RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Writers' & Artists' Hideouts: Great Getaways for Seducing the Muse, by Andrea Brown

This eclectic guide by Andrea Brown will introduce you to nearly 530 of the most interesting resorts and B&B's you are ever likely to find in any other guide book. The underlying premise of Writers' & Artists' Hideouts is that writers need sanctuaries away from their day-to-day work environments to achieve greatness, or maybe just to finish a manuscript. As a working writer who is constantly under one deadline or another, I too, enjoy discovering new places to go and unwind. Even though I don't need a remote haven to write in, I do value time in a serene spot to read. For those who want a chance to write in uninterrupted solitude or those (like me) who want a chance to catch up on their reading, Brown's book offers an enticing array of destinations. Making these hideaways all the more appealing are the short passages penned by novelists and poets sprinkled among the listings. These tips for enticing a muse to come out and play are both inspiring and motivating.

I've been to a few of the places profiled in this book, and can attest that Brown's write-ups are accurate and helpful. The book includes destinations in 49 of the 50 US states (North Dakota is the only one unrepresented). The listings are further divided into ten geographic regions. Perhaps not surprisingly, since the author's home is in California, the western states have a larger number of listings. Descriptions are concise, and each one includes a brief discussion about the unique features of the property, general information about the cost, and contact information. A listing by city of all the venues makes the book especially easy to use.

This a great book for "random paging," a sure-fire way to awaken serious wanderlust. One place I want to check out is The Empress of Little Rock in Arkansas, which serves a full breakfast by candlelight. I'd also like to stay at the Mount Elbert Lodge, which is perched on a mountain ridge near Aspen, Colorado. Two more attractive options are the Channel Road Inn in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles -- for those wishing to emulate "lifestyles of the rich and famous" -- and the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon. The Sylvia is particularly made-to-order for writers -- each of the twenty rooms has a literary theme, and breakfast is served in the "Table of Contents" room.

Writers' & Artists' Hideouts reveals dozens of off-the-beaten path retreats you would probably never find on your own. Whether you want to seduce your muse or just need an escape from the rat race, this book is a wonderful and inspiring guide.

Mark Sedenquist

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