Though the best way to engage with great authors of the past is, of course, to read their work, there’s plenty to gain from visiting the places where they lived and scribbled. Touring writers’ preserved homes can help put their books in historical context or fulfill a quasi-religious need to pay homage to artists who speak to us with startling directness across distances and decades. Plus, you should never discount the pleasures of second-guessing the design choices of people you admire (Hemingway may have had a genius for prose, but what kind of dope replaces ceiling fans with chandeliers in Florida?)
Some of our favorite figures in 19th- and 20th-century U.S. literature produced their Great American Novels (and poems and memoirs and works of scholarship) in farmhouses, cabins, mansions, and bungalows that have been carefully preserved for pilgrims and looky-loos from sea to shining sea. Here are 11 writers whose U.S. residences are worth penciling in for your future travels.
Before visiting any of the historic homes below, check their websites for temporary closures affecting interior spaces, tours, and amenities. In some cases, you may need to make advance reservations for timed entry.
Pictured above: Ernest Hemingway’s typewriter at his house in Key West, Florida