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Literary Tourism: 10 Must-Visit Destinations In America For Any Book-Loving Traveler

Have you picked up a book and gotten so invested in a great novel that it feels as though you're accompanying the character on their journeys? Now - for some of the most beloved, classic American tales, you actually can.

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From New York City to California, America has been the birthplace of so many influential literary minds. Whether you're a fan of the murder mystery, coming-of-age tales, or poetry, there's a spot for you to visit on your next literary trip. Grab your books and hop in your cars. We're taking a road trip to the 10 Must-Visit Destinations In America For Any Book-Loving Traveler

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10 The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site - Philadelphia, PA

Edgar Allan Poe, the American writer best known for his poem "The Raven," or his short story, "The Tell-Tale Heart," lived his life all across the East Coast of the United States, but if you're a literary lover and a Poe fan, we have a list of best "Poe" places you can visit.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Poe was never really fond of his hometown, and it was only until late in his life that he began to appreciate it as Boston began to claim the praised writer as one of their own. The best place to visit for any Poe fan is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There, you'll find the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site where Poe wrote most of his famous works.

9 Jack Kerouac's On The Road Trail - Cross country

The famous 1957 American novel, On The Road, written by Jack Kerouac tells the story of Kerouac's adventures with his friends as they traveled across the United States in the '50s. Considered a classic American story, the novel is a post-war commentary on the changing lifestyle of young America - and for all the On The Road lovers, you can actually go to all the places your favorite characters visit in the story.

In Chicago, Kerouac found it fascinating how the city was both representatives of "the east and the west," and you can walk through the streets to see what he felt. Back in the day, Denver, Colorado was also a major meeting point for beats and a place where Kerouac drew tons of inspiration from for his novel. From New York to San Francisco to New York City, you'll be able to follow the On The Road journey yourself, if you're down for a cross country trip.

8 The Mark Twain House and Museum - Hartford, CT

The Mark Twain House and Museum located in Hartford, CT is known as "A hosue with a heart and a soul," where its founders and staff make it their mission to keep an appreciation for the literary works of Mark Twain alive. With books such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Prince and The Pauper, Twain is known as an American writer who defined a generation of readers.

At the Mark Twain House and Museum was originally one of the places that Mark Twain lived in during his lifetime. In the time since its been a museum, it's designated as a National Historic Landmark.

7 John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row - Monterey, California

 

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer behind well-known stories like The Grapes of Wrath and Travels with Charley is John Steinbeck, one of America's most revered literary minds. Steinbeck's novel Cannery Row, however, is the one you can take with you as you go to visit his home town of Monterey, California.

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Set during the Great Depression, Cannery Row is a real place - a place that sparked Steinbeck's imagine for writing. One f his best and most widely read novels has now made Cannery Row one of the most famous streets in America.

6 Robert James Waller and the Cedar Covered Bridge - Madison County, Iowa

In The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller tells the story of an Italian-American woman who lives in Madison County, Iowa in the 1960s. In the novel, Cedar Bridge in real-life Madison County, Iowa is the location where Francesca Johnson meets Robert Kincaid and they begin their secret love affair.

The bridge itself is a beautiful landmark that stands out from the regular landscape of Iowa. Though burned down by arson in April of 2017, reconstruction on the bridge has been ongoing, and the county is looking forward to hosting the 2019 Covered Bridge Festival this October. Fans of Waller's work should have this location on their list!

5 The Grapes of Wrath Route 66 Roadtrip - Oaklahoma to California

If you're a fan of John Steinbeck, you've got another destination spot to add to your list. In his best-known novel, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck writes about Tom Joad, a man who travels from Oaklahoma west with his family, only to run into Americans with different backgrounds along the way.

For the ultimate Grapes of Wrath travel experience, you'll be able to road trip the entire way, taking Route 66 from the story's starting point in Salisaw, OK all the way to California. Just like the characters in the book, you can stop by Midpoint Cafe in Texas, Bakersfield, CA, and lastly Los Angeles.

4 Truman Capote's In Cold Blood Killers Journey - Barstow, CA

American novelist, short story writer, playwright, and actor, Truman Capote - the man behind beloved, classics such as Breakfast At Tiffany's, offers an escape route for Dick and Perry running away from the murder they committed in his most famous novel In Cold Blood.

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In the book, Dick and Perry take a bold trek across the mid-west. Though it might be a creepy trail to trace, fans who really love Capote and his writing might get a thrill from this adventurous route. The story starts off in Kansas City, but later the duo makes the rash decision to take a bus to Barstow, California.

3 Grand Central Station - New York City, NY

Whether you love it or hate it, The Catcher in the Rye is J.D. Salinger's most famous American novel. Taught in most American schools to students in junior high, the novel follows teenager Holden Caulfield as he critiques society's inconveniences and fakeness.

Towards the latter half of the novel, Holden visits Grand Central Station where he spends the night sleeping on a bench. He later finds himself walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City, as he makes the decision to never return home again. Being raised in Manhattan, Salinger's roots seep their way into his writing, and fans of the book can trace Holden's footsteps all across New York City.

2 The Outsiders House Museum - Tulsa, OK

Written by S.E. Hinton when she was just 16 years old, The Outsiders, which was first published in 1967 tells the coming-of-age story of a group of boys, who consider themselves brothers as they wrestle with class ideals in 1965 Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Made into a hit movie in 1983 starring Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, and C. Thomas Howell in 1983, the story won over the hearts of many movie-goers. For fans of the book and the movie, you'll be able to visit The Curtis house they used to film the movie. Located in Tulsa, OK, the Outsiders House Museum is a must-see for those who love the story of Ponyboy and his gang.

1 Where Stuart Little Raced His Boat - Central Park, NY

Though most people know Stuart Little because of the classic family movie about a talking mouse, it was actually a novel first. Written and published in 1945 by American children's novelist E. B. White, Stuart Little is a story that has sparked imagination in children for generations.

In the novel, Stuart Little participates in a boat race in New York City. Fans of the film and the novel will be thrilled to know that you can actually visit this location! It's Conservatory Water in Central Park, New York City. Here, you'll also find a statue of Hans Christian Andersen, another beloved children's literature writer.

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