At the end of my last post on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house I mentioned that a year after she moved into the house another famous writer built a house practically in her back yard. That writer was Mark Twain.
Like the Stowe’s house, photography is not allowed inside Twain’s house. We had a new tour guide for Twain’s house, a young man named Josh. Walking into Twain’s house is a definite ‘wow’ experience. You step into a grand hall that is a wonderland of gracefully carved wood, patterns, and light-enhancing silver stenciling. A very cool architectural innovation in this room is a fireplace with a split flue between which is a window that lets in light from the drawing room to the right. At first you don’t realize that its a window. You think you’re looking into a mirror…until you realize you can’t see your reflection. Click here for the floor plan of the house and a virtual tour.
A view of the house from the parking lot, which is where the Nook River once flowed (it is now below ground).
The back of Twain’s house. The uppermost room on the left is his billiard room, where Twain wrote at a desk in the corner. The room below this one was originally his study, but his daughter’s nursery was right across the hall, so he may not have gotten much work done there. After he moved his writing space to the third floor, the study became the school room.
Brick work detail. When you stand on this porch you can how close Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house is.
Stowe’s house is just behind a few trees. A teenager with a good arm could hit it with a snow ball (note to teenage readers: this is not a challenge). The building to the right is the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.
A view of the front of the house. The front law sweeps down to the street, but it was too icy for me to make it to the front sidewalk.
The carriage port or porte cochere.
The front door under the carriage port which leads into the great hall.
In the visitor’s center. A penny press machine (we collect pressed pennies so I was excited to see this) and a Lego Twain statue are next to a bookstore that carries everything that Twain wrote in various editions, books about Twain, nicknacks, toys, and general fun stuff.
Speaking of Legos, this is a Lego replica of Twain’s house at the Hartford airport.
Back to the Twain Center–this cut out was just around the corner from the pressed penny machine near the rest rooms. I think Twain would approve of the pressed penny machine and the Lego statue, but I’m not sure what he’d make of this! I was alone or I’d have had my picture taken for sure.
A final glimpse of the house from the parking lot. The building to the right is the carriage house.
You can tour the Stowe and Twain house’s individually or see them as a joint tour. Both are worth the price whether your a literary fans, nineteenth century enthusiast, or an architectural aficionado.