How was your Spring Break? Did you jet set off to some exotic locale? Is your mind still full of memories of sunshine, white sand beneath your toes and crystal blue waters?

Well, dear readers, the water I was surrounded by was mostly of the frozen variety as I decided to visit that illustrious spring break capital known as Boston. Yes, the Boston that is still recovering from the record-setting 104 inches of snow it’s gotten this winter. It goes without saying that I sometimes make interesting life decisions.

But fear not, because though there were a few times I thought I might have been in the early stages of frostbite while waiting for the T, I still managed to have a highly enjoyable and informative trip thanks in large part to Boston’s expansive literary heritage.

In October of last year, Boston created the country’s first Literary Cultural District, which according to the Massachusetts Cultural Council is “a compact, walkable area of a community with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets,” in this case, pertaining to literature. In addition to notable places, the Literary Cultural District also promotes literary events like book festivals and poetry slams.

Literary districts are the latest development in a phenomenon known as literary tourism, when we bibliophiles visit places associated with our favorite writers or mentioned in fictional texts. It’s a rapidly growing industry in cities across the globe, from “Sherlock Holmes” tours in London to following the footsteps of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” in Stockholm.

To be honest, there’s probably no better place in the U.S. to start a literary district than Boston. The entire city is pretty much your high school American Lit class come to life.

Of course, the first stop I made was to the recently installed Edgar Allan Poe statue. Poe and Boston have a somewhat fraught history, although that may be an understatement. Poe once said, “Bostonians have no soul.” While he was born in the city, Poe often criticized some of its most popular writers, especially those associated with the transcendentalist movement.

Though his birthplace has long since been demolished, there has been a recent effort by the city to reclaim the Poe legacy from Baltimore. As I have heard many Bostonians say of Baltimore, and I quote, “All he did was die there.” (In all fairness though, Richmond and New York could also stake claims to Poe.) In any case, the battle royale has resulted in one really cool statue, complete with raven and tell-tale heart.

(This particular statue may have also inspired a number of selfies in which Poe was captioned as “bae.” Interesting life decisions abound.)

The Literary Trail also includes the residences of a number of famous authors, including Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Robert Frost, Henry James, Henry David Thoreau and John Updike. If none of those names interest you, why are you even reading this column?

There’s also an apartment building that poet Sylvia Plath may have lived in at one time, and if not, I apologize profusely to any tenants I may have creeped out while staring at it from across the street.

Then there’s the luxurious hotel Taj Boston, where Tennessee Williams revised his pièce de résistance, “A Streetcar Named Desire.” And the Tremont Temple, which hosted a variety of speakers including Charles Dickens for his first public reading of “A Christmas Carol.”

You can visit the Old South Meeting House, the church of Benjamin Franklin (who was baptized there) and Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American poet whose works garnered her great fame in England and helped gain her freedom.

And of course, don’t forget to visit the Old Corner Bookstore, internationally known in the nineteenth century for revolutionizing book publishing and releasing works by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Longfellow, just to name a few.

The Old Corner Bookstore, which happens to be built on land once belonging to Puritan troublemaker Anne Hutchinson, is a stop on the Freedom Trail, Literary Trail and Women’s Heritage Trail, so obviously, it now houses a Chipotle. I can personally testify to the unique feeling of being surrounded by period architecture and literary history while asking for more corn salsa.

You might be wondering, “Is this chick being paid by the Boston Department of Tourism?” The answer, sadly, is no. Though if packages of cream pies and clam chowder showed up on my doorstep after the publication of this column, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t ask too many questions.

As someone who avidly loves to read and travel, literary tourism just seems like a match made in heaven. If Boston’s Literary District proves successful, the idea will hopefully catch on in other cities with rich literary heritages like New York, New Orleans and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Heck, with a little research, maybe even here in Ann Arbor.

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