The Best Honeymoon Destinations for Book Nerds

Wedding season is on the horizon, and with it comes some amazing honeymoon travel opportunities. In the quest to find the perfect spot to relax after the months of planning, family time, and the ceremony itself, consider hitting the country that best suits your literary tastes. Both coasts of the U.S. boast their own wonderful literary histories, or well read and adventurous couples can branch out into more far reaching countries, like Japan or Cuba, to find their literary loves. Of course, there are certain distant havens for the written word, like London and Paris, that should not be overlooked. Wherever you and your beloved decide to go, be sure to bring plenty of books for your downtime.

Washington, D.C.
Washington D.C. is a gorgeous city with amazing literary offerings. The Library of Congress can be an almost full day adventure for any book lover, with exhibits that highlight everything from historical maps to the origins of jazz. True must-sees include the Thomas Jefferson Collection, holding many of the actual books read by the third President. And along the National Mall is the Folger Shakespeare Library, home to one of the few copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio. The Library regularly hosts productions of Shakespeare’s plays, poetry readings, and exhibits relevant to Shakespeare’s world. Visit the city in spring for the beauty and romance of the cherry blossoms, and stay for the fantastic history and literary sights.

England’s literary bona fides are unending and make it a dream honeymoon destination. Take in one of Shakespeare’s romances at The Globe Theater, walk the moors so loved by the Brontë sisters, sit in the village of Haworth at dusk for an otherworldly view of nature. Take an afternoon turn in the gardens of Jane Austen’s house in Hampshire while chatting about the love affair between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Maybe you want to check out a tour of the Harry Potter sets; they were good enough for the royals to visit. England is an amazing country, full of more literary sites and romantic day trips than could ever be listed in one place.

Northern California
Stay at the Hotel Boheme, visit Chinatown and the Chinese Historical Society to relive the worlds of Amy Tan’s novels, and spend a day at The Beat Museum to immerse yourself in the writing of the Beat Generation. Travel farther down the coast that inspired so many writers and photographers, and take in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean before a stop in Salinas and the National Steinbeck Center. The dramatic contrast of the ocean and the redwood forest, the fertile valleys and the busy cities, are as interesting as any other characters in East of Eden, and time spent here won’t soon be forgotten. Whether you find the beaches or the forests, the cities or the open roads, California has a stop — and an author — for every taste.

Even without its astounding literary connections, the City of Lights can be the honeymoon of a lifetime. Make a reservation at Le Procope to eat like Victor Hugo, or drink 40 cups of coffee like Voltaire at cafés around town. A cemetery might not seem like a romantic stop, but Père Lachaise is the most visited cemetery in the world, with residents including Oscar Wilde, Honoré de Balzac, Colette, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, and Richard Wright, where a true book-loving couple will be glad to pay their respects. Or, if graveyards aren’t your thing, step into the 1920s and get a drink in the same speakeasy where Hemingway met F. Scott Fitzgerald in April 1925; Le Rosebud is literary destination like no other. From your perch atop the Eiffel Tower or at a sidewalk café table, drink in the city that was home and muse to centuries of revolutionary writers.

Now that Americans can travel to Cuba to sightsee, the Hemingway House in San Francisco de Paula should be at the top of book lovers’ travel lists. Just outside of Havana you’ll find Finca Vigía, where Hemingway wrote his classics For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, and began A Moveable Feast. The house is on both the World Monuments Fund’s list of 100 Most Endangered sites and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Places, so it is very much worth the visit. Nearby, visitors can see the National Museum of Fine Arts, the mosaic art at Fusterlandia, and grab something to eat in Old Havana. For a unique adventure in a country few have vacationed to, book nerds can immerse themselves in a culture we’ve only read about in books like Dreaming in Cuban.

A step outside of Western culture may bring book nerd lovers to Japan. The country is currently home to Kenzaburo Oe, Haruki Murakami, and Natsuo Kirino, among others, but these literary heavy hitters are just part of a long literary tradition. Plan your trip using this list of cities where famous Japanese stories take place, find a Tokyo jazz bar where you can whip out your favorite Murakami novel, and carry a tour books like Lonely Planet Japan to ensure you hit all the major points of interest. To see Western lit through an Eastern lens, check out a themed night at a restaurant, where they often take on classics like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

From Barnes and Noble Reads

Quiz: Who is Your Ultimate Fictional Valentine?

Real Valentine’s Day dates are often disappointing, which is why when the going gets tough, the tough turn to fiction for a truly satisfying, lasting relationship with someone who will never arrive 30 minutes late to a dinner reservation you made two months in advance, ahem. In any case, our quiz below will help you sort out which fictional paramour you should pick up this February 14.

1. What is your ideal Valentine’s Day date?

 a) A proper meal with serious, earnest conversation.

 b) Whatever you can grab at the local cantina.

 c) You’re not much of a cook, it wasn’t something they taught in school. A nice restaurant with some dancing wouldn’t be too bad.

 d) A big party, with drinks and appetizers passed around on trays.

 e) A night on the couch, with some belly rubs.

2. How do you prefer to spend your free time?

 a) Caring for your family members, or looking out for your dearest friends.

 b) Usually you end up in some far flung corner of your city or town, helping a friend.

 c) In the library.

 d) Watching polo matches, or spending evenings with the best of society.

 e) Out on a walk. With you.

3. Favorite Valentine’s Day candy?

 a) You’ve haven’t much use for such trifles.

 b) Nothing special, sweetheart, but you will take a drink.

 c) A chocolate frog, and then you can share the card with your date.

 d) A box of Conversation Hearts; they are just such a laugh at parties.

 e) Anything in white chocolate, your diet can’t handle the richer stuff.

4. If offered an all expense paid vacation, where would you go?

 a) A long weekend at your estate, to be near only your closest family and friends.

 b) Not the desert. Or anywhere cold. Maybe not the jungle either. Somewhere out on your own seems best.

 c) You would love to use the time to help others, or reading some fantastic new book.

 d) Let’s go everywhere, as long as we can drive, and celebrate, and be happy.

 e) The beach. No, the woods. No, a long car ride. How about the park…

5. What song best describes you?

 a) “Lush Life” by Joey Alexander

 b) ”Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson

 c) “Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend

 d) “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey

 e) “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley

6. Which reality show would your binge watch?

 a) Again, this type of frivolousness doesn’t have a place in your life.

 b) Deadliest Catch

 c) You’d prefer a book, actually. Maybe some nonfiction.

 d) Real Housewives

 e) Dog Whisperer

7. Perfect Romantic Movie?

 a) Pride and Prejudice. Now there’s a couple that gets it right.

 b) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Come for the danger, stay for the romance (and the danger).

 c) Shakespeare in Love. When it comes to romance, you can’t top The Bard.

 d) Titanic. It isn’t romantic if it ends happily.

 e) Marley & Me. The perfect movie to cuddle up to.

Are you in love yet? Add up those answers, put on something fancy, and head out with your perfect match.

Mostly A’s: Mr. Darcy; Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

 You admire those who lead a proper life, with a hint of sass of thrown in for fun. Your friends and family come first, and you hope to find the same in your true love.

Mostly B’s: Han Solo; Star Wars the Force Awakens, by Alan Dean Foster

 A scruffy rogue who will constantly keep you surprised might just be your soul mate. Travel the world — or worlds — together, either running for your lives, or saving someone else’s.

Mostly C’s: Hermonie Granger; Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

 You spend afternoons in the library, and evenings helping out those less fortunate. Your match always has the best intentions at heart, along with a bit of a rebellious streak.

Mostly D’s: Daisy Buchanan; The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 Beautiful, frivolous, and out for a good time, Daisy Buchanan will help you see the best in life. There may be some ups and downs, but she is your shining green beacon (with a side of tragedy).

Mostly E’s: Your Dog; Dog Songs: Poems, by Mary Oliver

 What else to you really need besides unconditional love, a few face licks, and a good long walk? A dog is just about the ideal companion, 365 days year.

Originally published at on February 10, 2016.