If you are a writer with a strong desire to travel and explore the homes of some of the world’s most renowned authors, Massachusetts offers more than a few opportunities within 100 miles of each other. From peering inside the bedroom where reclusive Emily Dickinson composed almost all of her poetry to exploring Edith Wharton’s palatial estate, here are four top author’s homes you can visit on a trip to MA.
1. Emily Dickinson
Located in Amherst, the Emily Dickinson Museum provides guided tours of the home Emily called home from the time of her birth in 1830 to her death in 1886 . You are invited into the rooms of the home, which has been restored to accurately depict what it looked like during Emily’s life here. Standing at the window in the bedroom where she spent most of the last 20 years of her life, you’ll see where she gathered a lot of her inspiration. For example, at the right time of day on a winter afternoon, you’ll see “There’s a certain slant of light, Winter afternoons.”
2. Mark Twain
Situated in Concord, Mark Twain’s grand Colonial home still contains most of its original furniture, more than a century after the literary great’s death . After ringing the doorbell that was likely rung by some of his frequent visitors, including Henry David Thoreau, a docent will escort you through the home, while providing plenty of details about Twain’s life, including the little idiosyncrasies that made him such a quirky individual. The home and its grounds have been well maintained over the years and take you back to a time when life was much simpler.
3. Nathaniel Hawthorne
Although Hawthorne’s Georgian-style home was moved from its original location in Salem, MA to the site of his cousin’s palatial home known as“The House of the Seven Gables,” in 1958, it still looks much like it did when it was built in 1750 . Of course, you also have to visit the home that served as the centerpiece of the author’s 1851 book by the same name. If you haven’t read the book, you’ll likely head right to the nearest bookstore after leaving, thanks to the amazing tours that leave you wanting more.
4. Edith Wharton
Designed by Edith herself, who used the same principles she detailed in The Decoration of Houses, The Mount is not only a stunning home, but also sits on acres of gorgeous lush gardens . Located in Lenox, the four-story home has 35 rooms and is filled with information on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist’s life and achievements. Unfortunately, the home was in a state of disrepair before being restored and doesn’t contain any of the original furnishings like the homes above. However, using photographs, organizers were able to replicate the furniture and set up the house much like it was when Edith still called it home.