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Episode Discussions > Ep 124: What's your idea of a great bookish holiday?

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message 1: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (thomasathogglestock) | 251 comments I hope you all enjoyed hearing from the other blogging Simon this week. I wasn't kidding on the episode when I said I was interested in your ideas about what you consider to be a great bookish holiday and good spots for going on a reading holiday. What say you?


message 2: by Sue (new)

Sue | 25 comments Booktopia!

I haven't listened to the episode yet, but I have done a lot of googling about bookish getaways and they're not easy to find. There are hotels with great libraries, and places (like Hartford, according to Ann and Michael) with many bookish sites, but there don't seem to be too many 'vacation packages' designed for readers.

Two locations that stand out are the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Oregon with author themed rooms and a library, and Hay-On-Wye, a tiny town in Wales with over two dozen bookshops.

Thomas wrote: "I hope you all enjoyed hearing from the other blogging Simon this week. I wasn't kidding on the episode when I said I was interested in your ideas about what you consider to be a great bookish holi..."


message 3: by Carin (new)

Carin | 1 comments A couple of years ago I went to The Little House on the Prairie in KS and then to Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Mansfield, MO. There are of course a ton more locations from her books, most notably DeSmet, SD. There's even a book all about visiting all the Laura Ingalls Wilder places. One day I'll get to them all!


message 4: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (thomasathogglestock) | 251 comments Carin, you just reminded me of a childhood trip to Walnut Grove, MN. I even saw Plum Creek!


message 5: by Elizabeth☮ (last edited Apr 28, 2015 06:06PM) (new)

Elizabeth☮ I have been to cities rich with literary history yet I haven't taken full advantage of it. I try to visit independent book stores in other cities. I also find my way to the public library (many of which are quite impressive).

I think my ideal bookish holiday would be one on the East Coast of the US. There are so many books inspired by this area and also many authors that took up resident in the area.


message 6: by Ruthiella (new)

Ruthiella | 272 comments I think a trip to Hay-on-Wye sounds like a fantastic bookish vacation…I am considering making the trip one of these days. I would also like to go to Dublin for Bloomsday. I didn’t like Ulysses, but I think it would be an interesting experience. I am planning a near future bookish weekend in L.A. with a friend to check out some of the remaining used/independent bookstores just to see what is there. I hate driving to L.A. but this will (hopefully) make it worth it. I have started to compile a list of stuff/authors to look for. But when it comes down to it, I am with Thomas in thinking a real bookish holiday would just be having a genial atmosphere to read in, whether that be on a cruise, in a cabin in mountains or even just a long weekend at home.


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard | 47 comments Visiting Virginia Woolf's house, Monks House, in Sussex was a memorable bookish holiday experience for me. Another was visiting the Keats-Shelley Museum in Rome, which was a lovely bookish thing to do on my 40th birthday. I also have good memories of visiting the houses on Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott in Concord. I very much regret that when I was on holiday in New England a few years ago, I didn't find the time to see Edith Wharton's house.

Spending time in bookshops is always a big part of holidays for me. My partner isn't particularly bookish, but luckily he is very patient with me when it comes to book browsing. We even managed to find sections of bookshops devoted to English language books in Vietnam and Japan.

A less happy bookish holiday experience was having a bag full of books stolen from us somewhere near the Rome train station. Even though that was unpleasant, it does amuse me to think of how disappointed the thieves must have been when they discovered that all they'd managed to steal was a copy of David Copperfield, a biography of Nellie Melba, a few other books and (alas for me) my travel diary. Only the latter was irreplaceable.


message 8: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (lynellaloo) | 7 comments The best book vacation is a fishing cabin near lake Henshaw. No phones, no tv, no radio. Just a great book, a comfy chair and maybe a bit of yarn.

The silence clears out the white noise in your head and hopefully the book envelopes you.


message 9: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I've been to Hay-on-Wye and enjoyed it, although being surrounded by so many books leads to a kind of sensory overload. There's very little visitor accommodation in the village itself, so my friends and I stayed at a lovely little bed and breakfast in Hereford. A coach (tour-style bus) leaves for Hay and beyond two or three times a day from a car park near the cathedral. Be prepared to do a great deal of hiking over cobblestones. Had I known that many of the shops are set up like library stacks, with rows of bookcases set very close together and few overhead lights, I would have brought along a pocket flash. Oh, and a big canvas bag so I wouldn't have to keep shifting a growing stack of finds from arm to arm all day.


message 10: by Esther (last edited Apr 27, 2015 10:42PM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 135 comments When I was a child had a lovely literary visit to Dove Cottage, Wordworth's house in the Lake District. But my favourite literary trip was a day in Stratford-on-Avon. We visited all the houses connected with Shakespeare (I loved Tudor architecture) and took a back of stage tour at the RSC. Seriously one of the most pleasurable days of my life.

This summer I am crossing an item of my bucket-list as I have managed to squeeze a visit to Hay-on-Wye into our summer vacation.
We will only be there a day but we are staying in the Bear in the centre of the village so I can leave my family lazing around while I go snuggle up to some bookshelves. Unfortunately the baggage allowance will restrict my purchases.

However for me a bookish holiday is time to read books. And the best bookish holidays were camping with my parents.
My mother is a restless soul so at home she would always find chores or social activities for me that would drag me away from reading.
But there are only so many chores in a tent and my mother would be tired from a day's tripping so in the evening I would have the luxury of an hour or more of uninterrupted reading.


message 11: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (whatlovelybooks) I just had the greatest idea! Someone should create a special Book Lover's retreat. Just imagine cabins nested in the woods with walls of books and plenty of cozy blankets, and reading nooks. At the end of the day everyone will gather round the campfire and talk about their favorite books. Essentially a sleep away camp for book lovers!


message 12: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ I would pay for something like that Sandra.


message 13: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (lynellaloo) | 7 comments That would be a real treat. I would definitely spend time at a bookish retreat


message 14: by Sue (new)

Sue | 25 comments Hammocks! Lots of hammocks!


message 15: by Louise (new)

Louise | 154 comments And really top notch servings coffee & pastry/snacks :-)


message 16: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (thomasathogglestock) | 251 comments I'd sign up for that Sandra. And Sue's comment reminds me of the time, just after finishing grad school that I read Love in the Time of Cholera in a hammock on Kauai with a view of the ocean.


message 17: by Louise (new)

Louise | 154 comments Sounds very relaxing Thomas :-)
I had a very lovely Summer once, reading Somerset Magham short stories at Cafe de Paris in Monaco and in Saint Tropez - perfect setting!


message 18: by Amy (new)

Amy | 3 comments Sandra - I think you might have just hit upon a brilliant business idea. One suggestion, nothing is better than curling up with a good book along with a cat in your lap or a dog at your feet. Perhaps the camp could have several "community pets" that were free to wander and spend time with different readers?
Overnight reading retreat + nature + cats and dogs = my idea of heaven.


message 19: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 92 comments I have had the delight of three very bookish holidays:

1. Concord MA, where I toured the Old Manse, Louisa May Alcott's house, and went to Walden Pond. I actually read a portion of Walden Pond AT Walden Pond.

2. London, where I made my family stop at every bookstore I saw. We live in Michigan, and we have an hour drive to reach the closest new bookstore, so seeing so many bookshops in London was lovely. We particularly loved Forbidden Planet. I was nearly overcome with joy visiting Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. The highlight of our trip was seeing a production of Macbeth at the Globe. I would love to return to the UK and do a proper tour of the Bronte parsonage, Jane Austen's house, and Stratford-Upon-Avon.

3. Booktopia Petoskey, where I met Ann and Michael from Books on the Nightstand! I loved every moment of that weekend, and I purchased so many lovely books. I am thrilled to be returning to Petoskey in the fall for the final Booktopia. I hope Simon and Thomas will consider attending!


message 20: by Elizabeth☮ (last edited May 09, 2015 03:28PM) (new)

Elizabeth☮ Melissa,

When I went to Westminster Abby it was closed. We never got a chance to visit. I did see Jane Austen's house while in Bath. And I visit The Globe theater, but we didn't see a performance. My experience is pale in comparison to yours.


message 21: by Tom (new)

Tom | 15 comments Dublin, because Joyce.

London, because Woolf.


message 22: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Ferguson (ruthdfw) | 4 comments We'll I am visiting NYC this month --- what bookish must see should be on my list. At the top of course is the library? Buzzfeed recently publishes 25 bookstores you must see and I will try to visit the 3 listed from the city.


message 23: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Ferguson (ruthdfw) | 4 comments For those speaking about the bookish retreat I saw an article about one or two of those last month and the one featured in the article was like $2000 for a weekend. The setting was serene and elegant but comfortable. However at that price it better read the book to me no in fact they probably should act the book out for me.


message 24: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (thomasathogglestock) | 251 comments Ruth wrote: "We'll I am visiting NYC this month --- what bookish must see should be on my list. At the top of course is the library? Buzzfeed recently publishes 25 bookstores you must see and I will try to visi..."

Ruth, I am not sure which stores were on the list, but if you are in the West Village, Three Lives Books is a lovely little shop with a great selection and atmosphere.


message 25: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Ferguson (ruthdfw) | 4 comments I will find article later and share but pretty sure that was not one of them.


message 26: by melodie (new)

melodie b | 9 comments I ready when And where


message 27: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cindyfried) | 32 comments I've lived in London all my long life and not yet been inside Westminster Abbey *hangs head in shame*.
Dragged my future (not a big reader) husband to Hay on Wye for a weekend once, his opinion "Now we know where books go to die".
Went to Paris last year and snuck away from the family to visit outside of house where Nancy Mitford lived in Paris (7 Rue Monsieur).


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