Oct 112011

We’re having unseasonably warm weather in Chicago right now, which makes me think of this past summer and my time in Boston.

While in Boston my family and I took a day trip to Salem. Why Salem? Well, because of Nathaniel Hawthorne of course. It’s where The House of the Seven Gables is located and I just had to go. Turns out, it was pretty amazing!

Here’s what I remember from the tour:

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s father died when he was just five years old. After his death, Hawthorne’s mother struggled to make ends meet and turned to her family for help.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a shy child often keeping to himself, and as he grew, so did his desire for writing. He always had a writer’s spirit.

He stayed holed-up in his room in this house and wrote. His mother and two sisters kept his writing secret as they knew how important it was to him. His mother believed in him so much that she would bring dinner up to his room so that he could continue to write without interruption. Even though he had some support around him, he never thought any of the work he produced was any good. Sound familiar?

Hawthorne’s uncle pressured him to go to college and he did go, but he hid his desire to be a writer. Choosing to be a writer wasn’t necessarily received with open arms back then either.

But he continued on and wrote two very famous books in classic American literature – The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables among other things.

And that’s what I think it means to have a writer’s spirit. He always had the desire to write despite the odds against him. He could’ve quit at any time. Many people probably would’ve, but for whatever reason, he didn’t and I think that’s kind of remarkable. To me, he is a true writer’s writer.

If you’re ever in Salem and you’re interested in Hawthorne, I say visit The House of the Seven Gables and Hawthorne’s childhood home. You will not be disappointed.


  9 Responses to “Nathaniel Hawthorne – A Writer’s Writer”

  1. Wow! Looks beautiful! Nathaniel Hawthorne is certainly an inspiration for writers.

  2. It was one of my favorite parts of our trip. 🙂

  3. I didn’t know it was a real house. Love to see our classic American authors getting some recognition. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks Gwen! I didn’t know it was a real house either until I started researching things to do for our trip and when I found out, I just had to go.

  5. Absolutely in love with the garden. Would be a great place for a writer’s retreat.

  6. Thanks for sharing this, Nina! I went to Salem the weekend of Hawthorne’s 200th birthday a few years ago when I still lived in Boston — quite by accident, but was so glad that I did. I didn’t get to visit the House of Seven Gables, but I did do a self-guided walking tour of his life in Salem and it was fantastic. Salem was definitely one of my favorite places to visit when I lived out there.

  7. @Stobby – The garden is beautiful.

    @Diane – Salem was an interesting place. I wanted to take photos of the interior of the seven gables, but the guide wouldn’t let us. At one point, we went up this extremely tight staircase to get to the second floor, which was a little frightening. Lol! It was an interesting house. It was v. cool. I can’t imagine what his 200th birthday was like!

  8. Wow, thanks for the mini tour! I’m hoping to be around Boston next year, so this will definitely be on my list! Talk about dedication.

  9. […] While there, we stopped by the famous Hemingway House, which quickly became my favorite author house after the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion in Salem. This home was made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The House of the Seven Gables. You can check out more information about that visit here: http://jr-williams.com/blog/?p=659. […]

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