New England has a storied history with the stories we tell. Whether for a new fictional tale or the screenplay of the next best film, authors, poets, director’s and more have fueled their creative juices with the beauty of New England. Boston and towns out yonder became the setting for dozens of classic stories. If you want to be the main character and shadow the life of your favorite protagonist, explore these literary spots in and around Boston that inspired the stories we love.
The famous sculpture in the Boston Public Garden is actually a tribute to the 1941 children’s tale that tells the story of a mother and her ducklings making their way from the Charles to the Public Garden! Every year, the city celebrates with a Duckling Day festival on Mother’s Day!
The 1997 American psychological drama that won Damon and Affleck the Oscar for best screenplay is not only set throughout Boston and Cambridge, but actually filmed there too. In fact, Damon’s Southie address from the film was recently on the market.
The 2nd feature-length film from Director Hussein Hammouda follows a couple as they gather with old college friends at an engagement party. The love triangle unfolds in a fall storybook setting inspired by Hammouda’s time as college student at UMASS Amherst. The movie was filmed at a lake house with gorgeous foliage that draws you in and makes viewers feel like they’re hiking the Berkshires with the cast. You’ll also find plenty of maroon wardrobe throughout the movie which takes place during homecoming weekend (go Minutemen)!
4. Park Street; The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Pastry Chef by day and Author by night, Louise Miller’s debut book follows a Boston pastry chef needing a break from city life. She escapes to a rural abode in Vermont and falls in love. Miller’s writing is so descriptive you can practically smell the treats baking! Miller herself is an actual Boston at Park Street’s Union Club of Boston where she is the head of pastry department, responsible for the menu planning and the execution of all desserts and pastry for dinner and private functions.
Th fictional town of Stars Hollow is inspired by the Connecticut town of Washington. The show’s creator and writer, Amy Sherman Palladino got the idea for Gilmore Girl during her stay at the Mayflower Inn which also inspired Lorelai and Sookie’s Dragonfly Inn.
6. Martha’s Vineyard; Jaws by Steven Spielberg
The 1975 thriller is set in fictional New England town named Amity Island, but actually filmed throughout Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. Nearly the entire island was in the movie, but most famously the the Jaw’s bridge, formally referred to as the American Legion Memorial Bridge, is one of the most popular tourist attractions for fans of the movie.
The movie title is inspired by the real pizza shop which screenwriter and director, Amy Holden Jones discovered while summering in Mystic, Connecticut. After the films major success, the pizza shop actually renovated to resemble its depiction in the film which starred Julia Roberts and was also Matt Damon’s first film role.
8. Nantucket Hotel; The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
The queen of summer reading, all but a few of Hilderbrand’s 33 books are set on the island of Nantucket. Many of her characters live in Boston but summer on the island, and her characters make regular appearances throughout each new book, sucking you into the binge-worthy reads as if you know the characters personally. The Hotel Nantucket, one of our absolute favorite Hilderbrand books, is inspired by the Nantucket Hotel.
9. Somerville’s Winter Hill; The Departed by Martin Scorsese
The fictional film is inspired by the true events of Somerville’s Winter Hill Gang, one of Boston’s most infamous organized crime groups. The film mainly shot in Boston and New York, stopping in Fenway, Quincy, Charlestown, Chinatown, and Dorchester. It also won Best Picture at the 79th Academy Awards in 2007 and popularized the Dropkick Murphy’s I’m Shipping Up to Boston.
10. Newton; Defending Jacob by William Landay
A book before it was an Apple TV short, the story follows the unsolved murder of a 14-year-old Newton student. Newton’s Cold Spring Park and Green line stop make appearances in the show, which was also filmed in Newton.
11. Boston University and Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage; The Social Network by David Fincher
A story following Harvard dropout and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerburg better be filmed in Cambridge. Harvard actually denied the filmmakers access to much of the campus, so they had to look to other universities in the area. Much of the rowing scenes were filmed at Boston University’s athletic center on Babcock Street in addition to the Charles. The burger scene also took place at Mr. Bartley’s in Harvard Square.