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Historic author houses are among the best places to get a fix of nostalgic holiday cheer. Here are some literary sites where you can enjoy the seasonal festivities:

The Enchanted Garden at the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, comes alive with thousands of lights during “Poe’s Christmas Illumination” on December 1 from 5-9 p.m. Along with free admission, enjoy mulled wine and take a holiday-themed tour with the museum’s curator.

A visit to Louisa May Alcott’s home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts, is like stepping into the pages of Little Women. It’s only fitting then that this year’s December theme is “A Little Women Christmas” since the novel opens during the holiday season. Meet Louisa and other costumed figures and participate in Victorian-era activities and caroling. The program takes place on weekends in December, and advance reservations are strongly recommended.

The Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, hosts the annual “Festival of Trees,” with 29 artists, organizations, and community groups decorating the author’s home. Not only is the holiday finery lush and imaginative, some of it conveys a message, too, carrying on Buck’s legacy as a social activist. Through December 30.

Step back in time at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, which is adorned in the style of a late-19th-century Christmas. The author’s abode is one of several sites participating in the “Friends of the Mark Twain House & Museum’s Holiday House Tour” on December 3.

In Monterey, California, 22 historic homes are open to visitors during “Christmas in the Adobes,” including rare access to the Lara-Soto Adobe once owned by John Steinbeck. At the Robert Louis Stevenson House—now a museum devoted to the Scottish scribe, who lived for a time in the seaside city—shortbread will be served and bagpipes will be playing. December 8 and 9.

The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, is celebrating the poet’s birthday on December 9 from 1-4 p.m. with homemade coconut made from Dickinson’s own recipe. Admission is free during the event, and a special guided tour, “Christmas with the Dickinsons,” is on offer.

The Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is hosting a Holiday Open House on December 15 and Holiday House Tours on December 16. Along with touring the poet’s lovely home (previously General George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War), take a stroll through the illuminated gardens and listen to Christmas carols.

In a nod to his debut novel Look Homeward, Angel, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville, North Carolina, is putting on “An Angel Christmas” on December 16. Festivities include an exhibition of angel wreaths on the doors and angel figurines displayed throughout the historic 29-room home, where Wolfe’s mother once ran a boardinghouse.

In Salem, Massachusetts, the House of the Seven Gables (Nathaniel Hawthorne’s inspiration for his gothic novel), is presenting “Four Centuries of Christmas Tours.” Walks the halls of the seaside mansion that has stood since 1668, as guides share the history of Christmas in New England. Through December 31.

[Photos © Pearl S. Buck International, Poe Museum, and Orchard House.]

 

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I have a thing for chandeliers, which is just one reason I love the decor at #RizzoliBookstore in #NYC. Such a gorgeous space and with a great selection of books too. Plus it’s right near the restaurant Oscar Wilde for some eats and drinks in a lavish, literary-inspired setting. #bookstore #bookstores #bibliophiles #canimovein #booklove #bookshop @rizzolibookstore @oscarwildenyc
#victorhugowashere The writer strolled the corridors of this covered arcade to reach the home of his mistress, Juliet Drouet, who accompanied him into exile when he fled France after opposing the re-establishment of the monarchy. Elsewhere in the building, the theatrical version of Hugo’s novel Les Misérables was staged for the first time. #brussels #belgium #victorhugo #literarytravel #noveldestinations #classicwriters
#GrandPlace #Brussels “The Town Hall of Brussels is a jewel, a dazzling fantasy dreamed up by a poet and realized by an architect. And the square around it is a miracle,” wrote Victor Hugo after visiting Brussels as a tourist in 1837. Fourteen years later he settled in the city for a time after fleeing Paris, living in a gilded building on Grand Place. ... Hugo disappeared from Paris on December 11, 1851, wearing a disguise and traveling under a pseudonym. After Louis-Napoleon re-established the monarchy and ordered the smashing of printing presses, Hugo became a leading voice of opposition and was no longer safe in France. ... Once in Brussels, Hugo wrote the politically charged tract “Napoleon the Little” in which he ridiculed the emperor. The pamphlet, printed on thin paper and smuggled into France in sections hidden in hollow busts of Louis-Napoleon, was enthusiastically received. ... #victorhugo #democracy #powerofthepen #classicwriters

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