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Weekends with Twain, Poe & More: Parks for Book Lovers
America is teeming with spots that pay homage to our most famous and beloved authors making a lit lover’s road trip fairly simple to plan. When you’re mapping out your scholarly journey, take a note from Thoreau and remember that the great outdoors stimulates literary inspiration. So skip the hotel and curl up with a good book at a nearby campground along your route.
Need some inspiration? Try some of these literary landmark/campground pairings to round out your perfect reader’s retreat:
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Attracted to the dark genius of Edgar Allan Poe? Then the Poe Museum - just blocks from the writer’s first home in Richmond - is a must visit. You'll explore the world’s finest collection of Poe’s manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings. Pair your Poe pilgrimage with a stay at Ed Allen’s Campground & Cottages, located 30 miles away on the shores of Chickahominy Lake, which features a wide range of accommodations and outdoors activities, from fishing to hiking and more.
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum
It’s clear from the minute you set foot in Hannibal that this town is incredibly proud of its favorite son, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain). In fact, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is one of just countless ways to get to know the author of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and other classics. Campers can keep the Twain vibe going with a stay at the Mark Twain Landing Resort & Water Park. Located 20 miles from Hannibal, this family-friendly park offers up accommodations ranging from RV spots to cabins and provides plenty of diversions for everyone including a full water park, water sports, themed nights and weekends, mini golf and more.
F. Scott Fitzgerald Walking Tours and Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home
From your home base at the Ham Lake Campground, you can head to St. Paul for a 75 minute walking tour of the neighborhood where F. Scott Fitzgerald spent most of his youth. Then, move on to Sauk Centre to visit the boyhood home of Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Providing an “up north” feel, yet only 30 miles from the Twin Cities, Ham Lake Campground is peaceful retreat with the comforts and conveniences book lovers crave.
Steinbeck Home and Restaurant and the Jack London State Historic Park
Start your California road trip with a tour of the stately Queen Anne-style Victorian where John Steinbeck spent his childhood. You can also enjoy an unforgettable meal in the gourmet restaurant that now occupies a portion of the Steinbeck home. Then, relax for a day or two at Morgan Hill RV Resort & Campground, surrounded by the inspirational rolling hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Finally, wrap up your trek by heading two hours north to the 1,400 acre Jack London State Historic Park which features trails, stunning vistas and historic buildings from the era when the famous writer and adventurer lived in the area.
The Ernest Hemmingway Home and Museum
Key West, Florida
“Papa” called the Spanish colonial at 917 Whitehead Street in Old Town Key West home for 10 years. Today, in this National Historic Landmark, you’ll still find many personal touches added by Hemmingway and his wife. After your tour, take a 30 minute cruise to Sugar Loaf Key/Key West KOA perfectly located between the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean to round out your Keys excursion. Featuring the largest tent camping area in the Florida Keys in addition to RV spots and cabins, this campground will keep the entire family occupied from sun up to sun down.