Boston may be best known for it's wealth of historical sites, from the Old State House to Faneuil Hall to the Old North Church, but the city has more than political history to offer. If you're traveling to Boston with a backpack full of books, worry not, because there are plenty of literary landmarks in Boston you have to visit this summer while you're there.
The capital city of Massachusetts, Boston is a hot-spot for field trips focused on walking the Freedom Trail, visiting Paul Revere's old house, or paying respect at one of the many old cemeteries throughout the city. But Boston is more than dead white dude's homes and weathered gravestones. It's home to America's ballpark, Fenway Park, the oldest restaurant in America, the Union Oyster House, plenty of museums, concert venues, and cultural centers, and, of course, plenty of literary hot spots. Home to some of the first booksellers and publishers in the original colonies and home to some of the greatest literary minds in America, from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Louisa May Alcott to Louisa May Alcott, you may know Boston for it's reputation in sports, but bookworms should know the city as a must-see literary location. Are you ready?
To help you prepare for your trip to the City on a Hill, here are 7 must-see literary landmarks in Boston. Take it from a fellow bookworm and Boston native, this is one bookish city don't want to miss.
1. Omni Parker House Hotel
Once only known as the Parker House, the Omni Parker House Hotel has been a hot spot for bookish fun since it opened in 1855. The preferred meeting place of The Saturday Club, an intellectual club founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Samuel Gray Ward, and Horatio Woodman, the Parker House was home to a meeting of such great literary minds as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others. The hotel was even featured in Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence as a meeting place for her characters. Though it has been rebuilt since the original meeting days of Emerson and others, you can still stop by the hotel for a drink at one of the restaurants several bars, and you'll surely feel the inspiration of the sight.
2. Boston Public Library
Speaking of libraries, no trip to Boston is complete without a stop at the city's public library. Founded in 1848 and now home to over 23.7 million items, including books, art, and other cultural artifacts, the Boston Public Library's Central branch features a map center, several art and cultural exhibits, rare books and manuscripts, and more. Make sure you leave plenty of time to explore this beautiful building, because there's more than enough books to keep you busy, let alone all the other programing the library has to offer.
2. Boston Antheneum
Though the Boston Public Library may be the city's most famous collection of books, the Boston Antheneum is one of its most important. Founded in 1807, it is one of the oldest independent libraries in the U.S.. Featuring not only books but art galleries, and exhibits, the once small collection is now comprised of over half a million volumes on everything from fiction and literature to Boston history.
4. Longfellow House
Located in Cambridge, this historical site is famous for more than one reason. The Longfellow House, as the name would imply, was once home to Henry W. Longfellow, one of the greatest poets of the 19th century, but it was also the headquarters for George Washington during the Siege on Boston of the Revolutionary War. A beautifully preserved mansion on gorgeous, manicured landscape, the Longfellow House is a great place to stop and check out original furniture and objects, peruse through the in-depth archives, or just take an inspiring walk around the formal garden. Do you feel the poetry coming on yet?
5. Old Corner Bookstore
Although it is now occupied by a Chipotle, the original building of Boston's Old Corner Bookstore still stands. Once the home of the publishers of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and more, the bookstore was once nicknamed "Parnassus Corner" after the home of the nice muses of Greek mythology. You might not be able to buy a book there now, but you can still stop for a visit, a burrito, and a nice afternoon reading break.
6. Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House
Just outside of Boston in Concord, MA, sits a little brown house that served as the longtime home of the Alcott family, including Louisa May Alcott. Set up to look as though the Alcotts still live there, the residence features original possessions of the family, including china, paintings, a library table, and more. Grab your copy of Little Women and head over for weekly programming, a tour of the property, or a reading of your favorite Alcott book.
7. Walden Pond
While you're in Concord, make sure to pack a picnic and take a stroll around Walden Pond. Home to Henry David Thoreau from 1845-1847, this kettle hole became famous after the publication of Walden, the author's reflections of living in the woods. Make sure to bring a copy of Thoreau's famous book to read aloud by the water.
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