The Top 5 Places this Book Nerd Would Love to Visit

Photo courtesy of Dariusz Sankowski, pixabay

I wrote this post for another site (Book Cave) that published it last week, but I’m going to share it here, too, because I’m hoping that you’ll all chime in with your favorite bookish destinations.

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A lot of people don’t like the phrase “bucket list,” but most of us have them. I like to think of mine as a Lifelong To-Do List. My list includes things like learning Greek, visiting Turkey, and taking a cooking class in Italy.

My list is a mile long and includes lots of other things, too, but because I’m a card-carrying Book Nerd (and I suspect some of you are, too), there’s a special subset of my list that I want to share with you today: Bookish Things. This subset doesn’t consist merely of travel to famous bookish places, but also includes things like relearning stories from Greek and Roman mythology (have you noticed a Mediterranean bent to my lists?), writing a piece for a national newspaper, and finishing every single book on my Kindle.

But the Bookish Things I want to share with you today are all travel-related, since in this time of pandemic, most of us can only dream about traveling. And what better way to daydream than to imagine myself in the most fascinating bookish places in the world?

With that, I present you with the top five places on my Book Nerd bucket list.

 

Hay-on-Wye

This village in Wales, population about 1500, sits on the border with England and is home to over twenty bookshops devoted to all manner of literary niches. And traditional bookshops aren’t the only attractions: there are also a number of honesty bookshops, which are simply shelves and shelves of outdoor “shops” with a cash box nearby. Readers are asked to put their money in the cash box before walking off with a book. There are even honesty bookshelves lining the wall of one of the castles in town. Yes, there’s more than one castle in Hay-on-Wye.

There’s something about browsing shelves of real books for hours on end that I find really appealing, especially at a time when so many brick-and-mortar bookstores are closing. And there’s even a store called Murder & Mayhem, which is devoted to the kinds of books I love best. I can see myself spending way too much time (and money) in there.

Hay-on-Wye is also renowned for its annual literary festival (cancelled this year), which takes place for almost two weeks in May and June and which Bill Clinton has referred to as “Woodstock for the mind.” I hear that the town’s population skyrockets to about 500,000 during the festival.

If you want to know more about Hay-on-Wye, I suggest these two websites: https://www.solosophie.com/hay-on-wye-book-town-wales-guide/ and http://www.hay-on-wye.co.uk/.

 

Jane Austen’s House

This museum is located in Chawton, Hampshire, England. It’s the place where Jane Austen spent most of the last eight years of her life and the place where she penned Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, among others.

The collection at Jane Austen’s House includes the legendary author’s writing desk, some furniture, personal letters, and her jewelry, among many other things. Visitors can wander through her house and garden, which I think would be enchanting.

Want to add this place to your list of Bookish Things to Do? Visit https://janeaustens.house/explore/the-museum/ to find out more.

 

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

This museum, located in Key West, Florida, USA, is the place Ernest Hemingway called home for ten years. He lived in the home during one of the most prolific periods of his writing life.

The museum is also home to many descendants of the cats who lived in the home during Hemingway’s time there.

If you think this is a place you’d like to visit, click on the link to see the website. https://www.hemingwayhome.com/.

 

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Road Trip

As a devotee of Laura Ingalls Wilder from childhood, I would love to tour the places where she lived and which served as inspiration for her Little House on the Prairie series. From Silver Creek to Walnut Grove and well beyond, visitors can see where she lived (in some places, only replicas are available, but that’s okay with me) and played and farmed and taught.

Here are a couple websites you might find interesting: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/08/12/bcst-thread-books-laura-ingalls-wilder-road-trip, https://midwestweekends.com/plan_a_trip/history_heritage/ingalls_wilder/laura_ingalls_wilder_sites.html, and http://littlehouseontheprairie.com/historic-locations-and-museum-sites/.

 

The Mark Twain House and Museum

Located in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, this is the place where Mark Twain lived with his family from 1874 to 1891, when financial woes forced them to move to Europe. The house is a breathtaking example of American Gothic architecture, and it would be fun to tour for that reason alone. But to walk where Twain walked, to peek into the rooms where he laughed and wrote, would be a special treat.

If you’re a writer, the Mark Twain House and Museum also has classes, workshops, and a Writers Weekend. How cool would that be?!

To learn more about the house and museum, head to the website at https://marktwainhouse.org/. And you can even take a virtual tour by visiting this page: https://marktwainhouse.org/about/the-house/virtual-tour/.

Now it’s your turn. What’s on your Lifelong To-Do List of Bookish Things? Have you visited any of the places on my list? I’d love to hear about it!

Until next time,

Amy

10 comments on “The Top 5 Places this Book Nerd Would Love to Visit

  1. Jenny says:

    Love your list – it inspires me to make one! Now that I have lived in three states that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in (yes, she did have a brief stint in FL!), I would love to do a complete tour of all the LIW places. I’ve only visited Burr Oak, IA (and she did not include that time in her children’s books).

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    • amreade says:

      I think at least one of the links I included did mention her time in Florida. It seems surprising, given that she spent the rest of her life in the Midwest, but it makes an interesting detour on the road trip! I would just love to see the places where she grew up and where she lived as an adult. Hope your Fourth was happy and safe!!

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  2. dgkaye says:

    That’s quite a lovely literary trip Amy. I hope you get to them all 🙂 x

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  3. Darlene says:

    What a great list! I hope you gte to visit all of these places. I have visited Jane Austen’s cottage and it is amazing. I wrote an article about it to whet your appetite. http://www.travelthruhistory.com/html/art58.html

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    • amreade says:

      Wow! I’m heading over there to read the post now. Thanks, Darlene!

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    • amreade says:

      Darlene, I loved that!! I’ve bookmarked it for future reference and emailed it to myself so I can put it in my “Europe to-do” folder. I loved the photos—how amazing that you could travel through England by motorcycle! It was so sweet of your husband to take you there. Thanks for sharing it!

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  4. Pat Wahler says:

    I’ve been to the Hemingway House and it is fabulous. Key West is rather fabulous too. 🙂

    Years ago, I volunteered in animal rescue. Occasionally we’d get in a polydactyl (extra toes) cat, which is a characteristic of Hemingway’s favorite cats. Shelter staff often referred a polydactyl cat as a Hemingway.

    The Twain house looks amazing.It’s definitely on my list!

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    • amreade says:

      I loved Key West when I visited, but we couldn’t go into the museum because my eldest, who was 18 months old at the time, got sunscreen in her eye and screamed all day long (despite every imaginable effort to rinse out her eye). I didn’t want to risk ruining the experience of all the other visitors with an upset little one. Aren’t those cats cool with their many toes??

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