Slathering on suntan lotion and baking in the sun on a crowded beach is some people’s summer ideal. But, if that doesn’t sound like you, New England offers plenty of alternatives.
Jump in the car and indulge your inner geek with one of these historical, literary or art-based day trips where the only sizzle is in your soul.
Literary lovers rejoice, we’ve found your mecca!
The Dartmouth College Library in Hanover, New Hampshire, is open to the public and offers a vast number of literary goodies. Swing by the Baker-Berry Library’s whimsical Dr. Seuss room to read biographical information about Theodor Geisel and view original artwork from his books.
Then, head to the Rauner Special Collections Library to request and view items from a collection of over 1 million rare books, including Daniel Webster’s first-edition copy of “Birds of America” by John James Audubon.
25 North Main St., Hanover, N.H.
For history buffs and horror lovers alike, the Lizzie Borden house, now a museum and bed and breakfast, in Fall River, Massachusetts, is a home run.
In 1892, Borden’s parents were murdered with an ax—uh, grisly!—and the question of their daughter’s involvement has haunted the property since. Not only can you tour the home and learn the creepy details of the double murder, you can spend the night in the rooms where the crimes took place.
230 Second St., Fall River, Mass.
Organic by Nature
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright is known for his sleek, modern innovations that were meant to represent a way of life separate from staunch New England conservatism.
One of his creations, just an hour north of Boston, in Manchester, New Hampshire, is Wright’s 1,458-square-foot Zimmerman House, which illustrates his quintessential, midcentury modern design and was built in 1950. The home is accented by the personal art collection of the Zimmerman family, who lived there for 36 years.
Today, it is the only Wright building in New England that’s accessible to the public and open for tours, and it is owned by the Currier Museum of Art.
150 Ash St., Manchester, N.H.
Open by guided tour only, Thursday through Monday.
Trees Speak in Whispers
Gilded mansions aren’t the only things Newport County has to offer.
Nearby in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the Green Animals Topiary Garden features over 80 ornamental shrub and tree creations spread across the property. The natural sculptures depict everything from animals and birds to geometric designs twisting and turning in California privet, yew and English boxwood.
While you’re there, visit the vegetable and herb gardens and orchards that allow this estate to run self-sufficiently.
380 Cory’s Lane, Portsmouth, R.I.
Eliminate the Impossible
In the early 20th century, William Hooker Gillette built a castle-like country house for himself based on the eccentricities of Sherlock Holmes. Today, the place in East Haddam, Connecticut, is called Gillette Castle State Park.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had asked the actor, director and playwright to adapt his Sherlock stories into a play. Indeed, legend has it that Gillette was the person who gave Holmes his signature deerstalker cap and catch phrase.
Gillette’s castle is packed with secret rooms, trap doors and surprises for guests that the literary detective would have delighted in.
67 River Road, East Haddam, Conn.