10 Bookish Vacation Locations For Readers
Summer is finally here, which means its time to lather on the sunscreen, roll out the beach blanket, and kick back with a good book. Instead of heading to your local lake or nearby seaside spot, though, take your summer reading list to one of these vacation destinations for book-lovers. They've got sun, they've got sand, they've got bustling city streets, but more importantly, they've got rich literary histories that will make any bibliophile ask, "Can't we just stay here forever?"
From major US beach towns to small European cities to remote wooded hideaways, there are certain geographical locations that have always attracted creative genius. Whether its the warm, salted air or the quiet of the woods or the bustle of the city, these are the places that authors found, fell in love with, created in, and called home. They're locations of history, art, and inspiration, and they're destinations you should add to your travel bucket list, because vacation isn't just about what you read, but where you're reading it.
Pack your bags, print your tickets, and get your summer reading list in order, because it's time to set off to one of these 10 bookish vacation destinations. Make sure to bring enough clothes, though, because once you land in these literary hot spots, you're never going to want to leave.
1. New Orleans
From William Faulkner to Tennessee Williams, many famous literary stars have called New Orleans home. Take a trip to the bayou and visit the Hotel Monteleone, a favorite drinking and writing spot of Ernest Hemingway, Anne Rice, and John Grisham. Stop by for a bite to eat at Antione's Restaurant, the setting of Frances Parkinson Keyes's murder mystery Dinner at Antiones. Visit the many homes of Tennessee Williams, and the building that published Charles Bukowski's first book and the "Outsider" journal of William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. If you're a literary lover, New Orleans is the city of your dreams.
2. Key West, FL
Home to Ernest Hemingway and his famous six-toed cats, Key West is the perfect bookish beachy vacation. After an afternoon of reading in the sun, visit Hemingway's old home, walk the grounds of his property, and be sure to pet the over 30 cats that still live there today. You'll be able to see the room that he wrote A Farewell to Arms in, eat at his favorite restaurants, and drink at his favorite bars. And Hemingway wasn't the only one to feel the warm breeze off the Southern Most Point, either. Tennesee Williams and Robert Frost walked the islands streets, too, and now, you can follow in their footsteps, too.
3. New York, NY
Home to thousands of writers and the setting of countless books, New York is the hottest literary hot spot in the US. From The American Poets Corner and The Morgan Library and Museum to Mark Twain's haunted house and the Strand Book Store, there are enough literary landmarks in New York to keep you in the city for a lifetime. Be sure to pack good walking shoes so you don't miss a thing.
4. San Francisco, CA
Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Frost, Shirley Jackson, Ursula K. Le Guin— the list of literary geniuses who called San Francisco home goes on forever, which is why you're going to need a lengthy vacation to fully explore the city by the bay. When visiting San Francisco's bookish hot-spots, be sure to check out Jack London's favorite hang out, Heinold's First and Last Chance bar, City Lights Bookstore, home of the Beat movement, and Vesuvio, a cafe and bar that was and still is a popular haunting ground of literary types in the Bay Area — just be prepared to walk up a lot of hills.
5. Dublin, Ireland
If James Joyce's Dubliners wasn't enough of an Irish experience for you, then make the trip across the pond and see the real thing. While on the Emerald Isle, be sure to visit Dublin's coolest literary landmarks, which include Saint Patrick's Cathedral, where Jonathan Swift worked as dean for over 30 years, and Trinity College, the alma mater of Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and Bram Stoker. It's the kind of place you can't visit without feeling inspired.
6. Edinburgh, Scotland
The unofficial literary capital of the United Kingdom, Edinburgh is the stuff of a book lover's dream. It's the city where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It's the birthplace of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the spot of the famed Sherlock Holmes statue. It's home to the Scottish Storytelling Centre, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Edinburgh is a place of beauty and books, arts and inspiration, and if you vacation there, you may never want to return.
7. Paris, France
The City of Lights should have another nickname: the City of Literature. You may know it as a place for love affairs and flaky pastries, but writers like Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Henry Miller, and more found it to be the perfect place for art, camaraderie, and creativity. If you make it your summer vacation destination, make sure to map out a path to Cimetière du Père Lachaise, the resting place of Oscar Wilde and Colette, among others, and Le Rosebud, a popular speakeasy on the street where Hemingway and Fitzgerald met for the first time. There are graveyards to walk through, cafes to relax at, and bars to bookstores to shop at, so drink plenty of coffee, because you're going to need your energy if you want to visit all of the literary locations in Paris.
8. Verona, Italy
If you've ever dreamed of Romeo calling out to you below your women, then there's no better summer get away than Verona. Aside from the city's ancient beauty and timeless culture, Verona is the setting of Shakespeare's beloved Romeo and Juliet, and the famed balcony from the play, the one at the real-life at Casa di Giulietta, is a popular tourist spot for other star-crossed lovers to leave notes at. Although the practice is now a finable offense, Verona is still a beautiful city well worth using your bookish vacation days on.
9. Bath, England
Is your favorite book by Jane Austen? Is your perfect mate a Mr. Darcy type? Do you dream of quaint picnics and formal balls? Then Bath is a great place for you to summer. Home to Jane Austen, who actually didn't like the city herself, Bath is a breathtaking countryside town famous for its natural hot springs and, of course, celebrated literary legends. You can spend your mornings touring the Jane Austen House Museum and the Jane Austen Centre, and your afternoons taking tea in the garden. Sounds like the perfect getaway, doesn't it?
10. Matamata, New Zealand
Back your sack with pipes and tea cakes, because you're heading off to the Shire — or, more accurately, Hobbiton, the set from the movie you can actually tour. Whether you've seen the Peter Jackson movies or not, if you love The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, you will love this literary summer destination.