A literary road trip through New England

Summer is the perfect time for road trips, so why not take one that's educational at the same time? New England overflows with literary history, and also happens to be small enough to see multiple locations per day. Visit the homes and museums of famous American literary figures like Longfellow, Alcott, and Twain, and take in the beautiful scenes and summer breeze as you drive through Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Check out the route here

Mary Knox Merrill

1. The Mark Twain House and Museum

John Groo for The Mark Twain House & Museum

Where better to begin your journey with than the home of the author celebrated by William Faulkner as the "father of American literature?" Although Mark Twain is known for his Missouri roots, he moved to Hartford, Conn., in 1874 and built an extravagant Victorian home for his family, which included his wife Olivia and their three daughters. Much like Twain, the house is known for its unpredictable characteristics. Intricate designs pattern both interior and exterior, and features appearing to be pairs turn out to have subtle differences. During his time in the house Twain penned some of his most famous works, including "Huckleberry Finn," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "Life on the Mississippi," and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." Although Twain ran into financial troubles and had to sell the house in 1891, it was preserved by neighbors and others who admired Twain.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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