While visiting the home of a famous dead artist may not be high on your list of reasons to get out of town, these six day trips are sure to inspire a cultural excursion—and maybe even a next chapter or new painting.
If you have a weekend, plan a getaway to Robert Frost’s Stone House in Shaftsbury, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Eugene O’Neill’s The Monte Cristo Cottage in New London, and the homes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in Concord. But if you only have a day, step into the fascinating lives of Twain, Poe, Pollock, Hopper, Capote, and Miller—all just an easy train ride away from NYC.
Mark Twain House & Museum | West Hartford
If you’re a fan of his work, you’ll have goosebumps while standing inside the author’s creative lair at this 19-room Victorian mansion. After visiting the modern LEED-certified museum next door, picnic at 102-acre Elizabeth Park with fixings from the Pond House Cafe.
How to get there: Take Amtrak from Penn Station to Hartford. A roundtrip train ticket starts at $68. Museum admission is $20/adult.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Cottage | Bronx
Built in 1812 when the Bronx was known as Old Fordham Village, the recently restored home tells an enlightening tale of “The Bells” writer who lived with his wife and mother-in-law in this humble farm worker’s cottage; it consists of five rooms: a kitchen, parlor, a bedchamber, and two rooms in the attic. While you’re up here, head to New York Botanical Garden or the Bronx Zoo, both a 25-minute walk—or quick BX9 or Bx22 bus ride away—from the cottage. Admission to the cottage is $5/adult.
How to get there: Take the subway: D or #4 to Kingsbridge Road
Pollock Krasner House & Study Center | East Hampton
In addition to the paint-splattered floors, this National Historic Landmark displays wonderful things like Pollock’s hi-fi phonograph, his jazz record collection, the artists’ personal library, an original late 1930s Pollock painting, Composition with Red Arc and Horses, and a print by Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner, with whom he moved from NYC to Long Island in 1945.
How to get there: Take the LIRR to East Hampton station. Visit the website above for various hours, tours, & admission details. Here are some ideas on things to do near the house, including a great Pollock-and-pedal outing.
Edward Hopper House | Nyack
Visit Hopper’s childhood home, where many of his lesser known, yet no less brilliant, works of art are displayed. While exploring the quaint riverside town of Nyack, stop at Gypsy Donut for their salted caramel concoction.
How to get there: Book the Metro-North Hopper package ($23.25), which includes admission, roundtrip rail fare from 125th Street, 10% discount on all retail at the gift shop, 10% off your bill at Nyack Gourmet, and a complimentary coffee and a glass of wine at 8 North Broadway. (You must show your Metro-North train ticket to receive the offers.)
Arthur Miller | Brooklyn Heights
Arthur Miller lived in this Brooklyn Heights house at 31 Grace Court when he completed Death of a Salesman in the late 40s. Later, he sold it to W.E.B. Du Bois, the civil rights activist and intellectual leader.
How to get there: Take the R to Court Street or the 2/3/4/5 to Borough Hall.
Truman Capote | Brooklyn Heights
Truman Capote lived in this lavish five-story Brooklyn Heights townhouse at 70 Willow Street while he wrote “Breakfast At Tiffanys” and “A House on the Heights.”
How to get there: Take the 2/3 train to Clark St.
With additional reporting by Michelle DeVona and Holley Simmons
The co-founder and editor-at-large at offMetro, Lauren is a sustainable travel specialist and freelance journalist with frequent bylines in National Geographic, Bicycling Magazine and Shape. Follow Lauren’s adventures at @laurenmati.