Top Ten Literary Cities

I can’t find the original article, but here’s a list of the top ten literary cities in the US from Jessica Burkhart’s (fun!) blog. She got her list from USA Today in the book section of the paper.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Seattle, Washington
St. Paul, Minnesota
Denver, Colorado
Washington, D.C.
St. Louis, Missouri
San Francisco, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Boston, Massachusetts

I’ve found a few great articles on the literariness (is that a word?) of these cities. This article gives ten reasons why Pittsburgh is a “literary star”. There’s an interesting article in the New York Times which talks about how companies like Costco, Starbucks, and Amazon (all based in Seattle) influence what books Americans read. The article describes Seattle as a town that loves books. That’s nice!

So I’m left with just two questions: Where is New York City? And where is Los Angeles? This article offers proof of LA’s literariness, and do we really need proof for NYC?
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Literary travels

There seems to be a new genre of travel that has yet to be discussed in this forum, and that is, literary travels. There’s a book (and blog) called Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West that seems to be getting some attention. Novel Destinations, by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon, is a book for people who share a passion for reading and travel, and the only I can think is, for the millionth time…why didn’t I think of that book idea?! I know I’m only 17, but I think I’m ready to write a book, if only people would stop stealing my ideas…

And so prepare for my version of… ,

Literary Travels with Lacee Low

This week: Literary Travels in New England

1. The Orchard House, Concord, Massachusetts – Home of the Alcotts (as in, Louisa May, of Little Women fame).
2. Walden Pond State Reservation, Concord, Massachusetts – Home of Henry David Thoreau and place of inspiration for his (and others’) writings. HDT lived at Walden Pond from July 1845 to September 1857.
3. Longfellow National Historic Site, Cambridge, Massachusetts – The home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was originally occupied by General George Washington during the Siege o Boston. Less then 100 years later, Longfellow took a room in the residence now bearing his name.
4. Robert Frost Stone House Museum, South Shaftsbury, Vermont – Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” while he lived here on a hot June morning in 1922.

Stay tuned next time for…The Literary South!
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Going West

I feel like I’m going west. Really I’m still in Ulster, in the Catskills. There are many old hotels up here. The Nevele and the old Browns (now an Ashram) all reflect a sort of modern antiquity of lite nostalgia hugging the mountains. Walking through the old town of Ellenville I thought to myself, “how dull life is here, but how perfect.”

I’m after the quiet, the internal respite that is sought, but never found. The autumn colored trees are swaying around me as I write this on a wooden bench, cool fall air touch my cheeks. I think I can get a hitch if I look desperate enough, after all since leaving Mohonk and crossing through Minewaska State park where another mountain lake lies hidden in the sky I made my way all the while sleeping at night outside and that’s where I’ve been the last few nights; in my tent in the woods outside Ellenville. I think its time to go…

Traveling the Crags

There is a hike on the Mohonk Preserve that I used to be scared to do when I was younger. The Crags are series of of whitish-gray limestone rocks jutting out in all directions, running the length of Mohonk Lake. I used to think it was the hardest hike in the world, but today even after my 9 or 10 mile hike from New Paltz passed the Adair winery and up the slopes of Mohonk, the Crags were a bitter sweet experience. I guess my imagination as a child has given way to an adult perception.

I’m sitting writing this in the hotel lobby of the Mohonk Mountain House, a structure built around a century previous that offers luxurous rooms to the wealthy. Mohonk is a beautiful preserve, with horse back riding and hiking and boating on the beautiful mountain lake. The Shawangunks or rather they are known simply in these parts as The Gunks are home to many mountain top lakes, all are beautiful and serene.

Up here I feel at peace and at home. Its a sort of inner feeling where you know there can be no harm at the end of the journey, because the journey is inside. Boy am I tired, and I need to get some sleep. Soon I’ll be traveling on.

Stuck In New Paltz

So I’ve been laid out for a few days. I made it a total 9 plus miles South of Rosendale to the Village of New Paltz. My trip wasn’t easy. I walked along the Rail Trail, which follows the path of the old rail way from farther down state up to Kingston–the capital of Ulster County. The rail trail is a beautiful, easy hike. The trees at this time of the year are covered in their multi colored pastel imagery and the flat trail with its occasional biker is a relaxing sortie into the realm of back pack trekking. My problem came in the form of the black hole called New Paltz. The village has always drawn me, dragged me into its bowels, usually taking some dramatic, climactic event to free me from its drug induced clutches.

I have a few friends in New Paltz and the apartment I am writing in now is theirs. I’ve been here for a few days, stuck in the small apartment overlooking Main Street, which is a gathering for both the “Townies”and college students. There are nine bars on main street and I think my friends dragged me to each one, before finding ourselves back in their apartment. Its a shame I have to move on from this village, there is so much more than drinking to do here, but my trip continues on and now that I am rested from my drinking and my friends all have returned back to work I can move on and truly set myself free from these constraints. My trip planner has come in handy, pointing out with detailed precision my next leg to my journey. Out the window I can see the Mountain chain–The Shawangunks. The odd shaped mountain is called Mohonk. I’ve been there before–many times and today I will begin to go up there. Its about 10 miles from here, but a beautiful hike await me there. Its hills are orange and red now, like a multicolored blanket strewn across the mountains–autumn is in full swing in the midhudson valley.