we need your help. Check out our Kickstarter page and be sure to watch our video, featuring Literary Traveler’s own Francis McGovern, Antoinette Weil and myself.  We had a lot of fun shooting the video in Somerville, MA.  We filmed in our office, as well as at the Prohibition-style bar, Saloon, in nearby Davis Square.

For the video, we hoped to capture a day in the LT office, where we often have collaborative brainstorming sessions and discuss future projects.  You may not be able to tell what we are talking about during some of the shots, but we are deep in conversation about our vision for the pilot episode of our literary travel series. There is something about travel that meshes so well with literature and I can’t believe that there is not already a show like ours on mainstream television.

I have been a long-time fan of the Travel Channel. I will watch almost anything, from Samantha Brown to Ghost Adventures.  Whatever the hook, I enjoy travel shows because they take you on a journey to someplace you haven’t been, allow you to experience the sites, smells and tastes of a place very different from where you are.

Travel inspires, sparks new ideas, surrounds us in new experiences — literature does the same.  Literature can have such an amazing sense of place, with settings chosen purposefully by an author who found inspiration there.  How interesting is it to consider how location impacts writers, how their own personal journeys influence their work and, ultimately, how we can traverse the same journey on a unique trip of our own.

I’ve had the travel bug for as long as I can remember.  As a child, I never played house or planned fake weddings.  Instead,  I played travel agent.  I would fill out the postcard inserts from my parents’ travel magazines, check off all the boxes, and send away for travel brochures for everywhere in the continental United States.  My parents were often confused why they received multiple mailings for Mississippi river boat cruises, but I just smuggled them into my bedroom and hoarded them away in a desk drawer that almost didn’t close.

As an adult, I travel every chance I can and when I am not traveling I still enjoy watching travel shows on television, constantly planning dream adventures, most of which I will someday take.  In the meantime, I’ve been known to pass an afternoon living vicariously through the Travel Channel. But, as much as I enjoy watching Adam Richman go up against the world’s biggest burger, or watching historic haunted locations through night vision, I think there is a place for literary travelers in the genre as well.  There are so many amazing literary journeys to take and Literary Traveler has the passion, the drive and the wanderlust to be your guide.

Literary Traveler to Bring Writers’ Journeys to Television

May 4, 2013 in American Authors, American literature, announcements, Classic Literature, Classic Writers, Literary News, Travel, Travel to New York City


Literary Traveler is excited to announce that we are turning our much-loved website into a series for television. We are passionate about the stories we tell, of authors’ lives and the places that inspire them.

Literary Traveler, the series, will be a new thirty-minute program that follows in the footsteps of classic and modern writers, to explore the inspiring places connected to literature’s most popular and acclaimed works, and to make meaning of the lives, struggles and triumphs of famous authors.

These unique stories are presented by visiting places important to the writer, and by taking unique journeys related to that writer’s life, revealing their experiences and inspirations. Each episode will include interviews with experts, popular writers and academic scholars on the writers profiled. We’ll highlight what the journey and places meant for each writer and discuss how viewers can visit locations featured in the program. We’ll also stop to explore interesting places along the way, immersing ourselves in the culture of a particular time and place, as we traverse the challenges the writers faced on their varied paths to success.

Currently we are producing a pilot episode.  We will go in search of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. An iconic novel of the Jazz Age, with settings that range from Louisville, to Long Island, to NYC, we believe that Gatsby provides the perfect entry point for our literary series.

In order to get this venture off the ground, we are taking the project to Kickstarter and asking our fellow literary travelers to help us finance this project. We are excited to launch our Kickstarter project this May, coincidentally corresponding with Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of Fitzgerald’s classic. We want to take a deeper look behind this work and others, and at the places and experiences that contribute to each author’s journey.

Stay tuned for more on our Kickstarter and Literary Traveler, the series. Please join our mailing list to stay apprised of updates. And, as always, thank you for your support!

 

Now Entering River Heights

January 18, 2013 in Fiction, Mystery Writers, Travel, YA Fiction, Young Adult Literature

“Half an hour later she turned into the beautiful country road which wound in and out along the Muskoka River”  –  The Secret of the Old Clock

Some of the literary journeys I wish I could take would be impossible to pull off. Not because of time constraints or travel expenses, but because the destinations simply don’t exist. At least not in reality. But as literary travelers, that has never stopped us.

As a child I spent countless hours traveling around the country without leaving my porch swing. Now, as an adult, I miss those nostalgic literary adventures.  So recently I decided to pay homage to the books that sparked my love of literature. Join me as I set out on this bookish “staycation”–no need to bring a sweater, what you’re wearing will be fine.  The weather in Sweet Valley, California, is lovely this time of year.  Accommodations in Silver City may be a little pricey, but I hear there’s a boxcar that is quite comfortable.  And if you have children, not to worry, there are plenty experienced babysitters in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.  Of all the stops on this road trip through fictional America, however, no destination holds the same allure as River Heights, Ohio…or Illinois…or, err, New Jersey.  Unfortunately, its exact location remains a mystery –which hurts tourism, wouldn’t you say?.  Good thing it’s the home of one of the finest fictional detectives ever…Nancy Drew!

Welcome to River Heights.  Established in 1930 with the publication of the first of the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, the town is itself an enigma. Many an amateur detective has taken a page from the area’s most famous resident and done a little sleuthing into its geography. While most argue that it’s somewhere in the Midwest, others claim the town has moved east in recent years.  Some hypothesize that it depends on which ghostwriter inhabiting the infamous Carolyn Keene wrote the particular text.

The original Nancy Drew books often read like compelling travel guides to River Heights and its surrounding areas. Amidst the pursuit of unscrupulous characters, Nancy and her friends are whisked away to various country estates and charming inns where there is always time for a well-prepared luncheon.  For a quaint little town, the crime rate is quite high, but I’m sure the River Height Chamber of Commerce makes it a point to highlight the area’s positive attributes in their hardback yellow-spined travel guides.

Looking for things to do while you are in town?  A scenic drive down Larkspur Lane in a little blue roadster can make for a lovely afternoon.  At one time the home of nefarious schemers, it is now known for its flourishing horticulture.  Don’t mind the electric fence surrounding that old rustic estate, it’s most likely deactivated now.  Bring a picnic, if you dare.

For a romantic weekend with the Ned Nickerson of your life, book a getaway at the Lilac Inn.  Make use of the in-room safe and store your valuables out of sight from lurking jewel thieves. Don’t mind the ghostly apparitions that appear sporadically on the ground, they add to the property’s historic charm, don’t you think?

While you are in town, make sure to stop in at Red Gate Farm.  The cider is top notch, but don’t feed the animals.  And if you venture off the property and run into any lingering members of the Black Snake Colony, don’t drink the Kool-Aid.  Word is that they may be in the counterfeit business as well.  I knew I shouldn’t have made change for that twenty.

River Heights thrived in the 1960s and 1970s (when most of the original 56 texts were written or rewritten).  It was a simpler time, when an afternoon ride down a winding country road in Nancy’s convertible would be followed up with a light lunch at one of the town’s tearooms. Yet the landscape of River Heights has changed throughout the years; criminals using intricate webs of carrier pigeons upgraded to landlines and eventually, in the latest YA volumes, the internet.

After every literary adventure, as I return to reality always slightly jet lagged from the trip, I am sad to leave the intangible world, but I remember that I can return anytime. River Heights may be impossible to place on a globe–my GPS may never calculate its route–but as Herman Melville states in Moby Dick, “it is not down in any map; true places never are.”

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If you are looking to travel by the book, indulge in a little girl sleuth nostalgia by participating in one of the annual Nancy Drew conventions.  Much like River Heights, they change location every year.  Each event takes its theme from two geographically appropriate titles – one from the original fifty-six and one from the later paperbacks.  This spring journey to Boston and join other Drew devotees as they immerse themselves in the settings that provide the backdrop to The Secret of the Wooden Lady and The Case of the Vanishing Veil.

 

Fauxscar Nominee: On the Road

January 8, 2013 in American literature, Classic Writers, Literary Movies, Travel, Travel Writers

A brief reflection on literature, and an even briefer one on the movie, On the Road.

Jack Kerouac’s On the Road captured the beat of a generation. It bottled the spirit of a time and intoxicated generations to come with the sweet, burning lust to wander. The story tells of a youth at odds with society and a society just beginning to redefine itself. Kerouac’s voice is heard clear through pages that read like they were written on a single script, beckoning to the young and restless to strap on their packs and hit the road. The novel has become an American passage and one of the first milestone-reads of most any literary traveler.

Walter Salles’ On the Road is said to pale in comparison to the novel it adapts. Unfortunately, I can’t say this with any surety because I still have not seen the movie. Funny to think that Kerouac’s home state would not have one theater with a showing, but maybe I was lucky. From the reviews I have read, it seems I’ve been saved from disappointment. Though most reviewers agree that Salles has stayed painstakingly true to the novel (he traced Kerouac’s footprints throughout the entire country with an old camcorder), the consensus is that he has failed to convey the voice and passion of Kerouac as he jitterbugs through the America of the 50’s.

It’s a shame too. It was always Kerouac’s intention to make the novel into a film. He even wrote Marlon Brando a letter asking him to play Dean Moriarty. Brando never responded and Kerouac never made the silver screen. Unfortunately, great literature is hardly ever successfully adapted to film, if only because being literature is exactly what makes it great.

Happy Thanksgiving from Literary Traveler!

November 21, 2012 in Food, Holidays, Holidays Literary Traveler, Travel

Please enjoy this interesting article and accompanying pictures featured in The Atlantic about holidays all over the world that encourage “thanks giving”.

Here at LT, we’re grateful for the opportunity to travel, meet people, and share our love of literature and the arts.

What are you thankful for this year? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Explore Your Literary Imagination: Cuba

November 5, 2012 in Cuba, Travel

Now that Halloween is a mere whisper in the dark, Literary Traveler moves on. Over the next several days, we’ll feature posts about the literary history of Cuba. Please join us on our literary journey, and just maybe, on a literal tour of Cuba next year.

Submit your stories about Cuba and Cuban literature at submissions [at] literarytraveler.com, and we could post them here or on our Facebook page.

Check out Literary Traveler article, Chevrolets, Cigars & Men in Graham Greene’s Cuba, for an inspiring look into Cuba’s cultural landscape.

Living Literary History at Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables

October 19, 2012 in American Authors, American History, American literature, Dark New England, Famous Museums, Gothic Literature, Halloween, Holidays Literary Traveler, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Travel, New England Travel, Travel

Located on the waterfront in Salem, Massachusetts, The House of the Seven Gables is a higgledy-piggledy pile of secret staircases, parlors and garrets – an eccentric collage architectural styles that has borne the stamp of every owner who lived there. But the strangest thing about the house is that, since the publication of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel of the same name in 1851, The House of the Seven Gables has been gradually evolving to look more like the house of Hawthorne’s imagination.  As our fabulous and knowledgeable tour guide, Jeff Horton, explains, “in a sense, the fictional novel saved the real house.”

It’s clear that, for Horton, associate to the group tour coordinator of The Gables, this is not just a job, but a personal passion.  Upon learning that we are literature enthusiasts, he insists on running to his car to procure his own 1922 edition of Hawthorne’s book, animatedly pointing out that it was edited by a high school teacher from Somerville, Massachusetts,  Literary Traveler’s home-base.

Horton is extremely well-versed in all aspects of the Turner-Ingersoll House (the official name of The Gables), as well as the Nathaniel Hawthorne House, where the author was born.  The latter was located across town until 1958, when, to the delight of certain Hawthorne enthusiasts, it was transported on a flat bed truck to its present location next door to The Gables.

Originally built in 1668, the Turner-Ingersoll House is the oldest wooden mansion still standing in New England.  Upon the start of the tour we are struck by the low ceilings, built to conserve heat.  Horton segues into an overview of the hardships of seventeenth century living, which far exceed ducking through doorways, and than swiftly recovers our spirits with a little historian humor: “we love history – it’s like The Hunger Games everyday of your life.”

One of the most surprising things that we learn on our tour is that Nathaniel Hawthorne never knew the seven gabled house that he wrote about. Its first owner was the wealthy merchant family Turner, which accumulated a fortune through its involvement with the ‘Triangle Trade’ in China.  In what was to become a tradition of great wealth lost and gained, the house passed from the Turner family to the Ingersoll family, after the third generation Turner squandered the family fortune. The Ingersoll family, in an attempt to adapt the house to a Federalist style, removed four of the seven gables. It was only through his Ingersoll cousin Susanna’s descriptions of the house that Hawthorne conceived of the uncanny seven gabled house of his novel.

And it’s Hawthorne’s book that is the reason the house is preserved today. A fan of the author’s work, Caroline O. Emmerton, who acquired the house in 1908, founded The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association to commemorate the literature of Nathaniel Hawthorne and educate the community. If Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables house was once haunted by the uneasy ghosts of family (his ancestors were involved in the Salem witch trials), the resident ghost today seems to have the philanthropic and busy spirit of Miss Emmerton. Emmerton replaced the remaining gables, turned the back room of the house into a sweet-shop like the one in Hawthorne’s novel, and used the profits from tours to educate local Polish immigrant children. The Settlement Association still works within the Dominican community to help immigrants today.

With the assistance of the architect Joseph Everett Chandler, who was known for his controversial restorations, Miss Emmerton hammed up the house’s Gothic credentials by restoring the staircase embedded in the house’s chimney as a ‘secret’ one, complete with false paneling and a concealed lever to open the secret door. This staircase was designed as a literal representation of how the novel’s character, Clifford Pyncheon, moved from room to room without being seen. Thus the house’s Gothic elements were, within less than a century of Hawthorne’s death, no longer fearful evidence of the house’s bad karma, but of great literary worth.

As we finish up the tour, I wonder whether this strange house – like so many other mansions before it – has been fixed in this perfected, seemingly final state, nevermore to evolve. As a national tourist site, it would seem so.

However, Horton gives us a more nuanced impression.  In the famous accounting room, typically closed in October due to the heavy flow of tourists, he shows us a map – a battered, old looking artifact that seems to fit perfectly into the room’s furnishings next to an authentic wooden chair.  But we soon learn that the map was created by a museum employee, who baked it in his oven to create its time-worn, weathered look. Horton’s advice says a lot about both the house and our view of history: “You have to be careful when you come to museums”, he warns, “things aren’t always what they seem.”

Behind the Article: Catching the Travel Bug along the Mosquito Coast

September 11, 2012 in Behind The Article, central america, Travel Writers

After reading the September 3rd article, “Man’s Last Chance: Impressions of Central America,” we couldn’t wait to catch up with the author, journalist Klas Lundstrom, and get his thoughts on Theroux, traveling to Central America, and the best ways to experience the Mosquito Coast.  Sit back and enjoy, as we take a look “Behind the Article.”

Literary Traveler:  How did you first become interested in the landscape and culture of Central and South America?

Klas Lundstrom: I’ve been back and forth to Latin America for the past ten years now. The first time was in 2001, as a teenager writing an essay on Nicaraguan youth and their future prospects. What I saw then, and the people I met, changed my life forever. Since then, I’ve been in love with the continent, its people and fascinated by the political and social progress, and also have the luck to have been able to live and report from Central and South America on a regular basis.

LT: Our Literary Traveler book club selection for September is Ann Patchett’s 2011 novel, State of Wonder, which involves a pharmaceutical company doing research in the South American rainforest.  For writers, what do you think is the fascination with this area?

KL: I truly believe that any person who visits a rainforest understands that a rainforest is a shifting place, that it’s full of life and mysteries. For any writer, the rainforest is the perfect setting for any story; not only novels, but also pieces of reportages, travel stories, history books or plays. I guess that this fascination is a sort of colonial mindset that make us so thrilled by the rainforest; its people, its nature, its culture—we look upon it as the farthest away you can get from an urban environment. Although, my experience, after living and working in the Brazilian Amazon for six months, was that people were having the same thoughts and opinions on life and love, they were as worried about kids education as you are in, say, Stockholm, and they also return home from their jobs feeling exhausted and longing for a peaceful Sunday afternoon.

LT:  You refer to Theroux’s novel as playing a part in the “cultural contribution to the false picture of the world’s hidden pockets,” unintentionally as it may be.  Do you suppose there is any way to rectify this “false picture?”

KL:  Paul Theroux’s novel, The Mosquito Coast, is one of the best stories ever written about Western colonialism in theThird World. He challenges the notion that imperialism is a product of a church, a multinational company or henchmen of the C.I.A.—instead he tells you a story of a man who wants to improve the lives of farmers in the Honduran jungle.  Imperialism, in its most dangerous form, I think often can be found inside the best intentions, e.g. those Allie Fox arrives with to the Mosquito Coast. Just have a look at the growing micro finance market, often supported and funded by billionaires with a bad conscience. Instead of helping people to form a strong public sector they create a new market that often bring rural people even further away from public facilities.

LT:   Do you have any suggestions for further reading for those whose interest has been piqued by your insightful article?

KL:  For any person interested in Latin America, the Uruguyan writer Eduardo Galeano’s classic, Open Veins of Latin America, Joan Didion’s, Salvador, and Gabriel García Márquez’, News of a Kidnapping, are three great books that capture and explain the diversity and political complexity of the continent.

LT:  Do you think the tourism industry helps or hurts the worldview of places such as Tierra del Fuego?

KL:  That is totally up to each person.  Traveling now is such a normal thing to do for most Western people that, by now, we should be more aware of what the situation really looks like in places we visit. The tourism industry tends to forget the culture and society that it’s a part of, and in many ways depends on. It’s up to us if we want to visit places like Tierra del Fuego and return home with more than just an updated photo album on Facebook.

LT:  What advice would you give to literary travelers who do want to experience these regions for themselves?

KL:  To have the time to travel by road, take the bus, and have coffee, some yerba mate or a beer at the local pubs and cafes. It’s easy to say “skip the guide” if you speak Spanish, but sometimes a guide can be a helpful friend to you. In Central America, and especially along the Mosquito Coast, it’s wise to make friends with people who can show you places and tell you when and where to go. An absolute must in Patagonia is to visit Chile Chico and listen to the silence after the coal mines have shut down and left nothing but questions to an aging population.

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To read more from Klas, check out his website.

 

Top 3 Literary Alternatives to Disney World

May 2, 2012 in Charles Dickens, Feature articles, Holidays Literary Traveler, Summer Fun, Travel

Everyone knows the Internet is the best place to find reliably accurate statistics and hard facts. No? Well, do me a favor and suspend your disbelief in that last sentence, at least until my 500 words are up.

According to the, ahem, Internet, over 70% of the American populace has visited Disney World and its affiliated attractions at least once in their lives.  That makes a pilgrimage to metropolitan Orlando as American as apple pie, NASCAR or a tenuous grasp of world geography.

Now, you may or may not be saying to yourself, “70%! That seems so low! What is the rest of America doing with their precious vacation time? Exploring the natural beauty of one of our world-class national parks? Comparing the food at T.G.I. Friday’s in Times Square to the one at the mall near their house?”

Wrong. The remaining 30% are the hip insiders who know that when it comes to theme parks, one with a few quirks and lots of heart will always beat the sprawling, vaguely imperial nature of Walt Disney’s brainchild.  So, on that note, here’s a list of some of those “underground” theme parks to shake up your family’s tri-annual trips to central Florida.

The House on the Rock – Iowa County, Wisconsin: While not a “theme park” in the traditional sense, this one of a kind architectural wonder is treat for fans of whimsy and kitsch. The House itself rests on a 60-foot tower of rock and resembles a modernist’s fever dream. Its interior is an extensive complex of themed rooms and corridors. There’s a nautical room, a Christmas room, a room containing an entire automated symphony orchestra and even one that resembles a 1950s era America even Norman Rockwell would find too sanitized. Home to both the “world’s largest indoor carousel” and a massive collection of dollhouses, The House on the Rock is sure to provide ample, if somewhat over-stimulating fun for the whole family.

Grūtas Park – Vilnius, Lithuania: For those families out there with a macabre sensibility and ambition to spare, this tribute to Soviet brutality is a trendy pick. What it lacks in rides and traditional theme park fare, it makes up in meticulously recreated Gulag prison camps and something called “The Terror Sphere.” The park’s core consists of 86 statues; each dedicated to a famous Communist or political dissident whose life’s work shaped the story of Soviet occupation. Fun fact: this is the only attraction on the list that has won the Nobel Peace Prize, which it did in 2001. Once you’ve had your fill of staring unflinchingly into the faces of totalitarianism, the park also offers restaurants, playgrounds and even a small zoo. While Grūtas Park may seem a bit stern or melancholy for a family vacation, keep in mind that the next time little Billy thinks about refusing to do his chores, he’ll have the stark, indelible image of that Gulag in his head to send him on his way.

Dickens World – Kent, England: Sure to delight the English majors out there, this recently opened theme park is dedicated entirely to the life and work of Charles Dickens. Complete with a “Great Expectations” log flume and the haunted house of Ebenezer Scrooge, Dickens World promises an immersive trip to Victorian London. How immersive? Cleverly hidden “smell pots” that reek of rotten cabbage and animal parts are a masterstroke.  There is even a hi-definition cinema show based on Dickens’ final completed novel, Our Mutual Friend, because you haven’t seen urban squalor and class struggle until you’ve seen it in 3-D! Once you’ve had your pocket picked by the Artful Dodger in the impressively rendered central square, head over to the themed restaurant for a room temperature beer and some figgy pudding (I know, I’m not sure either). Word to the wise: if you let little Billy into the colorful and colorfully named “Fagin’s Den” play area, it could take weeks to wash that Cockney street urchin accent out of his mouth.

BONUS! – The still-in-development “Napoleon’s Bivouac” theme park – Paris, France: Kids today. You know, I bet they don’t even know that Napoleon wasn’t even short. In fact, he was about 5’7”: quite average for his era. Luckily, a group of French venture capitalists are out to remedy this sort of ignorance to the greatest Frenchman of them all. In early 2014, ground will be broken in Montereau, France on a project that promises to bring the “little” general’s exploits to vivid life. Early blueprints seem to divide the grounds into the different episodes of his life. Visitors will begin and end their Napoleonic journey on two islands. First, Corsica, where they’ll witness the humble beginnings of the future Emperor of Europe and finally, Saint Helena, almost 1,200 miles off the Atlantic coast of Africa where the grizzled old general died in exile. Though traditional rides and rollercoasters are a given, the park’s designers have hinted that the big attraction will be elaborately choreographed battle reenactments complete with gunfire, pyrotechnics and a cast of hundreds. So, come 2014, wear your bicorne hat at a jaunty angle and meet me in Montereau! Euro Disney, eat your heart out!

Southern Hospitality: A Spring Road Trip through the Literary South

April 5, 2012 in American literature, Classic Literature, Southern Writers, Travel, Travel Writers

Painting by David BatesWith winter winding to a close, there is no better time to hop in the car, roll down the windows, and enjoy the warm breezes of spring as you venture off to places unknown.  From John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley to Jack Kerouac’s iconic On the Road, literature is ripe with tales of road trips, penned by authors sharing their experiences traveling the country.  With summer fast approaching, isn’t it time to imagine your own cross country adventure?

Over the years I’ve often planned hypothetical road trips for myself, drawing zigzagging lines with a Sharpie across maps of the United States, hopeful to take my own journey one day. But of all the lines I have drawn, my favorite always takes me a southern route from the North East down through Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. I believe one reason it’s my favorite route is because the South has been so vividly portrayed in literature. From the grandiose to the grotesque, Southern writers from Flannery O’Connor to Margaret Mitchell have painted brilliant portraits of the South in their works.

While I long to witness the natural beauty the South has to offer, see the Mississippi River and experience the splendor of the Louisiana bayou, I am sure even these urges have their root in my experience of Southern literature.  So it only makes sense that on any road trip through the Southern U.S., literary travelers pay homage to the literary greats that lived and wrote there. While New Orleans is well known for its associations with literature, from Tennessee Williams to Truman Capote, the South is brimming with less well-known but equally fascinating ways to connect with literary history.

In Atlanta, Georgia, let the wind take you in the direction of the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum on Peachtree Street.  While it took Mitchell almost a decade to finish the epic Gone with the Wind, you can tour the museum in a couple of hours, viewing her living space and a selection of her letters.  Travel to Atlanta this April 20-22nd, and receive free admission to the house during the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, an event that draws artists from around the world.

If you take your adventure to Savannah, visit the one-time residence of writer Flannery O’Connor.  While A Good Man is Hard to Find, the author’s childhood home, located on East Charlton Street, is not!  The house where the author resided from 1925-1938 contains some of the original furnishings.  For more O’Connor memorabilia continue on to Georgia College and State University, where there is a room dedicated to the famous alumnus that houses her writing desk and typewriter, among other artifacts including the author’s own personal library of more than 700 titles.

In Mississippi, honor William Faulkner with a visit to his Rowan Oak estate located in Oxford.  Originally built in 1844, the property is now owned by the University of Mississippi and visitors are admitted to view the space where Faulkner lived and worked for over thirty years.  The Oxford, MS Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a more extensive map of “Faulkner Country.” So download one here, and meander at your own pace through the stomping ground of this twentieth century great.

Like John Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charley, “we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” The next stop is up to us.