Discover America Radio
Hartford, Connecticut

The Mark Twain House and Museum

Visit the fascinating homes of two famous American writers


Literary fans come from around the world to visit the home of beloved author Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, a pen name he derived from the term used by Mississippi River pilots to indicate a water depth of two fathoms. “To us,” Twain said, “our house…had a heart, and a soul, and eyes to see us with…It was of us, and we were in its confidence, and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction.”

Although more commonly associated with his home town of Hannibal, Missouri, Twain always held this home in Hartford’s Nook Farm section in special regard. The custom-designed High Victorian mansion was commissioned from well-known New York architect Edward Tuckerman Potter. Twain lived here with his family from 1874 to 1891, during which he penned some of his most acclaimed works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The beautifully restored 19-room mansion features decorative work by Louis Comfort Tiffany and nearly 10,000 Victorian-era objects. Guided tours point out personal items, including the three-ton Paige typesetter, an ill-fated invention in which Twain invested, leading to his bankruptcy. A striking contemporary museum stands adjacent to the house, further detailing the life and times of this master storyteller—a key feature is a small theatre showing a 22-minute Ken Burns film biography.

Virtually across the street, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center celebrates the legacy of the author of the greatest antislavery novel of all time, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, considered to be the first international best seller. This compound is anchored by the brick Gothic Victorian ‘cottage’ (though substantial, it is not nearly as grand as neighbour Twain’s) where the author resided from 1873 until she died in 1896. Guided tours provide insights into Stowe’s abolitionist politics and then-revolutionary social views.

This trip idea can be found in:

1,000 Places to See in the United States & Canada Before You Die®

Trip idea text ©Patricia Schultz. For contact information about the places mentioned and many more USA trip ideas, see Patricia Schultz's blockbuster book.

Welcome to Discover America!

Now that you have registered, you can save trip ideas to your suitcase.

Start exploring

Enter your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Please check your email.

Start exploring

The password on your account has successfully been changed. Please use your new password to login.

Start exploring

This website is set to 'allow all cookies' for the best user experience. By continuing without changing this setting, you are consenting to this. You may change your settings at any time at the bottom of this page.

More information about cookies

Cookies are very small text files that are stored on your computer when you visit some websites.

We use cookies to make our website easier for you to use. You can remove any cookies already stored on your computer, but these may prevent you from using parts of our website.

If you choose to disable non-essential cookies, the website will:

  • Allow you to log in and remember you are logged in, while in session
  • Determine your country of origin in order to serve you the most relevant version of the site

This website will not:

  • Restrict welcome messaging to the first time you visit the site
  • Track any activity on the site for analytics purposes

More information about cookies