Edgar Allan Poe travel for Halloween weekend

Even though Edgar Allan Poe’s funeral do-over in Baltimore was a couple weeks ago, there are several locations where it’s not too late to pay tribute to this literary master of horror. Poe, a traveler himself, moved between Boston, Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore, plus a few towns in between. Because several of the Poe-related landmarks still exist, it’s possible to follow his trail from his birth to his death.

Given that this is the 200th year of his birth, why not pay Poe tribute by heading to one of these locations for a Halloween weekend remembrance?

Bring a copy of his short stories or poems with you to add to the ambiance. Make sure “The Raven” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” are among them: some of the stops are where they were written.

First stop, Boston:

  • Poe was born on Carver Street where an historical marker denotes the location of his birthplace. Poe was born to actor parents January 19, 1809
  • Fort Independence at Boston Harbor, now a state park, is where Poe enlisted as a private at age 18 in order to support himself. This was after he dropped out of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the next stop on this Poe tour.

Virginia was an important state at various points in Poe’s life.

In Charlottesville:

  • At the University of Virginia, you can visit Poe’s dormitory room at 13 West Range. It holds artifacts like the quill pen Poe might have used. His top hat and green coat are part of the Poe legacy the university has maintained.

In Richmond:

  • St. John’s Church, 2401 East Broad St., Richmond. The church graveyard is where Poe’s mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe is buried, as well as Thomas Willis White, his boss when Poe worked at the Southern Literary Messenger.
  • Elmira Shelton House, 2407 East Grace Street, Richmond. Even though Poe courted Shelton for several years until and she agreed to marry him, they never did have the wedding. He died in Baltimore 10 days before the ceremony was to take place. This was where Shelton lived when Poe came back to Richmond.
  • Talavera, 2315 West Grace St., Richmond. Once the home of writer Susan Talley, a friend of Poe’s sister, this is where Poe gave a reading a few weeks before his death. He and his sister Rosalie visited this house often.
  • Poe Statue on the grounds of Virginia’s state capitol building in Richmond.

In Petersburg:

  • The Hiram Haines House at 12 Bank St. in Petersburg is where Poe spent his honeymoon. Back then the building was a coffee house

Other Virginia locations are covered in Poe Revealed where I found the above information. This site is an unusual glance into American history, as well as, an interesting round-up of Poe inspired places.

Next stop, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

  • Head to Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. This house is where Poe lived and wrote for part of the seven years he lived in Philadelphia. While he was in Philadelphia, Poe penned: “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” among others.

Last stop, Baltimore, Maryland.

  • To orient yourself to Poe’s life in Baltimore–and elsewhere, start off at the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. He lived in the house from 1883 to 1885 before he moved to Richmond. One of the more unusual displays at this museum are several of the bottles of cognac that have been left on Poe’s grave over the years. This mysterious “Poe Toaster” started paying respect in 1949. Three red roses are always included in the offering.
  • For a real creep-out part of the tour, stop by Church Hospital, formerly Washington College Hospital. This hospital is where Poe died after possibly being drugged and beaten. His death wasn’t easy. According to the description of physician’s notes, he wandered in and out of consciousness making morbid outbursts each time he was conscious.
  • At the Enoch Pratt Free Library, you’ll find several Poe artifacts, letters, poetry and photographs. The collection also includes a lock of Poe’s hair and a piece of his coffin.
  • As an end point of this Poe tour, linger at Poe’s grave in the graveyard at Westminster Hall. The hall is a converted Gothic style church. Of course Poe would be buried next to a Gothic church. The gravestone is not the original and its location is approximate to where it is thought he was buried. When Poe died, he didn’t get much of a send off. Only 10 people (or less) attended his funeral.

Baltimore has been making up to Poe by throwing Nevermore 2009, a year-long, city-wide festival of events for the 200th year of his birth.

Hyatt hotels in Boston outsource housekeepers in a dirty deal

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz is a bit disgusted with three Hyatt hotels in the Boston area. As she wrote in her column in Sunday’s The Plain Dealer, the management of these hotels recently had longtime housekeepers train a fresh crop of housekeepers who had been imported from Georgia.

The longtime housekeepers, one who had been with the company for 22 years, thought they were training staff to fill in for vacation leave hours. They thought this because that’s what management told them.

Boy, were those housekeepers duped. They were let go as soon as the new employees were trained. In all, 100 workers were given the heave ho. Those who were brought up from Georgia are cleaning rooms for almost half the salary of the longtime employees, plus they don’t receive benefits. The longtime housekeepers did.

Schultz isn’t the only one who is disgruntled with the management who has tossed out loyalty in the name of the bottom dollar. The mayor of Boston is calling the move “crude business” and hundreds turned out to protest outside the Hyatt Regency Boston last Thursday. This Boston Globe article that outlines the controversy also states that there is talk that people should boycott the Hyatt hotels that practice such dirty business.

Along with not knowing much about fair play, it seems that the management of those Hyatt hotels should consider this: If part of what one pays for at a higher end hotel is great service, cutting corners on salaries of those people who clean drinking glasses and the toilets may not be the best plan. Remember those hotel drinking glass horror stories that came out two years ago?

Layover: Boston

Beantown! As one of the most historic cities in the U.S., there’s plenty to look forward to should you have some time during a layover at the Boston Logan International airport or close by. Boston’s public transportation system, the “T” for short, reaches Logan on the Blue (Wonderland) line, and is also just 20 minutes from downtown (via the Sumner Tunnel) by car.

Try some of these layover activities on for size…

Short Layovers (3 hours or less):

  • The Logan Airport is one of the few that hosts a selection of salons and spas on the premises. Check out the Classique Hair and Nail Salon in Terminal C. While you’re there, you can get a jet setter’s pampering at the Jet Setter Mini Spa, also in Terminal C. There’s also the XpresSpa in Terminal B.
  • If you really want to get pampered (or need some exercise) and don’t mind shelling out a little extra dough, head to the Hilton Health Club & Spa at Logan International Airport, a sun-flooded facility that has a gym, sauna, and express massages. Take one of the free buses that run every 10 to 15 minutes between the airport and hotel.
  • If you need to fill that belly, there are a few decent locally established restaurants. Both Boston Beer Works and the Legal Seafoods Restaurant are located in Terminal C.
  • Revere Beach near the quaint enough town of Winthrop is worth a quick look if you’re really itching to dart out of the airport.

Longer Layovers (4 hours or more):

  • America’s oldest park, the Boston Common, also functions as the heart of Boston. Part of the Freedom Trail runs through the common, and a wintertime favorite is the Frog Pond, which doubles as an ice skating rink. Check out the spooky old graveyard near the Boylston “T” stop. The famous Cheers bar is also close by at 84 Beacon Street.
  • Faneuil Hall or Haymarket Square is a great place to grab some grub, people watch, and shop.
  • Boston’s very own little Italy called the North End is within walking distance from Faneuil Hall, and there’s a beautiful new green that is worthy of a stroll.
  • The Aquarium is also close by and has a spacious IMAX theater there.

Other tips:
Got kids? Head to Terminal A and let your kids play at the “Kidport,” a comfortable place for kids to let out some energy, complete with an airplane climbing sculpture, baggage claim slide, wall mural, window display, and magnetic poetry wall.

Photo of the Day (6.9.09)

The Irish population in Boston, where I’m currently spending my sabbatical, is among the highest in the nation, Beantown being the recipient of many immigrants during the potato famine in the mid 1800’s. You can see influence from the Irish all over the city, from statues erected in downtown Boston to pubs scattered throughout the city.

This photo, apparently taken by CaptBrando at Kinsey’s in Boston is the subject of all of those pubs and the great unifier among many travelers around the world. Beer. Magnificent, magnificend beer.

Got any cool photos that you’d like to share with the world? Add them to the Gadling Pool on Flickr and it might be chosen as our Photo of the Day. Make sure you save them under Creative Commons though, otherwise we can’t use them!

Photo of the Day (6.6.09)

Take one guess where this photo was shot. Even if you’ve never been there, it’s not too difficult to tell. If you said America, you’re really warm. If you were even more accurate and said BOSTON, you’re right on the money! Maybe the towering blue Hancock building gave it away? Or was it the dark clouds that somehow loom over the city every fall and spring?

Though this photo, which comes to us in high definition from Patrick Powers, doesn’t show it, Beantown is celebrating the end of spring and the beginning of summer. And you know what that means: baseball, the Red Sox, Fenway — and lots of ’em! I was just there last weekend, and while the weather looked like this when I arrived, it was a bright and hot 75 degrees when I left. Ah…. Boston…

If you have some great travel shots you’d like to share, be sure to upload them to the Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one as our Photo of the Day!