If you’re a booklover, you know what it’s like to fall in love with the words of a truly amazing story that you can’t stop thinking about long after you’ve finished the last page. Chances are you’ve imagined what it’d be like to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, or maybe what it’d be like to simply wander through the Shire in Lord of the Rings.
And luckily for Virginians, you don’t have to travel all the way to Scotland or Middle Earth to experience the magic of these stories. There are a few places to visit that can help you bring these stories to life even more right here.
Here are five places throughout the state that every booklover should visit.
This cozy Airbnb brings Middle Earth to the mountains of Virginia in this hobbit-themed home that was created to look like the “hobbit-holes” or “smials” that the hobbits live in in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And it certainly does not disappoint! Between the circular doorways, intentional decor, and the seed-cake waiting upon your arrival, this Airbnb truly captures all the right details and is a spot that any fans of these books won’t want to miss! Fairfield, Virginia
Fans of the Harry Potter series should be sure to check out the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, located in Alexandria. This museum — which served as a real apothecary for over 130 years—hosts Harry Potter-themed tours and special events throughout the year. Additionally, fans of the series can check out centuries-old bottles containing ingredients that are used in many potions through the Harry Potter series—including “Dragon’s blood” and “Mandrake root.” And for readers of Diana Gabaldon’s popular Outlander series, the museum also hosts an “Outlandish Tour,” which touches on some of the herbal medicines featured in the books. 105-107 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria
Think of classic gothic literature, and Edgar Allan Poe is bound to come to mind. Poe’s influence on this genre was great, and for lovers of this type of story—or just those interested in the history of literature in general—the Poe Museum in Richmond is a must-see! The museum features several exhibits focusing on various parts of the author’s life and legacy and displays manuscripts and first and early editions of many of his well-known works. 1914 E. Main St., Richmond
Looking to find your next favorite story? The Virginia Festival of the Book may be able to help you out! Based in Charlottesville, this annual festival brings together both readers and writers to celebrate books and literacy. Hear from hundreds of speakers discussing their new books in genres ranging from fiction to poetry to cookbooks. The 2022 festival dates are set to be March 16 through 20. 946 Grady Ave., Ste. 100, Charlottesville
Last but certainly not least, you can’t discuss book spots in Virginia without mentioning the Green Valley Book Fair. Located in Mount Crawford just south of Harrisonburg, this massive discount bookstore is a haven for book lovers. Just be sure to have a spare couple hours when visiting. With more than 500,000 books across 60 different categories, you’re bound to find at least one new story to take home. Or several. And while the prices are what you’d expect to find at a used book store, all the books here are new. Green Valley Book Fair is open weekly Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 2192 Green Valley Ln., Mount Crawford
Megan Herr is as an editor and writer in the Shenandoah Valley. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Penn State University.
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