Wintery Bookish Travel Spots (And Staycations)

Holiday getaways can be stressful, but they can also be fantastic. Staycations can be dull, but great chances to escape daily frustrations. SO…we need both.

Want to get away? As in far away? Ask Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway 1957During winter, it seems the best escapes either embrace the weather or run from it, and polar vortexes flying around these days, both approaches seem logical. Consider checking out Hemingway’s house and boat in the Caribbean to see his permanent escape from the States (and Europe). Another option: Remember Hemingway’s penchant for the outdoors, especially skiing. You could also seek to live Hemingway’s youth, or at least the closest you can get to it, by traveling over  to the Montafon Valley in Austria (as recommended here), where Hemingway stayed in the ’20s.

Don’t have the funds? Check out options state-side.

It seems that New York City is the ultimate December destination, so you could technically aim to visit here, hit up the normal romanticized tourist spots, then head on to others. Consider checking out the hotel that Dorothy Parker, famous poet and O’Henry winner, hung out at, called The Algonquin, where she met her favorite group of writers, dubbed The Algonquin Round Table. If there’s anything I’ve learned from A Very Murray Christmas, it’s that hotels feature interesting visitors.

the-snowy-dayYou could also check out Brooklyn in the snow, if you’re lucky enough to hit the right weather patterns. This area was one of the inspirations for Ezra Jack Keats’s classic kids book, The Snowy Day, an important early venture into diversity in kids books. It would be worthwhile to read this book to your kids, then show them what inspired it.

Granted, this is assuming you don’t live in New York City, where you might wander around your holiday wonderland every day.

Want to find something closer? Consider looking local, no matter where you live.

cover of holidays on iceThere’s no doubt that local attractions can be the cheapest and most accessible. Of course there’s always the local play (Various versions of David Sedaris’s Holidays on Ice has been picked up by small theaters these days, from Jersey to Virginia and beyond) and the local festival (I want to go to The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco so bad!). Sometimes the best way to find events like these is Facebook or (BapabaPA!) the newspaper.

You could read Amy Tan’s essay “Fish Cheeks,” in The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life then find a place that will serve you a traditional festive Chinese dinner, just to honor the effectiveness of this essay and how it’s helping many students approach the concept of race identity and family tradition in the holidays.

Got kids? Want to not leave your house because….well….the kids?

That’s okay. Sometimes it’s good to just hunker down. Consider checking out Jan Brett’s website, based on her fantastic wintry kids books (like the all classic The Mitten). The site has coloring pages, printable mural options and games. Lots of things to do with kiddos under your own roof and drinking something warm in a mug.

Meet Annotated: a new podcast about books, reading, and language. Download it for free on Apple Podcasts or Google Play.
VIEW COMMENTS