Many famous works of literature have Adirondack links, some of them surprising. The Adirondack Center for Writing has created an Adirondack Literary Map that shows where these passages are all set. The map includes everything from a Nancy Drew novel set in Lake Placid and “The Spy Who Loved Me” in Glens Falls to classics like “The Sweet Hereafter,” celebrating the intersection of writing and place within the Park.
When Sylvia Plath broke her leg skiing at Mount Pisgah in Saranac Lake, she sent this telegram home to her family: “BRINGING FABULOUS FRACTURED FIBULA NO PAIN JUST TRICKY TO MANIPULATE WHILST CHARLESTONING.” Whether this was before or after she wrote scenes of “The Bell Jar” from the Adirondacks is up for debate.
The Literary Map anchors the work of fiction writers like Plath, Theodore Dreiser, and Joyce Carol Oates to their inspiration in the Park. In addition to visiting writers, the map features prominent local authors like Russell Banks and Joe Bruchac, and the work of any published writer influenced directly or indirectly by the Adirondacks. Also listed are pieces by the many local authors keeping our literary tradition strong, like Mason Smith and children’s authors Gary and Justin VanRiper.
For many of these writers, the Adirondacks have been a place of inspiration and healing; to others, a source of hardship and painful memory. Our landscape has always been one of heightened senses, and the art of writing is more lively and diverse today than it has ever been.
The Adirondack Literary Map is an intuitive way to see the park through a literary lens — perfect for an afternoon drive, or a family vacation tracing the footsteps of literary giants. And if neither of those fit into your schedule, simply take a virtual tour, and see how the Adirondacks inspire some of the nation’s best writing.