Top Literary Landmarks In Connecticut

January 18, 2014 8:00 AM

Visiting a literary landmark is not like visiting a museum. It is one special place that exudes a distinct personality. The experience is as unique as the place itself and much too special to miss out on. In Connecticut, the literary landmarks are so special that they are written about frequently in local publications. Here are some of the most memorable landmarks in the state.

Noah Webster House
227 S. Main St.
West Hartford, CT 06107
(860) 521-5362

While Noah Webster is almost synonymous with the word “dictionary,” he also wrote another book. It is called the “Blue-Backed Speller.” This book was written as a grammar book and what is so special about it is that many of our country’s founders actually used this book to teach their children how to read, write and spell. Even Benjamin Franklin was reported to have used the book to teach his granddaughter how to read and spell. The “Blue-Backed Speller” was published in 1783 and has been in print ever since. A visit to the Noah Webster House, located in West Hartford, is important because it is the birthplace of a man, whom each and every person who has ever studied grammar or spelling has personally experienced.

Home of Poet Wallace Stevens
118 Westerly Terrace
Hartford, CT 06105
(860) 508-2810

Wallace Stevens spent most of his life in Hartford, Connecticut. Visiting the home of this Harvard-educated lawyer, insurance man and renowned poet is especially moving. This is because his life was so influenced by living in Connecticut and especially Hartford, that he was inspired to write the poem, “Of Hartford in a Purple Light.” Experience the heartfelt Hartford experience from lines of Stevens’ poem.

Atticus Bookstore/Café
1082 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 776-4040

When it comes to literary landmarks, one must recognize the Atticus Bookstore/Café as a well-deserved historic literary landmark. Here, literary giants have come to linger among aisles and aisles of books. Perhaps a visitor today may be sitting exactly where playwright August Wilson sat as he worked on rewriting a scene from one of his plays that debuted at the nearby Yale Repertory Theatre. Perhaps a visitor sips a coffee and enjoys a special dessert where playwright Athol Fugard spent many hours. So many authors have graced this facility that as soon as one enters, one senses how easily writers could be inspired here. The hearty soups, the crusty breads and the delicate desserts served here are the stuff that writers inhale.

House of Books
10 N. Main St.
Kent, CT 06757
(860) 927-4104

There are so many authors living in Kent, Connecticut that visitors shouldn’t be surprised if they run into any one of them while visiting the House of Books. Perhaps they’ll run into Edmund Morris of Kent. Morris wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Rise of President Roosevelt.” Some might bump into Karen Bussolini, known for writing about her personal gardening experiences. Her book “Elegant Silvers: Striking Plants for Every Garden” is especially interesting since she lives on what has been described as a “deer infested mountain.” In Connecticut, the large deer population is a gardener’s nightmare. House of Books loves to feature works of local authors. Best of all, you may run into any one of them at any given time.

Books by the Falls
253 Roosevelt Drive
Derby, CT 06418
(203) 812-9476

It is impossible to call one’s self a bibliophile if one has not visited the famous “Books by the Falls.” With thousands of books on its many shelves, this old factory building has become a legend unto itself. This is not a typical bookstore by any means. Books are everywhere and one has to plan on spending some time here. One also needs a real love of books to appreciate this place. Enter this old building and step back into time. Books by the Falls has so many books that range from true treasures to “toss-aways.” Give yourself some time to browse the large collection.

Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at

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