Top 10 Literary Vacations #ShelfLove

ACK! I have been doing horribly at the #ShelfLove Challenge to read books from my own shelves… but then again, I’ve also been failing miserably at reading books in general. Life has gotten really busy, and book writing has taken precedence over book reading, at the moment.

Still, I like their theme for May, which is “Summer Vacation,” so here (in no particular order) are my Top 10 Literary Vacations!

(1) London, England: The Sherlock Holmes Museum

Who hasn’t wanted to jump into the pages of a Sherlock Holmes mystery and solve it themselves? Now you can visit 221B Baker Street and see the world’s most famous (and only) consulting detective’s flat for yourself at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

"Sherlock Holmes Musem" by Flickr user Kate
“Sherlock Holmes Musem” by Flickr user Kate

(2) Baltimore, Maryland: Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum (and grave)

As a member of the Poe Level of this year’s 365K Club challenge, it’s only natural that I’d want to visit the dark and dreary author’s home and museum. And, of course, who wouldn’t want to run into the mysterious Poe Toaster and raise a glass to the legend at his grave site? If you’re into dark, brooding, gothic literature, mysteries or psychological horror, then Poe’s the author for you.

"Edgar Allan Poe Grave Marker" image by Flickr user Ray Pennisi
“Edgar Allan Poe Grave Marker” image by Flickr user Ray Pennisi

(3) New York, New York: Multiple literary sites (and sights)

Though I’ve previously lived in NYC, I’ve never actually checked out most of the city’s literary attractions (except, of course, for the public library)! Here are just a few:

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  • The Algonquin Hotel – featuring the famous Round Table where Dorothy Parker and pals gathered for lunch
  • The Library Hotel – which
  • Dorothy Parker Walking Tours – led by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, head of the Dorothy Parker Society
  • Central Park Literary Walk – featuring statues of famous authors, including William Shakespeare and Scottish authors Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott
  • New York Public Library – though the city has many branch libraries, the most famous is named the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and is considered the “main branch”; you’ve likely seen it in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Ghostbusters (Random Trivia: the lion statues outside are named Patience and Fortitude!)


(4) Indianapolis, Indiana: Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

Being a library nerd and a Vonnegut fan, I’d love to visit the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library… even if it is located in Indianapolis.

Kurt Vonnegut's typewriter, image by Flickr user Dustin Batt
Kurt Vonnegut’s typewriter, image by Flickr user Dustin Batt

(5) Parcines, Italy: Peter Mitterhofer Typewriter Museum

I’m a sucker for typewriters, so the Peter Mitterhofer Typewriter Museum in Italy is definitely on my To Do list. How can you resist visiting a place totally dedicated to this fine, writerly machinery?! (You can also take a virtual tour on the museum’s website.)

My own Royal Quiet DeLuxe typewriter.
My own Royal Quiet DeLuxe typewriter.

(6) Buenos Aires, Argentina: City of Borges

I’ve never been to South America, but I figure Jorge Luis Borges’ Buenos Aires would be a great place to start. Here’s a New York Times article with a great summary of what to see and do there.

Also, how can you not want to visit this amazing bookstore?

"El Ateneo Bookstore - Buenos Aires" image by Flickr user Mark A Paulda
“El Ateneo Bookstore – Buenos Aires” image by Flickr user Mark A Paulda

(7) Yarmouth Port, MA: Edward Gorey House

Kooky, creepy and altogether original, Edward Gorey is definitely one of my favorite authors and artists. So visiting the Edward Gorey House is on my Bucket List.

Plus, you know they’ve got a sense of humor when a visitor can snap a photo like this:

"Edward Gorey House" image by Flickr user Amy Meredith
“Edward Gorey House” image by Flickr user Amy Meredith

(8) Chicago, Illinois: Poetry Foundation

As detailed in my A to Z post, the Poetry Foundation is another place I’d love to visit – both for the fantastic library and for the many literary events held there.

"Poetry Foundation Library" image by Flickr user Steven Vance
“Poetry Foundation Library” image by Flickr user Steven Vance

(9) Springfield, Massachusetts: The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum (coming soon!) and Sculpture Garden

Springfield, Massachusetts is currently home to the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden, but they’ve also got a museum in the works as well. The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum is scheduled to open sometime in 2016 in the writer’s hometown. And even though, technically, most of his books were written here in San Diego (he lived in La Jolla), I’m curious to see what the museum will hold!

"Dr. Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden" image by Flickr user Al
“Dr. Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden” image by Flickr user Al

(10) Bath, England: Reading Spa

I loved this concept of the “reading spa,” which I recently discovered in an article about the city of Bath (which I have managed to misplace, hence the missing link). Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights offers a one-on-one chat with one of their booksellers in the “Bibliotherapy Room,” complete with tea or coffee and cake, and a personalized selection of books to suit your reading needs. How cool is that? And why don’t all booksellers offer this kind of personal attention? I’m sure this would help drive up sales in any indie shop, and I’d certainly want to eat cake with a knowledgeable bookseller. Given that so many rely on their computer’s ability to locate books these days, that kind of personal touch is really fantastic. (Oh, and if you’re a Jane Austen fan, you’ll also want to visit Bath for their Jane Austen Festival!)

The "Reading Spa Room" at Mr. B's
The “Reading Spa Room” at Mr. B’s


Many of the Literary Travel tours appeal to me, so if you’ve been wondering what to get for my birthday, I’m up for a getaway!

Where would YOU go on vacation?

Got a literary destination you’d like to visit? Let me know the sights you’re most excited to see!


  • Carolyn Astfalk

    I would love to go to the Edgar Alan Poe house, which is in driving distance of me. Don’t know why I haven’t forced the rest of the family into making that trip yet. I’d also love to visit all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder historical sites, which are definitely not in driving distance.

  • JazzFeathers

    I LOVE this article! Well, I should know that there are many places around the world edicated to authors and theri world… and even to readers, the reading spa is such a cool idea! But seeing so many gathered up in one post is kind of exciting.
    The only one I visited is Sherlock Holme’s house. It was such a cool experience.

    Thanks so much for sharing :-)