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Holidays in St. Louis

For bibliophiles, these literary-inspired spots can be the perfect muse for a thoughtful getaway.

Follow in the footsteps of famous authors and their fictional characters as you travel to these literary-inspired spots. From historical homes you can tour to book-themed restaurants you can dine in, read on for some novel getaway suggestions.


Above: The Sazerac is one of the legendary drinks on the menu at The Carousel Bar and Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone, one of Truman Capote’s haunts. iStock.com

Below: From Mark Twain’s home and museum in Hartford, Conn. iStock.com


Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
Key West, Fla.

Lush palm trees, resident six-toed cats, and Key West’s first in-ground swimming pool – this AAA GEM® attraction is a must-see for more reasons than just its storied resident. Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway lived in this Spanish Colonial-style villa between 1931 and 1940, penning For Whom the Bell Tolls and other well-known works in a second-story writing studio.

Plan your visit to coincide with Hemingway’s birthday (July 21) and you’ll be just in time for the Hemingway Days Festival, which includes literary workshops, fishing tournaments, and even a look-alike contest for bearded men.

Hotel Monteleone
New Orleans, La.

A favorite French Quarter haunt of William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Tennessee Williams, this historical AAA Four Diamond hotel boasts rooms named after literary greats. After a stay in the Truman Capote Suite, enjoy a classic cocktail at the downstairs Carousel Bar & Lounge where Capote is said to have spent time. You’ll see how the Carousel Bar got its name, too — the 25-seat revolving bar is the only one of its kind in the city.

The House of the Seven Gables
Salem, Mass.

Tour the 1668 Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, said to be the inspiration for the mysterious home described in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 Gothic romance novel The House of Seven Gables. After exploring the mansion — painstakingly restored and furnished to match the fictional home — soak up views of Salem Harbor from the adjoining seaside gardens. The author’s birthplace house is also on the grounds and open for tours.

John’s Grill
San Francisco, Calif.

Dashiell Hammett used this classic San Francisco steakhouse as a setting in his 1930 detective novel The Maltese Falcon. Present-day patrons will enjoy a trip back in time at the AAA Two Diamond restaurant, tastefully decorated with oak-paneled walls, period furnishings, black-and-white photographs of celebrity patrons and — of course — a replica of the falcon statue. The menu even includes Sam Spade’s Lamb Chops, a nod to the dish ordered by the fictional private eye in Hammett’s story.

Library Hotel
New York, N.Y.

Just one block from the New York Public Library, the AAA Three Diamond Library Hotel is a haven for bibliophiles. A unique Dewey Decimal theme prevails, with each floor dedicated to one of the system’s 10 categories and guest rooms stocked with a mini-library of coordinating books. The theme continues in a 24/7 Reading Room and the rooftop Writer’s Den, which serves literary-inspired cocktails after dark.

Mark Twain House & Museum
Hartford, Conn.

Explore the 25-room Victorian Gothic mansion where Mark Twain, née Samuel Clemens, wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and other famous works. Designed and built as a dream home for Twain and his young family, this AAA GEM® attraction features intricate wood carvings and original furnishings. An adjoining museum provides plenty of rare manuscripts, photographs, and in-depth exhibits to satisfy hard-core Twain fans.

His boyhood home in Hannibal, Mo., (see related sidebar) also draws fans from around the globe.

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
Hannibal, Mo.

Samuel Clemens’ (Mark Twain) formidable years were spent in northern Missouri, especially in the Mississippi River town of Hannibal. He and his family relocated from tiny Florida, Mo., where he was born, to Hannibal in 1839. They moved into the house known as the boyhood home in 1843–44. Admission to the home and the museum down the street are packaged for visitors.
The writer last visited Hannibal in 1902 after a stop in St. Louis to help dedicate the Eugene Field House Museum.

The Plaza Hotel
New York, N.Y.

This AAA Four Diamond hotel makes an appearance in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and served as the real-life setting for Truman Capote’s lavish Black and White Ball following the success of his 1966 novel In Cold Blood and honoring Katharine Graham, then-owner of the Washington Post and Newsweek.

Today, guests traveling with children will be delighted by the Eloise Suite, a room decorated in the whimsical and incredibly pink style of Eloise, the famed children’s book character who fictionally resides at The Plaza.

Poe’s Tavern
Sullivan’s Island, S.C.

This Edgar Allen Poe-themed beach pub is well loved for its laid-back vibe, local brews, and tasty burgers with creative names like the “Tell-Tale Heart” and “Annabel Lee.” While Poe himself never dined here, the tavern is close to Fort Moultrie, where Poe was stationed 1827–28 while serving in the Army. Dine on the outdoor patio and you can look out over the landscape that inspired several of Poe’s short stories including “The Gold Bug.”

While Sullivan Island’s pub is the original, two additional locations are in Florida and North Carolina.

Kathleen McPhee is development editor for AAA. She is based in Heathrow, Fla.

January/February 2017 Issue


To visit these literary spots, first stop by your nearest AAA service office for maps, reservations, TripTik® Travel Planners and TourBook® guides.

Order free information about Louisiana through the Free Travel Information Card found online.


Field Notes
Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum unveils expansion that offers more insight into the Field family’s enduring legacy.




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