Ever had the urge to absorb yourself in a writer’s home so much that you’d not only visit, but also sleep there, hoping that some latent muses might emerge from the pillow? A small number of houses where writers have lived and worked are now offering accommodations. Abbotsford, in the Scottish Highlands, where Sir Walter Scott wrote his Waverly novels, has a Hope Lodge Wing, meticulously decorated in the style of the 1800s. The onsite restaurant, Ochiltree, is named after a beggar in one of Scott’s novels. Best of all are the views of the Scottish Highlands all around.
Southwest in Cornwall, The Lodge, the former gardener’s cottage at Agatha Christie’s summer house, has been restored by the National Trust as a three bedroom holiday cottage. Visit the nearby Smuggler’s Museum to get the flavor of the area in the 1700s.
In Swansea, Wales, Dylan Thomas’s Birthplace and Home has been restored just as it was in 1914 when the family moved in. The owner will cook a meal using some of his mother’s favorite recipes if you book a room, and you can have tea in the parlor which is the setting for A Child’s Christmas in Wales. We stayed there for two nights while traveling with friends, and had a Welsh dinner complete with cockle shells. While our friends got dibs on the prized birthplace room that looked over the street, we got his parent’s bedroom to the back, and were able to look down over the peaked rooftops to the sea–a scene that was so much a part of his poetry.
Lady Gregory, a founder of Dublin’s Abbey Theater, entertained many of Ireland’s writers at Mount Vernon, Country Clare, her small summer villa: A.E. (George William) Russell, John Millington Synge, and G
eorge Bernard Shaw among them. The house has furniture, paintings, and chimney pieces by famous English designer Augustus John. Nearby, The Burren, a fourteen by fourteen mile area of karst limestone is popular for hiking. Flowers grow through the rocks and are fed by underground springs.