Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum Key West, Florida Something about balmy Key West inspired Ernest Hemingway to enter the most prolific phase of his career. In 1931, he purchased this Spanish Colonial house, where he lived with his family until 1940. Tour his studio decorated with big game trophies and patrolled by forty polydactyl, or six-toed cats, descended from the pet a sea captain gave the author. hemingwayhome.com
Thomas Wolfe Memorial Asheville, North Carolina Larger-than-life in stature and genius, Thomas Wolfe’s personality looms over the site of the Old Kentucky Home boardinghouse once operated by his mother. (It was depicted as “Dixieland” in his 1929 novel Look Homeward, Angel). It’s also the starting point for the self-guided walking tour of Wolfe’s Asheville, which includes many structures mentioned in his books. wolfememorial.com
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park Hawthorne, Florida This “cracker”-style homestead, where Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings penned The Yearling and where fellow writer Zora Neale Hurston paid her a visit, has been restored with frontier authenticity. Docents offer tours in 1930s costume, and chickens and roosters still roam the orange tree–shaded yard. floridastateparks.org/park/Marjorie-Kinnan-Rawlings
Alex Haley House Museum and Interpretive Center Henning, Tennessee Tour Alex Haley’s boyhood home and view a full-sized replica of a slave ship. You can also watch an eighteen-minute documentary about the consciousness-raising phenomenon of Roots. Genealogy sessions assist visitors in tracing their own family trees, and a gift shop offers copies of Haley’s books. alexhaleymuseum.org
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Flat Rock, North Carolina This bucolic site in the mountains of western North Carolina preserves “Connemara,” the poet’s sprawling home and pastureland. His wife, Lillian, raised prize-winning dairy goats here, and you can still see her three breeds in the dairy barn. Visit on November 26 or December 17 for holiday storytelling and musical performances. nps.gov/carl/
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