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Literary Landscapes

R.Cheek

Esteemed writers once inhabited what are now Trustees historic houses, and trod the supporting grounds across three centuries. Make your own connection to these literary landscapes and discover the cultural (and social) worlds that provided both inspiration and relaxation.

LONG HILL, Beverly – The long-time summer home of Atlantic Monthly editor/publisher Ellery Sedgwick was primarily a refuge for family, but also served as an informal literary salon, reflecting Sedgwick’s large circle of famous acquaintances. Guests included poet Robert Frost and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist John P. Marquand.

CASTLE HILL, Ipswich – Novelist John Updike lived in Ipswich for 18 years, in houses on both sides of the Ipswich River, which empties into the ocean at Castle Hill. Updike, who died in January at age 76, wrote reviews of music performed there, which were compiled in a volume entitled Concerts at Castle Hill.

THE OLD MANSE, Concord – Situated near the Old North Bridge, the Manse bore witness to the first battle of the Revolutionary War. But it was also the ancestral home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement; Nathaniel Hawthorne later lived here, and Henry David Thoreau was a regular visitor.

THE WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT HOMESTEAD, Cummington – Located amid rolling fields and wooded alleés above the Westfield River, this National Historic Landmark was the boyhood home of one of the 19th century’s most famous men of letters. Bryant, who later retired here, was also an ardent abolitionist and conservationist.

MONUMENT MOUNTAIN, Great Barrington – For more than two centuries, writers and artists have been drawn to this dramatic formation amid southern Berkshires. William Cullen Bryant rhapsodized in a poem of the same name, and friends brought together Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville here at a picnic hike in 1850.