Besides visiting museums and galleries dedicated to books, authors, and illustrators, we can make literary pilgramages to the places where these writers and artists drew their inspirations. And we can take in the landscapes, homes, and natural worlds of the characters we love. Jason Clampet, (senior online editor for Frommers.com) calls it literary toursim: “It’s the idea that you can walk the same streets as a character you love. Some book lovers will go to great distances to follow in a favorite character’s footsteps or see first-hand the beautiful scenery splashed across the big screen. Literary tourism, which could include a pilgrimage to a beloved author’s birthplace or a visit to a fictional character’s haunts, attracts visitors the world over.”
We love the idea of a literary vacation. And we’ve brainstormed a few ideas. We hope this short list jumpstarts your thinking for your upcoming trips–or places closer to home. Let us know your ideas–and of course we’ll be sharing more of our favorite new literary vacation spots as well.
We start out close to home. We happen to live a few blocks from Ramona Street, and Molly and Jacob noticed the street sign this summer. A great connection to Ramona the Brave, a bedtime book they had enjoyed as a family readaloud. We were tickled to let them know this is the hometown of author Beverly Cleary and the the homeplace of that Ramona! (not to mention Henry Huggins and Beezus). A trip to Klickitat Street near Cleary’s former home was in order! We also jaunted over to Grant Park and played with the water fountains and statues of Ramona and other Beverly Cleary characters.
Lucy Maud Montgomery penned the classic tale of the little red-haired orphan. If you are up for a literary adventure on Prince Edward Island National Park, you can visit the gabled house that inspired the setting. While you’re here, don’t miss the Site of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home, where relatives of the author, John and Jennie Macneill, still reside and offer guided tours of the grounds. Visitors also have the opportunity to purchase books from their bookstore. We’re told it’s like stepping into the story to visit Avonlea Village, a recreation of the time and type of rural community where Anne lived. June might be the perfect time to visit–and check out the L.M. Montgomery Summer Institute!
Make Way for Ducklings in Boston, Massachusetts
Robert McCloskey’s books are all treasured by our family, and give us A Taste of Home. With its setting in mid-20th century Boston Gardens, it has been a hit with several generations in our family. If you are in Boston, you’ll want to (re)read the classic tale of little ducklings in a busy city, and visit this Caldecott-winning picture book’s special environment. We especially recommend the Boston Gardens swan boats and the sculpture of the famous ducks!
Stay tuned for more Literacy Vacation suggestions. Please let us know if there is a special author you’d liked to pay tribute to with a family trip. We love researching possibilities!