Edith Wharton The Mount

Looking up the back stairs toward the terrace at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s estate in the Berkshire Mountains. Photo©NovelDestinations

Summer is an exciting time in the literary travel world. Some author houses are only open seasonally during the warm weather, while at others, gardens are in bloom and special events abound. Here are some of the storied happenings taking place in the coming months.

Parlez-vous français?
Enjoy a morning chat with other French speakers at Edith Wharton’s estate, The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts. The conversation sessions, which honor her love for France, where she lived for many years, take place on the terrace overlooking the gardens. Attendance is $15, and spots must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance. Thursdays at 9 a.m. from July 4 through August 29.

Tales and Tails
Live readings and guest lectures take place on Sunday afternoons in the Enchanted Garden at the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. Tales on the schedule include “The Masque of the Red Death” (July 14), “The Black Cat” (July 21), and “The Tell-Tale Heart” (August 4). Keep an eye out for resident felines Edgar and Pluto, the latter named after a four-legged character in “The Black Cat.” Included with museum admission; no registration necessary. Sunday Reading events begin at 12:30 p.m. and are live-streamed on the museum’s Facebook page.

Spine-tingling Tours with Twain
Spooky events aren’t just for Halloween. The Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, regularly offers the Graveyard Shift Ghost Tour. During this nighttime visit, hear spine-tingling tales about Victorian traditions surrounding seances and spiritualism and learn about the author’s interest in the supernatural. Various dates. Tickets are $25 and sell out fast, so be sure to book early.

River Cruising with Twain
Cruise the Mighty Mississippi like Mark Twain, who once made his living as a riverboat pilot (a profession he claimed to love “far better than any I have followed since”). The Mark Twain Riverboat offers one-hour sightseeing cruises and two-hour dinner excursions, along with weekend music cruises. Outings leave from Hannibal, Missouri, the site of Twain’s childhood home (open for visiting) and the model for the fictional St. Petersburg in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Theater Al Fresco
The drama “The Miracle Worker” is staged on the grounds of Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s birthplace in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on Friday and Saturday evenings through July 13. The play unfolds Keller’s remarkable life, from her early struggles with blindness and deafness, to the transformation that took place under the tutelage of the “miracle worker,” teacher Anne Sullivan. Performances take place at 8 p.m. and cost $15. Ticket holders can arrive at 6:30 p.m. for a free tour of the house and grounds.

Show Tunes in Winery Ruins
Open-air winery ruins make a scenic backdrop for “Broadway Under the Stars,” a series of concerts at Jack London State Historic Park in California’s Sonoma Valley. Literature meets nature at the 1,400-acre park—once the adventure writer’s ranch land—where visitors can picnic, hike, bike, and horseback ride, as well as view London’s homes and grave site. Various performances take place through September 8.