Going to Boston and unsure of what to do? Good news, nerds: it isn’t just for sports fans. Despite being home to the famed Fenway Park and notoriously rabid Red Sox fans, Boston has a number of unique and interesting spots for the more bookish among us.
The gorgeous Boston Athenæum is a highly instagrammable library located behind a pair of bright red doors near some of Boston’s best historic places. Established in 1807, it’s one of the USA’s oldest independent libraries. Though only members can check books out, the public is able to visit the facility and see the beautiful interior and rotating exhibits for the cost of a $10 ticket. There are also guided tours available for $12 if you reserve ahead of time.
Brattle Book Shop
There are a number of used book shops in Boston, but Brattle Book Shop (established in 1825!) takes the cake. With three storeys and an outdoor discount book area to peruse, it’s a book lover’s paradise. I loved the huge selection and was able to find a number of uncommon books I’d been wanting to read.
Bonus: Commonwealth Books is just a few blocks away if you still haven’t gotten your fill of used book smell.
Boston Public Library
The glorious Boston Public Library is considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the USA. Budget travelers rejoice: it’s free to visit!
Best known as the birthplace of writer Jack Kerouac, Lowell is also home to his grave at Edson Cemetery. Fans of Kerouac will want to pay their respects and check out where the famed author grew up.
Concord is a goldmine for American literature lovers. Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of Massachusetts’ most famous authors, was born in Boston. In Concord, half an hour from Boston, you can visit the Ralph Waldo Emerson House as well as his gravesite at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Other notable authors buried in the so-called “Authors’ Ridge” are Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House is another museum located in Concord. Thoreau was a Concord native who was born and died there. He and Emerson used to hang out around the lake Walden Pond.
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Robert Creeley was one of the “Black Mountain Poets”, but had a notably more accessible style of poetry than some of his contemporaries. His work had a huge influence on how people thought and wrote about poetry. Born in Arlington, Massachusetts, he’s buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery a short distance from Harvard University.
The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. There’s also a budget edition of his essays from Dover Thrift called Self-Reliance and Other Essays.
The Town and the City by Jack Kerouac, in which “the town” of Galloway, Massachusetts is based on Lowell, and “the city” is New York City.
Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau, a collection of thoughts based on Thoreau’s time living in a cabin by Walden Pond.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a rightly famous novel set in a location based on Concord, Massachusetts.
For Love: Poems by Robert Creeley. An essential collection of poems for fan of Creeley or those looking for an introduction to his work.