I just love visiting author’s homes on my travels. From seeing Pushkin’s house in Chisinau to seeing where Margaret Mitchell penned Gone With the Wind in Atlanta, some of my favorite travel memories are seeing the homes of famous writers. Here are some of the best houses of famous authors that you can actually visit in real life!
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Why Visit Homes of Famous Writers?
Humans have always loved to express themselves in different ways. Amongst these universal forms of expression, writing is one of the most profound. Therefore, many people have devoted their lives to this form of art and became professional essay writers, poets, novelists, etc.
Anna Quindlen said, “Books are the plane, the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home.” That is what some writers do for you: they take you on a journey, then create a home for you.
But these writers had real homes, and comparing what their work is with the environment they worked in while producing it can shed new light on what you’ve read. These houses also share stories and biographical information about the author that help bring their words to life.
Now, for some writers, their homes are their sanctuaries. Therefore, if you want to see what it is like inside their heads, you may want to visit their homes. For others, these houses serve as sources of inspiration. Many have stopped by famous writers’ homes when they hit a plateau while writing a movie script or novel. They claim it helped them get out of the funk they were in.
Of course, not every writer has their houses out to the public, but some do. If you are excited to learn about some of these famous writers’ homes but can’t visit them, you’ve come to the right place. This article will give you insight into some of the best houses belonging to our beloved writers. So let’s get right to it!
Houses of Famous Authors that You Can Visit
In no particular order…
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Ernest Hemingway was a writer who, for some reason, did not like long sentences. His most famous works are The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises. His home is always open to visitors as it is now a museum.
This beautiful building in Florida in the United States used to be his home in the 1930s. If you love cats, you will find some in his house too. There is a garden, a pool, and some old, beautiful Spanish furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries. It was a lovely place and is now a museum for anyone to tour and experience a piece of history.
The Mark Twain Home and Museum
If you know of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, you likely appreciate the literary genius that is Mark Twain. He lived in Hartford, Connecticut, and even though he has long passed away, his house still stands.
In fact, ‘still stands’ is far from the proper description of this house. It is in excellent shape considering that it was built in 1874. The architecture of the building embodies the breathtaking Victorian gothic style. The house is currently a museum, although it was a school and a library before. Until recently, it was open to the public for free. Now, one has to buy a ticket to visit the museum.
Jane Austen’s House
Jane Austen was the author of the popular novel Pride and Prejudice and, like many other writers in her day, she wrote from the comfort of her home. During her life, she lived in a quaint cottage in Chawton, England. The house is made of red bricks with white doors and windows, beautifully accentuating its simple design.
Today, the house is a museum, and it is open for public visits for moderate fees. Something about the cottage will remind you of a storybook once you see it. That comes as no surprise as it once housed the great Jane Austen.
Anne Frank House
The history of Anne Frank will remain with us forever. We may have never known what happened to her had she not made notes in her diary. Today, there is a biographical museum instead of what used to be the home where she and her family hid from the Nazis in 1942.
This residence is located in Central Amsterdam, Netherlands. She lived there with her family before ending up in a concentration camp where she died. It is not a spectacular building, but it holds memories and stories worthy of listening to in this place.
The Boathouse of Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas was a remarkable poet and writer in his time. He wrote the famous poem Do not go gentle into that good night. Thomas had a boathouse in Wales but did not live there most of the time.
However, when he did stay there, he took to writing masterpieces. He had a little writing shed above the boathouse where he penned his beautiful verses. His family always visited the boathouse to soak in some of his memories, and you can do so too.
The Home of John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck is the author of The Grapes of Wrath. He wrote this novel in his house in California where he was born and raised. John’s house has an almost futuristic design as for a dwelling built in the 1800s. It is a great place to visit as it is a museum and restaurant today. A small gift shop is a part of the building you can visit too if you want to take some souvenirs with you.
The Home of Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov wrote the extremely controversial book, Lolita. He was a renowned Russian author and his house is still a center of attraction in the country. The most remarkable thing about this building is that historians and architects have painstakingly recreated its library and dining room. They did this restoration to ensure that tourists see items from Vladimir’s childhood once they visit the house.
The Kilns AKA The Home of C.S Lewis
If you ever saw the Chronicles of Narnia or read the books, you know that the author. C.S Lewis was a brilliant fantasy writer, and his work has transcended time. His house in the heart of England isn’t open to all. This restriction takes place due to his family’s desire to preserve his home’s memory and sanctity. To visit Lewis’ house, you need to book an appointment ahead of your visit, but it’s worth it!
The Home of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel Marcia Marquez, who wrote Love in the Time of Cholera, died in 2014. His house in Carthagena, Colombia has already been converted into a museum, even though he died not long ago. There is a beautiful storybook-like garden surrounding the property. It is a building that can inspire writers to remain steadfast in their craft.
Karen Blixen Museum
Karen Blixen wrote the book Out of Africa. In the book, she gave details about the seventeen years she spent in Kenya. The memoir was later adapted into a film.You will appreciate the residence better when you visit it in Kenya. The house also functions as a coffee farm, so if you have never seen coffee in its raw state, this is an excellent opportunity to tackle two bucket list items at once!
The Langston Hughes House
Langston Hugues was an activist, a poet, and a famous writer of the Harlem Renaissance. He lived and worked for 20 years from the rowhouse on 20 East 127th Street, Manhattan. It is a concrete building with ivy forming growing up the walls.
Alexander Wilson built the property in 1869, but then I, Too, Arts Collective leased it in 2016. The organization runs a nonprofit and still makes efforts to preserve the house while keeping it open. People can visit the house’s living room and see Hughes’s typewriter, one of the most important Langston Hughes artifacts left in the house.
The Home of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If you ever read the autobiography of Goethe, you will already be familiar with this house. It was the home he was born and raised in, and it was also a place where he wrote some of his celebrated works. Unfortunately, von Goethe’s original home in Frankfurt was destroyed during the second world war. The structure that stands today is a replica that was rebuilt after. The Goethe Museum stands right beside it.
The Home of Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for literature, which was awarded to her in 1921. Her home lies among the Berkshire mountains, which probably earned it “The Mount” nickname. Wharton lived with her husband for ten years and wrote some of her works there. The house is decorated with a beautiful garden, as Wharton was also an accomplished gardener.
Max Gate, the Home of Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy was more than a brilliant writer; he was also an architect. He designed this house called Max Gate from scratch. Knowing that your favorite writer designed his house makes the visiting experience all the better. Because while walking where the great Hardy walked, you also get to stand in the place he created for himself. Historians say he walked around the property to draw inspiration for his works.
Thomas Hardy’s Second Home
For writers like Thomas Hardy, having one source of inspiration, even though it was a personally designed mini-mansion, was not enough. Hardy also had a cottage in Wessex that seems to have fallen right out of a storybook. Lush vegetation, grass, and flowers surround this country home. While being there, the ambiance that its greenery brings will help any writer or tourist clear their heads.
Agatha Christie’s Greenway House
Agatha Christie is one of the people who delivered some of the best mystery books to us. The movie adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express drew inspiration from her novel of the same name. She wrote sixty-seven detective novels and her mind was a labyrinth of exciting ideas.
She also bought a house called The Greenway when it came on the market. According to her, she had loved the place since she was a child. Maybe the home was her muse for many of her exciting crime thrillers – who knows?
Which Writer’s Home will You Visit?
Being in a writer’s home is like being inside their head, especially if they created most of their works there. If you are lucky, you may see the chairs and tables that held their backs during their eureka moments. Everything in these writers’ homes tells a beautiful story – a story you would rather feel instead of hearing. So, if you ever get the chance to visit any of these houses, grab it with both hands.