Need a Writing Retreat? Try Alabama’s F. Scott Fitzgerald Museum
For those of us who write full-time, staying at home all day, every day. can be exhausting.
Even in the best of times, we often find ourselves leaving the house to write elsewhere: in a coffee shop, at the library, secretly on a napkin in the car line … We do this to keep the creative juices flowing and the muse entertained.
With quarantine, however, it’s much harder to get out of the house and to stay motivated. Thankfully, many ways exist to get your dose of new environments to stay active and engaged in creative projects.
One great method of doing this is by getting out of the house for a short writing retreat weekend that also includes one of Montgomery, Alabama’s, best-kept non-secrets: The F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum.
Tucked away in Old Cloverdale rests the only museum dedicated to the Fitzgeralds in the world. Though open for tours, the museum offers an even better opportunity—its Airbnb suites.
The museum occupies the house the couple stayed in for some time early in the 20th century. According to the website, it’s where they wrote portions of the novels Save Me the Waltz (Zelda) and Tender is the Night (Scott). In addition to the museum, the house has been refurbished to include two private suites upstairs. They are decked out in period-inspired furnishings and even boast some of the original 1920s wallpaper.
To better speak on the Airbnb experience, I traveled there to stay for a few nights.
A large magnolia tree adorns the front yard, just in front of the narrow driveway. Getting out of the car, one can see the Fitzgeralds and the legacy of the Roaring ‘20s in the outside adornments.
Entering the house feels like traveling in time, though it’s outfitted with modern accouterments: air conditioning, electric lights, wifi. Indeed, the house has a distinctly romantic feeling to it, reminiscent of The Great Gastby. The suites themselves are separate, with their own electric locks, making check-in smooth and preserving guests’ privacy.
Within the Scott suite, where I stayed, the energy of the ‘20s only grows. A small desk abuts the windows, at which there are no drawers, computer screens or other distracting memorabilia (in fact, there is no TV anywhere in the suite). The bed, smallish, is still comfortable, and the kitchen, affectionately quaint. The floors slope slightly, but it adds to the charm of the place’s age.
All in all, the house is lovely and peaceful, a welcome escape from the hectic nature of daily life. The only disturbing thing about the experience would be the large portrait of Fitzgerald that hangs over the fireplace. While tasteful, something about the painting feels haunted.
Though that may be yet another feature: nothing like the judgmental eyes of another writer to get you off Twitter and into a word processor.
Click here to find out about the museum’s writing contests.
If you’re interested in staying at the Fitzgerald house, it’s easy enough to make a reservation. Both suites are listed separately on Airbnb, which makes the process simple. The Scott suite is better for smaller parties, having only the couch and a full-sized bed, while the Zelda suite contains two bedrooms, one with two twin beds.
Simply navigate to the website for the Fitzgerald house and scroll down, and both suites will be linked (or click the links above). From there, you can select from available dates, pay and communicate with the managers of the museum, as necessary. Each stay also comes with a complimentary tour of the downstairs museum, as well. Admission normally costs $10 per person, so it’s worth it for a group wanting to also take a tour.
Bottom line: If you can handle F. Scott Fitzgerald’s portrait staring down at you for a weekend, I highly recommend this museum and its accommodations for inspiration.