“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
I like traveling and I’m a huge nerd. As much fun as I had when I spent a week in Bermuda, I had just as much fun (if not more) when I spent three days at Gettysburg last summer. Many of the places on my traveling bucket list are literary related. Either they’re where famous writers lived and/or wrote or they are places where my favorite literary scenes took place. I will never stop checking wardrobes to see if I can find my way to Narnia or hoping that a random looking glass will let me through to Wonderland.
Luckily, there are plenty of places that I can get to through more traditional means of transportation. Growing up in Massachusetts, I’ve been spoiled to have so many sites, bothliterary and historic, right in my backyard. I’m now setting out to visit and document as many of them as I can, and not just those in Massachusetts (though those will probably get done first and feature most prominently since my backyard is so conveniently located on the other side of the door).
First up, The Mount in Lenox MA, better known as Edith Wharton’s summer home of ten years. Designed and decorated largely by Wharton herself, her good friend Henry James was one of The Mount’s frequent guests. Falling into disrepair during the twentieth century, by the late 1990s interest in restoring the estate led to massive fundraising and by 2002 most of the large house and its extensive grounds had been repaired and renovated,bringing them back to the glory of a hundred years earlier.
The house and gardens are now open from May through October with a number of events and shows in the evenings during the summer. The Mount can be booked for weddings and other events as well. Some of the rooms, like Edith Wharton’s bedroom and library, have been refurbished with period furniture while others, many of the guest rooms upstairs included, contain exhibits about her life (especially the time she spent in France and her contributions to supporting the troops during the first world war). The wooded walk from the stables to the main house, aside from just being gorgeous, is also spotted with modern art sculptures. I could have spent the whole day wandering through the forest trails with their myrtle carpets and the sun streaming through the leaves.