Book Lovers: Add These Literary Landmarks to Your Bucket List

Courtesy of The Plaza Hotel
By AAA Travel Editor Katie McPhee
July 05, 2018
If a book-themed vacation sounds right up your alley, you’ll want to check out our recommendations for places to add to your literary tour itinerary. Read on to discover a few famous authors’ homes, literary landmarks, bookish spots and other things to see that are perfect for bibliophiles.
Exterior shot of Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West Florida
Courtesy of Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Key West, Florida
(305) 294-1136
Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway lived in this Spanish Colonial-style villa between 1931 and 1939, penning “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and other well-known works in a second-story writing studio. Plan your trip to coincide with Hemingway’s birthday (July 21st) and you’ll be just in time for the Hemingway Days Festival, one of the fun things to do at this destination which includes literary workshops, fishing tournaments and even a look-alike contest for bearded men.
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Exterior photo of Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans Louisiana
Courtesy of Hotel Monteleone
Hotel Monteleone
New Orleans, Louisiana
AAA Inspector Rating
(504) 523-3341
A favorite French Quarter haunt of William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, this historic AAA Four Diamond hotel boasts rooms named after many literary greats. After a stay in the “Truman Capote Suite,” enjoy a classic cocktail at the downstairs Carousel Bar & Lounge where Capote is said to have spent time. You’ll see how the Carousel Bar got its name, too—the 25-seat revolving bar is the only one of its kind in the city.
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Exterior photo of the House of Seven Gables in Salem Massachusetts
Courtesy of Destination Salem
The House of the Seven Gables
Salem, Massachusetts
(978) 744-0991
Tour the 1668 Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, said to be the inspiration for the mysterious home described in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 Gothic romance novel “The House of Seven Gables.” After exploring the mansion—painstakingly restored and furnished to match the fictional home—soak up views of Salem Harbor from the adjoining seaside gardens. The author’s birthplace house is also on the grounds and open for tours.
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Exterior shot of the front of John's Grill restaurant in San Francisco California
AAA/Thuyvi Gates
John's Grill
San Francisco, California
AAA Inspector Rating
(415) 986-3274
Dashiell Hammett used this classic San Francisco steakhouse as a setting in his 1930 detective novel “The Maltese Falcon.” Present-day patrons will enjoy a trip back in time at the AAA Two Diamond restaurant, tastefully decorated with oak-paneled walls, period furnishings, black-and-white photographs of celebrity patrons and—of course—a replica of the falcon statue. The menu even includes “Sam Spade’s Lamb Chops,” a nod to the dish ordered by the fictional private eye in Hammett’s story.
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Four glasses of martinis at a bar
Library Hotel
New York, New York
AAA Inspector Rating
(212) 983-4500
Just one block from the New York Public Library, the AAA Three Diamond Library Hotel is a haven for bibliophiles. A unique Dewey Decimal theme prevails, with each floor dedicated to one of the system’s 10 categories and guest rooms stocked with a mini-library of coordinating books. The theme continues in a 24/7 reading room and the rooftop Writer’s Den, which serves literary-inspired cocktails after dark. A visit or stay at this hotel is one of the recommended things for couples to do.
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Exterior photo of Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford Connecticut
Mark Twain House and Museum
Hartford, Connecticut
(860) 247-0998
Wondering what to do in Hartford? Explore the 25-room Victorian Gothic mansion where Mark Twain, née Samuel Clemens, wrote “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and other famous works. Designed and built as a dream home for Twain and his young family, this AAA GEM® attraction features intricate wood carvings and original furnishings. An adjoining museum provides plenty of rare manuscripts, photographs and in-depth exhibits to satisfy hard-core Twain fans.
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Books and Coffee
The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home
Lenox, Massachusetts
(413) 551-5111
Pick your favorite spot to curl up with a good book at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home, a 42-room Georgian-style mansion surrounded by immaculate gardens and peaceful walking trails. It was here that Wharton wrote “The House of Mirth” and entertained close friends (including fellow novelist Henry James). The beautifully restored house is open for literary events and tours; don’t miss a peek inside the cozy library containing Wharton’s personal collection of 2,600 books.
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Dining room photo of The Plaza Hotel in New York City
Courtesy of The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel
New York, New York
AAA Inspector Rating
(212) 759-3000
This AAA Four Diamond hotel makes an appearance in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and served as the real-life setting for Truman Capote’s lavish Black and White Ball celebrating the success of his 1966 novel “In Cold Blood.” Modern-day guests with children in tow will be delighted by the “Eloise” Suite, a room decorated in the whimsical—and incredibly pink—style of Eloise, the famed children’s book character who fictionally resides at The Plaza.
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Beer on top at a bar
Poe's Tavern
Sullivan'S Island, South Carolina
AAA Inspector Rating
(843) 883-0083
This Edgar Allen Poe-themed beach pub is well-loved for its laid-back vibe, local brews and tasty burgers with creative names like the “Tell-Tale Heart” and “Annabel Lee.” While Poe himself never dined here, the tavern is close to Fort Moultrie, where Poe was stationed 1827-28 while serving in the army. Dine on the outdoor patio and you can look out over the landscape that inspired several of Poe’s short stories including “The Gold Bug.”
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