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1. Hemingway Home and Museum

Key West, Florida

Hemingway House Key West
Wikimedia Commons

Ernest Hemingway moved to Key West (the southernmost point in the U.S. and only 90 miles off the coast of Cuba) in 1928, eventually finding his way to the French Colonial house on Whitehead Street where he wrote some of his most influential work.

In 1968, the house became an official National Historic Landmark. It’s also a literary landmark — tourists flock to his roost both to honor ‘Papa’ and to visit the six-toed cats who maintain their home there.

Because it’s privately owned, it’s difficult to get specific numbers on how much revenue the home/museum generates, but it’s been known as a significant contributor of tourism money since it opened.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the owners of the museum to lay off 30 employees, about half of their total staff.

But it’s withstood several hurricanes and the vagaries of time, so hopefully it can recuperate from that, too.

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2. Emily Dickinson Museum

Amherst, Massachusetts

Emily Dickinson
Wikimedia Commons

It seems that in the knot around Boston — both Amherst and Concord are less than 100 miles from the city — you can throw a book in any direction and hit a place where a legendary writer once lived. For example, Emerson bought his house in Concord in 1835, and Louisa May Alcott wrote “Little Women” in Concord’s Orchard House.

And of course, the “Homestead” in Amherst is where Emily Dickinson lived her mysterious life, writing the 1,800 poems that would only gain her acclaim after she died. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

The museum’s 2023 report said that it welcomed 6,321 visitors after its re-opening in August 2022, after two years of pandemic-related closures.

Tickets, which must be booked in advance, are $16 for adults, $13 for seniors, $10 for students, and free for people under 17.

3. Maison de Victor Hugo

Paris, France

Victor Hugo
Wikimedia Commons

Paris, which for centuries has been a magnet for writers, has countless destinations you’d want on your bucket list.

Take Café des Deux Magots in Saint Germain, which served the likes of Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

Or Shakespeare and Company, perhaps the most famous English-language bookshop in France, which offered beds to writers in exchange for volunteering around the shop.

The home of one of the most famous French writers of all time, Victor Hugo, at 6 Place des Vosges, is now a museum that takes visitors through the three stages of his writing life. The building, which has been restored to look pretty much the way it did in Hugo’s life, is decorated in art that he often created himself.

Admission to the permanent collections is free, and if you invest in a Paris Musées card, you get unlimited entry to temporary exhibitions for an entire year. Tickets must be reserved in advance.

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4. Jane Austen House

Hampshire, U.K.

Jane Austen House
Wikimedia Commons

Austen, the British writer who spent the last eight years of her life in this “cottage” in Hampshire, wrote and revised all six of her novels here — novels which became successful Hollywood movies over and over again, and inspired the Netflix series “Bridgerton”.

The house holds an enormous collection of Austen’s own belongings, and is a Grade I listed building and an accredited museum.

Its most recent charity report says that its total income ending in December 2021 was approximately $595,000 USD, while its total expenditure was about $624,000 USD. Adult tickets, which must be reserved in advance, are $16 USD.

5. Bronte Parsonage Museum

Haworth, U.K.

Bronte Parsonage House
Wikimedia Commons

If the northern moors have ever called to you, consider putting the Bronte Parsonage Museum on your itinerary.

Located in the village of Haworth, about 10 miles east of Lancashire, it’s where the talented Bronte sisters (Anne, Charlotte and Emily) grew up and where Emily Bronte wrote “Wuthering Heights”. Only Charlotte, through the publication of “Jane Eyre”, became famous in her lifetime.

Haworth was a chilly, northern, industrial village in the 1800s, and currently is home to less than 10,000 inhabitants.

While there are lots of other things to see in the area, the Bronte Museum remains one of its biggest tourist draws, attracting about 75,000 visitors each year. Tickets to the museum start around £12 (approximately $15 USD).

6. Mark Twain House

Hartford, Connecticut

Mark Twain House in Hartford
Wikimedia Commons

Mark Twain is often called one of America’s most influential writers, if not the most influential writer, and the Hartford home he and his wife moved into in 1874 is one of the area’s most beloved landmarks, welcoming approximately 100,000 visitors a year.

The house is 11,500 square feet spread over three floors, and among its 25 rooms are a conservatory, a library, and an impressive entranceway, where guests would have waited to be announced.

Interested tourists can also browse the grounds’ 11 gardens. The home also boasts a huge archive filled with thousands of Twain’s letters.

If you’d like to visit the home where Twain wrote “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, tickets must be reserved in advance. Each adult ticket costs $26.

7. The Plaza Hotel

New York City, New York

The Plaza
Shutterstock

This iconic hotel is the setting of both “The Great Gatsby” and “Eloise at the Plaza”.

The Plaza itself is instantly recognizable; a part-Gothic, part-Italian Renaissance-inflected castle that has featured in a number of movies, including “North by Northwest” and “Home Alone 2”.

It has been an important part of the city landscape since it opened its doors in 1907.

Truman Capote threw what was called “the party of the century” — his famed Black and White Ball — here in 1966. Part hotel and part condominium, The Plaza is one of only two NYC hotels (the other being the Waldorf-Astoria) to achieve National Historical Landmark status.

If you’d like to experience the Plaza’s afternoon tea, or perhaps drink evening cocktails like the Fitzgeralds, you can stop by The Palm Court, dressed to the nines.

Or, if you’d like to splurge on a room for a night or two, their deluxe king rooms start at around $1095 USD per night, along with a $65 “urban experience fee.”

8. Stanley Hotel

Estes Park, Colorado

Stanley Hotel Estes, Colorado
Wikimedia Commons

Of course the Stanley Hotel (which became indelibly linked with the horror genre after writer Stephen King stayed there and got inspired to write “The Shining”) has a resident apparitionist and hosts seances.

It also has a spa, a collection of single malts, and is five minutes away from the Rocky Mountain National Park.

A gorgeous, if goose-bump-inducing 140-room Georgian Revival building, it is nestled at the base of the Rockies, its red shingle roof glowing against the aspens, and capitalizes on its relationship with The Shining by offering different types of historical tours. If you’d like to stay overnight in one of the historical rooms, rates range from $285-$350 for dates in the springtime.

Tourism in Estes Park has kept things robust for the economy: in 2022, tourism contributed $3,270 per resident in income, and provided 3,100 jobs.

9. Sherlock Holmes Museum

London, U.K.

Sherlock Holmes Museum
Wikimedia Commons

If you love mysteries, and you’re visiting England, it’s “elementary, my dear Watson” that you’d want to visit 221B Baker Street, one of the most famous addresses in fiction.

According to his creator Arthur Conan Doyle, the incredibly observant detective Sherlock Holmes made his home at that address from 1881-1904. Today, the rooms of the building have been painstakingly restored to resemble Doyle’s descriptions.

Adult tickets to the museum cost £16 (about $20 USD), and visits start with a climb up the rickety staircase to Holmes’ and Watson’s study.

Once you’ve completed your visit (and been given a few extra white hairs from the life-like wax figures of Professor Moriarty) you can stop by the definitive gift shop on the first floor. Every year, 70,000 people visit the museum, spending on average 1-2 hours between the gift shop and the house itself.

10. Hotel Monteleone

New Orleans, Louisiana

Hotel Monteleone NOLA
Wikimedia Commons

Not only is New Orleans known as the birthplace of jazz, but one of its oldest hotels was irresistible to any writer within a ballpoint’s distance — Tennessee Williams, Hemingway, Anne Rice, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner all wrote here.

The hotel is tucked right into the French Quarter, a short block away from Bourbon Street. Beyond the luxury, it offers its guests a pool and spa services.

It has been owned by the same family since 1886, and is known as “the grande dame” of Royal Street, as well as being a literary landmark. You can book any number of suites named after their famous former occupants, or enjoy an apéritif at the Carousel Bar, which will literally, if slowly, spin you around the room. Staying in one of the traditional hotel rooms during the spring starts at around $360 a night.

11. The Steinbeck House

Salinas, California

John Steinbeck
Wikimedia Commons

Depression-era author John Steinbeck was born and grew up in this Victorian home, in the Californian beach town of Salinas. He wrote his first short stories here in high school, and it’s also where he drafted his first books, (“The Red Pony” and “Tortilla Flat”). The outside of the building even makes an appearance in his magnum opus, “East of Eden”.

The property was bought by a historical preservation society in 1973, and now hosts a restaurant and gift shop, both honoring Steinbeck; it’s two blocks away from the National Steinbeck Center.

Tickets to the museum are booked two weeks in advance and are available only in groups of 10 — each adult ticket costs about $10 USD.

12. Chateau Marmont

Los Angeles, California

Chateau Marmont
Wikimedia Commons

Yes, Hollywood is synonymous with movies and the actors who star in them, but the Chateau Marmont, which first opened its doors in 1927, has had quite the love affair with the written word, too.

The chateau, which is perched in the Hollywood Hills, was known as a Hollywood secrets-keeper. Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures during the Golden Age, used to tell his actors, “if you must get into trouble, go to the Marmont.”

Gore Vidal was a frequent visitor/resident, and according to Architectural Digest, he wrote his version of “Ben Hur” there. John Waters considers the Marmont to be “his lucky hotel”. Dorothy Parker stayed there when she lived in Los Angeles and contributed to screenplays.

To book a room for example in the month of May, prepare to shell out around $950 a night. Or you can make reservations for the restaurant, where you can see or be seen, but taking photos is strongly discouraged.

13. Algonquin Hotel

New York City, New York

Algonquin Hotel
Wikimedia Commons

The Algonquin is the oldest operating hotel in Manhattan, a triple AAA, Four Diamond Hotel (an exclusive designation only given to 4.2% of all hotels).

Besides its location, close to both Times Square and Fifth Avenue, it is of course known as the setting for the Algonquin Round Table, a “who’s who” of the New York writing scene that informally met for lunch every weekday during the 1920s and 1930s.

If you want a similar experience to the Round Table, you can order a drink or an appetizer at the in-house Blue Bar Restaurant and Lounge, or if you want to stay overnight, the lowest rate for a room starts at $459 a night for non-members.

The Algonquin, of course, also has been home to a series of resident cats. The most current “pawnarch” is a ginger tom named Hamlet.

14. The Writer’s Museum

Edinburgh, Scotland

The Writer's Museum
Wikimedia Commons

The Writer’s Museum keeps artifacts from three of Scotland’s most famous writers: Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Walter Scott. It is free to visit (although donations are welcome) and is housed in Lady Stair’s House in the Lawnmarket, on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Highlights of the historic collections include working manuscripts and first editions from the three authors, a printing press used to print Scott’s novel “Waverley”, a chair where Burns edited his work, and Stevenson’s flamboyant wardrobe.

Outside the museum is a public space called Makar’s Court, where each of the flagstones have been engraved, celebrating Scottish writers from the 14th century up until today.

Edinburgh is known for its vibrant arts and festival scenes, and at The Writer’s Museum, you can get to know three of the men who sparked it.

15. Oscar Wilde House

Dublin, Ireland

Oscar Wilde
Wikimedia Commons

Although Oscar is the Wilde we remember, he was born to famous parents: his mother, Lady Jane, was also known as the poet Speranza, and his father was Queen Victoria’s eye doctor. Their house on Merrion Square was known for over two decades for its popular salons, which Oscar was allowed to attend. He considered attending these salons one of his formative experiences.

This was where Oscar was educated for the first 10 years of his life.

Now, it is home to the American College in Dublin, which runs guided tours. The guided tours run about 90 minutes and cost €20 (about $22 USD). You can examine William Wilde’s surgical examination room, the sitting room and dining room, and more. From May to September, the house is also available for walk-in visits, which cost €12.

The Oscar Wilde House is a registered non-profit and a charitable organization — all of its funds are put towards restoration efforts.

16. Juliet’s House (Casa de Giulietta)

Verona, Italy

Casa de Giulietta
Wikimedia Commons

Weirdly, according to the Smithsonian magazine, Shakespeare never visited the town of Verona, where one of his most beloved romantic plays, “Romeo and Juliet”, takes place.

That doesn’t seem to deter the two million tourists who descend every year, many of whom want to see the 14th century Gothic castle known as “Juliet’s House”.

The castle was purchased from the Dal Cappello family by the City of Verona in 1905. While it is a romantic setting, tourists should not expect authenticity; the balcony from which Juliet made her famous speech was only added to the building in 1936, and Juliet’s bed comes from the 1968 movie.

The museum itself contains a collection of 14th century paintings and ceramics, along with a bronze statue of Juliet. A walking tour of Verona which includes the Casa de Giulietta, hosted by Viator, costs $91.77 per adult. If you just want to visit the museum itself, entry tickets start at €5.

17. Bran’s Castle

Brasov, Romania

Bran's Castle, Brasov Romania
Wikimedia Commons

The castle rises forbiddingly out of the northern Transylvanian Alps, its medieval stone face and tiny windows like spiteful eyes: You have just found yourself at Dracula’s alleged home — although admittedly, its connection to Vlad III is tenuous at best.

The castle was first constructed in the 1200s as a stronghold along the trade route at the Transylvanian border. It was, briefly, a Communist museum in the 1950s, and was returned to descendants of the royal family in 2009.

The castle itself is as mysterious as you might hope. Decorated with Medieval and traditional Romanian art, home to a secret passageway and a dungeon, it literally hosts the heart of one of its queens.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Bran’s castle every year. Tickets to the castle start at €11 in the off season, or €12 during the high season.

18. Anne Frank House

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anne Frank
Wikimedia Commons

Prinsengracht 263-267 is the address where Anne Frank hid with her family and four others in a secret annex from 1942-44, until their arrest. It’s where she kept her diary.

The house itself was built in the 17th century as a “canal house”, a narrow, multiple-story building. The annex where they hid is at the back of the house, not visible from the street, and has been open to the public as a museum since 1960. The museum aims to recreate the conditions that Anne would have lived in.

The museum has been part of a Dutch “funding lottery” since 2007 and relies on that, plus its ticket sales, to fund its preservation and education efforts.

Adult tickets are €16 ($17.50 USD) each. The website cautions that the museum is not terribly accessible, and requires advanced, online booking.

19. Edgar Allan Poe House

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Edgar Allan Poe
Wikimedia Commons

During his five years in Philadelphia, Poe lived in five different houses, but this national historic site, located on N 7th St, is the only one that is still standing.

Unlike others on this list, Poe rented this house — the year before he moved in, he had declared bankruptcy. It was more modest than he would have liked, although his tastes were expensive.

His “Philadelphia period” is considered his most prolific; this house is the site where he wrote two of his spookiest stories, “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat”. Historians have even preserved the loose floorboard that perhaps inspired “The Tell-Tale Heart”. The floorboard in question can be found on the third floor, in what was Poe’s mother-in-law’s room.

Admission to Poe’s former living quarters is free, and if you want to make it part of a day of sightseeing, it is within a stone’s throw of the Liberty Bell, the Mint, Independence Hall and the oldest residential street in the continental U.S.

20. Eudora Welty House

Jackson, Mississsippi

Eudora Welty House, Jackson MS
Wikimedia Commons

Welty is considered one of the most important Southern writers of the 20th century, known for her precise depictions of the Mississippi Delta where she grew up.

She spent 76 years of her life in the house on Pinehurst Street, and it’s been a historical landmark since 2004. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History keeps the interior of the home looking as though it’s 1986, when Welty was still writing and touring, and the Smithsonian calls it one of the most “intact” writer’s homes in the country.

House tours can be booked for $10 each adult ticket, or for free if the 13th of a given month falls on a day they are open. After you’ve gone through the house, you can see Welty's extensive gardens on your own time.

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Bronwyn Petry Email Specialist

Bronwyn is currently part of the email content team for Moneywise. Before starting here, they freelanced for several years, focusing on B2B content and technical copy. Pre-pandemic, you could find them planning their next trip, but lately, if they're not at work, you can find them hanging out with their cat and dog.

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