anecdotes, Maine

Literary locales of authors whose works I never read…

I wasn’t planning to blog again today, but it’s pouring down rain and the TV is on the fritz.  I was just in the shower after painting a couple of old rocking chairs… and I know that effort was just wasted.  So I figure I might as well write about something that occurred to me when we were in Texas, looking at a plaque dedicated to the poet and musician Sidney Lanier.  I posted a photo of the plaque on Facebook and one of my old English professors, who is a Facebook friend, noticed and got all excited.  She asked if I had read any of Sidney Lanier’s work and I drew a blank.  But then another friend– one I have never met in person but know through RfM— piped up and made my old teacher happy.  Sidney Lanier was a great southern writer and somehow I never ended up reading any of his stuff, even though I was an English major…

This plaque was in the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas…


It got me to thinking about all the places Bill and I have been that had special literary significance.  In May 2009, we traveled to Paris, France and stayed at Hotel Le Sixe, which is a boutique hotel in the Montparnasse region of the city.  We didn’t know it at the time, but that part of Paris has literary significance because Ernest Hemingway used to spend a lot of time there.  In fact, we were staying just across the street from his favorite bar.  Sadly, I also never read any Hemingway, though I had a friend who took a whole class devoted to Hemingway and Fitzgerald back when we were in college.

I wish I had gotten a photo of the actual bar, but this was very close to Hemingway’s favorite Parisian bar.

Enjoy these shots of various Parisian landmarks…

For more on Hemingway’s Paris, check out this very cool link

When we got back to the States, it took awhile to get back to Europe.  We took a few USA and Caribbean trips instead.  We ended up going to Key West, Florida, which is where one of Hemingway’s former homes has been turned into a museum.  We had a very entertaining visit there, met some of Hemingway’s six toed cats, saw his huge pool, and read some of his love letters.

Hemingway’s House in Key West.

Big pool!

Hemingway’s study…

Cats are welcome everywhere!


A few months later, we went to Asheville, North Carolina to celebrate our anniversary and stayed in a bed and breakfast that was once a boarding house.  And one of the well known tenants there was none other than the actor, Charlton Heston.  Heston and his wife, Lydia, managed a playhouse in Asheville, which is why they stayed in the lovely North Carolina city.

The Beaufort House

Asheville is so pretty

Okay, so Charlton Heston wasn’t known for being a writer, but I thought it was cool that we stayed under the same roof he once did.

I guess while I’m on the subject, I might as well bring up that when Bill and I were in Barcelona, Spain, we had a fairly dreadful lunch at Els Quatre Gats, the place where Pablo Picasso had one of his earliest shows.  We didn’t know it was such a famous place when we ate there.  Actually, my lunch was okay, but Bill ended up eating a nasty undercooked piece of rabbit there.

4 Gatos in Barcelona…  photo courtesy of Yearofthedragon,

The following June, in 2011, we visited Maine for my birthday.  While we were in Portland, we needed to kill time and I needed to pee.  So we visited Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s house and museum.  Once again, he was not an author I read a lot of, but I found his house very interesting.  We had a great tour guide who did a great job of making his life come alive for us.  There was also an annoying woman there with her young daughter and she kept acting like she expected the girl to act out.  The girl was actually very well behaved and caused no problems at all.

Longfellow’s House in Portland, Maine

A couple of hours after we visited Longfellow’s house, we went to the movies and saw Midnight in Paris, which seemed even more appropriate, since it was a movie all about people like Picasso, Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds (F. Scott and Zelda), Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein, and Josephine Baker.

Incidentally, we heard when we lived in the Atlanta area that the area where we lived served as an inspiration for Margaret Mitchell when she wrote Gone With The Wind.  What’s more, we lived very close to where Patricia Taylor Allanson lived… subject of Ann Rule’s true crime book, Everything She Ever Wanted… a book I actually have read!

By the way… Midnight In Paris is totally worth seeing.

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