6 Homes of Classic Women Authors in New England

The Mount-Edith Wharton's home in Lenox, MA

Here are six homes of classic women authors in New England that are open to the public for tours. Those presented here preserve the lives and legacies of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Judith Sargent Murray.

Visit them one at a time, group two on a weekend trip, or do them all on a multi-day loop. Make sure to link through to get all the information on visiting, as many aren’t open all year round.

Literary pilgrimages are inspiring and enlightening. If you can’t get enough of your favorite women authors in print, visiting their homes, preserved for public viewing, is a fantastic way to get to know them better. Getting a glimpse where they lived and worked, and how they extended their creative flair into their homes and gardens is a true privilege.

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Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford CT

PhotoEd Schipul, flickr.com/photos/eschipul

Web: Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
77 Forest St
Hartford, CT 06105

Tours, programs, and events are available at the Center honoring Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s life and legacy. Plan to spend plenty of time in this Hartford enclave, as the Mark Twain house is right next door, and what a treat that is!From the center’s mission statement:

“The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center preserves and interprets Stowe’s Hartford home and the Center’s historic collections, promotes vibrant discussion of her life and work, and inspires commitment to social justice and positive change … Since 1968, visitors from all over the world come to Hartford to walk in the footsteps of the woman whose words changed the world.”


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Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Orchard House - Louisa May Alcott

Web: Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House
399 Lexington Road
Concord, Massachusetts 01742

Orchard House is best known as the place where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set her classic, Little Women. The home has been preserved to remain very much as it was during the Alcott family’s time.

Guided tours introduce visitors to the rich intellectual life of the Alcott family and their contemporary, with rooms very much as they were from 1855 to 1878. Educational programs and special events are available, along with the regular tours, year round. Read our full description of a tour of Orchard House. 

When in Concord, you can visit the Alcott’s gravesite at nearby Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. You owe it to yourself to visit the beautiful public library; and if you have another half day to spare and want to visit the Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau sites, consult these posts on Books Tell You Why and Bookriot.


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Emily Dickinson Museum

Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst

Photo: Visit Hampshire County

Web: Emily Dickinson Museum
The Homestead and the Evergreens
280 Main St.
Amherst, MA 01002

From the museum’s web site:

“The Museum is dedicated to educating diverse audiences about Emily Dickinson’s life, family, creative work, times, and enduring relevance, and to preserving and interpreting the Homestead and The Evergreens as historical resources for the benefit of scholars and the general public. Tours, events, and educational opportunities are offered.”


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The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home

Edith Wharton's home, the Mount (Lenox, MA)

Web: The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home
2 Plunkett St.
Lenox, MA 01240

Located in the rolling Berkshires Hills of western Massachusetts, The Mount is the beautifully restored country manor and gardens built by Edith Wharton in 1902 and occupied by her and her then-husband Teddy Wharton until 1911. Tours, programs, and events are available, and the home and gardens are open to visitors from May to October.

Read our full description, Visiting the Mount.


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Sarah Orne Jewett House and Museum

Sarah Orne Jewett house

Web: Sarah Orne Jewett House and Museum
5 Portland St.
South Berwick, Maine 03908

The home and museum of this lesser known but influential writer are maintained by Historic New England is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the nation.

Sarah Orne Jewett wasn’t as well-known as her friend Willa Cather, for whom she was a mentor, but her work is considered a fixture of classic New England literature. The Jewett house features exhibitions, year-round public programs, a resource room and preservation staff on site.


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The Sargent House Museum (Judith Sargent Murray)

Judith Sargent Murray house

Web: The Sargent House Museum
49 Middle Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Built in 1782, this home preserves the life and legacy of Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820), American philosopher, writer, and trailblazing advocate for women’s equality. From the Sargent House Museum website:

“Today, the Sargent House Museum seeks to engage the public in the life, times, writings, and home of Judith Sargent Murray, a pioneering advocate of women’s education and equality. Moreover, the Sargent House Museum seeks to empower women and men, young and old, to value women’s equality, education and role in the community  for the benefit of the common good.”


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Edna St. Vincent Millay: Steepletop (currently closed)
Austerlitz, NY

Maintained by The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society, this venue’s mission is “to illuminate the life and writings of Edna St. Vincent Millay and to preserve and interpret the character of Steepletop, her home and gardens, places where nature inspires the creative spirit.”

Unfortunately, Steepletop was closed to the public in 2019 until further notice. However, the Millay Colony for the Arts is still up and running. It’s a wonderful residency for creators in many disciplines.


2 Responses to “6 Homes of Classic Women Authors in New England”

  1. Thank you for this lovely article. I lived near Hartford for many years and summered in southern Maine, so these homes hold special meaning for me. No quarantined in the deep south at 76, I may never visit them again, so this was a precious gift.

    • Thank you for your comment, Linda. I actually live within driving distance of many of these Northeast homes (about a 3-hour radius), and now, their being closed and most of us sheltering at home, they seem elusive to me as well. Hopefully they’ll find a way to stay solvent and reopen next year, as these intimate glimpses into how these Literary Ladies lived is quite a special gift. Stay well, and stay hopeful! You may be able to return yet.

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