Man standing on the peak of Monument Mountain, historical B&W photo

Literary Trail

Explore the written landscapes of Massachusetts by visiting these inspired places.

The natural landscapes of Massachusetts have been a source of inspiration and refuge for authors, poets, journalists, and playwrights, including some of our most revered literary masters. Among those who spent time at what would become Trustees properties and found themselves moved to put word to paper were naturalists, Transcendentalists, diplomats, historians, political scientists, and yes, even a few eccentrics.

This trail highlights nine Trustees’ special places with connections to the literary world. We invite you to join generations of writers and readers by getting out and exploring these Trustees places—perhaps you’ll be similarly inspired, and will find yourself adding your own words to the written landscape.

Bartholomew’s Cobble

Writer and naturalist Hal Borland (1900-1978) described exploring the woods and fields here in a series of editorials that were later compiled into two books.

Monument Mountain

Inspired by William Cullen Bryant’s 1824 poem of the same name, Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne hiked up this mountain in 1850.

Mountain Meadow Preserve

Author and botanist Grace Greylock Niles (1864-1943) made her home in this ruggedly beautiful environment.

William Cullen Bryant Homestead

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was an American poet, editor, conservationist and abolitionist whose poetry was inspired by the woods and fields of his native hills in western MA.

Bullitt Reservation

An eccentric and intriguing historical figure, William C. Bullitt (1891–1967)—an American journalist, novelist, and the first U.S. diplomat to Soviet Russia—spent summers here frequently.

Fruitlands Museum

In 1843, ten-year-old Louisa May Alcott moved with her family to a farm they called “Fruitlands”—a soon-to-be hub of Transcendentalist thought.

The Old Manse

Influential authors, artists, philosophers, botanists, and intellectuals gathered often at this National Historic Landmark, built in 1770 for William Emerson (1743-1776).

Long Hill

Lovely views of the rural North Shore inspired influential writers Ellery and Mabel Cabot Sedgwick to buy this property in 1916.

Ravenswood Park

Ravenswood Park was home to one of our most colorful and unusual authors, naturalist Mason Augustus Walton (1838-1917).

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