High Value Travel: Literary Encounters

In the last few years tour guides in London have hopped on to the Harry Potter popularity wagon and offered tours to the locations mentioned in the books that actually exist in London, or locations where the films were made.              

The concept of tours of fictional locations is not new. On my first visit to London my mom and I took an inexpensive walking tour to visit “Dicken’s London” and, among other things, walked down a street that had retained such authenticity of the era that it was used in the Patrick Stewart’s A Christmas Carol movie. 

A visit to Number 221B Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes, was on Graham’s list of “want to see” when I was planning our last trip to London.  Tours are also offered where you can see places mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes books and there is also a pub where you can enjoy a pint and a meal.

There are real places tied to books or authors that might catch your interest if you are a reader. 

Mark Twain, one of America’s favorite authors, grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. His childhood home is a museum and a visit is a lot of fun. The home he built in Hartford, Connecticut was where he was living when he wrote Huckleberry Finn and is located on the Nook Farm, where you can also visit the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe.   

I first read Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in high school, and assume it is still a required read as it was one of the first pieces of literature produced for the masses. Not only can you visit the Canterbury Cathedral, the destination of the travelers, but a group in Canterbury has taken a decommissioned church and made it into a marvelous museum depicting some of the tales.  This really bring what had been a somewhat tedious high school assignment to life, and it is a hoot—I finally got the amazing humor. With headsets offered in about six languages, this museum is  really worth an hour of your time should you be visiting this portion of Great Britain. 

Called “America’s Shakespeare,” Edgar Allan Poe created or mastered the short story, detective fiction, science fiction, lyric poetry and the horror story. His dark genius has invited children and adults to read and love literature for over 150 years. If you are an Edgar Allen Poe fan you will enjoy the museum in Richmond. 

Visitors to Copenhagen often are disappointed to discover that the Little Mermaid statue is located in a busy, industrial harbor. Perhaps a visit to the childhood home of Hans Christian Anderson in Odensk will be more fun.




                                              Introduced to The Legend of Sleepy 

Hollow and Rip Van Winkle in elementary school, the author Washington Irving is one who intrigued me. Irving wrote more than just short stories. His work included essays, poetry, travel writing, and biography; and for his works, he achieved international recognition and acclaim. Sunnyside, the cottage where he lived after his travels, is located in Irvington, New York. Near Tarrytown, this Hudson River Valley town is accessible both by train as well as day cruise from New York City.


Ernest Hemingway is another one of America’s finest authors. His home inKey West was the location where he lived and wrote for over ten years. It is open to the public and is also available for weddings. Hemmingway spent a lot of time in the 40s in Havana.His home, Finca Vigia, received over 40,000 visitors a year.  In between the wars Hemingway lived in Paris and many of his haunts are accessible, albeit a bit pricey compared to similar places to eat or drink nearby. But think, you can go sit at Harry’s Bar and say you are communing with Hemingway’s ghost…or some such nonsense. It sounds so much more refined than saying you are going to go drink at the corner bar.

 In Paris, a special private tour of the places that Hemingway frequented can be arranged with Context Travel. There, a tour docent who specializes in 20th Century American Literature can take you to places in Paris that are meaningful. Two hours for 240 euros.

Literature, like sports or any other interest, can be incorporated into your vacation planning if it is a subject that gives you pleasure

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2 Responses to High Value Travel: Literary Encounters

  1. Kongo says:

    Some great ideas here!

  2. The whole point of custom trip planning is to include something you really enjoy, some passion or hobby or plan to tick off one similar type of experience where ever you go…if you are a reader and you have a favorite author, you can find a tour somewhere related to that author or the fictional character.
    On another note, it was a hoot watching my husband and the other Sherlock Holmes fans act so reverently, as if they were in a shrine, at 221B Baker Street. I reminded him that he was celebrating the fictional character, not the man who actually wrote the deductive sleuthing. LOL

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