The American Writers Museum is excited to welcome back our partner AWM Destinations, the world’s leading travel agency for faraway, fantastical and totally fictional destinations. AWM Destinations showcases unique and exciting vacation destinations, while spotlighting some of the exciting attractions, dining, and hotel options available at each location. We hope you enjoy this series and we look forward to hearing about your travels with AWM Destinations.
Written by Matthew Masino
The House of Usher
On behalf of all the travel agents at AWM Destinations, we are thrilled to be back and sharing more of our favorite faraway and fantastical vacations with the readers of the American Writers Museum blog. In the past, we’ve explored lush, tropical islands and small, Midwestern towns. But now, we’re back to showcase some vacation spots that are sure to get your skin crawling and your face melting from sheer terror. Today, we’ll be traveling all the way to the Bay State for a visit to a quaint manor with a more than interesting story: The House of Usher.
Weeks before your stay at the Usher lot, you’ll receive a beautifully handwritten itinerary spelling out the exact details of your arrival and stay. After arriving at the AWM Destinations meet-up spot, you’ll hop on the back of one of our noble, purebred horses, who will carry you to your final destination. On your journey, you’ll bear witness to part of the country that few travelers are brave enough to see. Passing through dying fields of grain, you’ll spot little life or beauty in the natural environment around you.
Passing over a short bridge, you’ll arrive on the Usher grounds. Feel free to take some time to explore this area. Discover the beauty of the simple landscaping and the serenity of the lake which stands still and silent. Take a moment to look into the lake, gaze upon your reflection, and wonder what is about this place that feels so…unique. Breathe in deeply. It has been said that the air surrounding the House is unlike any you’ll find elsewhere on earth (or even in Heaven above).
Finally, you’ll arrive at the House. The House of Usher has stood in that spot for almost a century, and time has not been kind. The stone façade of the House gives the impression of great decay but, as you’ll see, the walls are still standing. A careful eye will spot a small crack leading down the front of the House, from the top, through the wall, until it is lost in the dark waters of the nearby lake. The House, designed in the Gothic style, has several small windows lining the second story which, to the more auspicious visitor have the appearance of eyes.
What You’ll Do There
Now, you may be wondering, why exactly would I ever want to visit the House of Usher? It sounds absolutely dreadful! There, fellow traveler, you would be wrong.
After handing off your luggage to the porter, you’ll venture inside the House and be introduced to your accommodations. Travelers who book with AWM Destinations will have the unique opportunity to stay in the Master Suite. Standing at almost 30 feet tall, the Master Suite is a masterclass in elegance. Haunting paintings line the walls while ornate furniture is available for your leisure. The most interesting aspect of the room is the library which contains vintage books from around the world, including the only known copy of Ververt et Chartreuse of Cresset. Musical instruments of all kinds are available to guests wishing to polish up their skills.
Whether you spend the day exploring the grounds, reading in the Master Bedroom, or tending to your personal affairs, the House staff will be near to provide any assistance you need. Throughout the day, you’re sure to discover just what makes this House so unique. Previous guests have noted a foreboding stillness present around every corner, which is a relief from the fast-paced world of today. You’ll rest easy knowing you picked the perfect vacation spot for your party.
Guests concerned about the safety of their valuables may ask to be shown to the House’s underground vault. The vault’s thick iron doors make it a perfect place to store items of great importance.
We at AWM Destinations do feel it is important to be transparent about some incidents which have taken place at the House. Decades ago, Rodrick Usher lived in the House. He was the last in a long line of a wealthy family. The Usher family was known around the state as being deeply generous with their wealth and great supporters of the arts. It was upon one cold winter’s night that Rodrick’s sister, Madeline, died. Rather than bury her, Rodrick chose to keep her, temporarily, in the vault below the House. What Rodrick did not realize is that his sister was not quite dead, as he would soon learn when Madeline climbed out of the tomb, scaring him to death.
Former employees have said you can still feel the spirits of Roderick and Madeline around the property. When you feel a chill down your spine, you may just be feeling the touch of the sister buried too soon. Loud noises and great creaks have been reported as coming from the Master Bedroom, where you’ll be staying.
When you’ve had enough, climb back onto your horse and ride, quickly, back to the comfort of modern civilization. As you pass the fruitless trees and dark clouds that make up the dying landscape, ask yourself, what is it that you’re so frightened of? We, for one, pray you never find the answer.
To learn more about other vacation packages, click here. Travelers should inquire about our special two-for-one sale, which includes a visit to the House of Usher and a day trip to the nearby town of Sleepy Hollow.
AWM Destinations is the world’s leading travel agency to faraway and fictional destinations. We provide custom travel services involving air, rail, twister transport, car rentals, magic portals, hotel reservations, tours, and sightseeing. Our mission is to connect travelers from around the world with a diverse range of destinations and experiences. From theme parks to tropical islands to fantasy kingdoms, AWM Destinations is your one-stop shop for inside access to the most exciting and exclusive destinations in the world, and beyond.
Matthew Masino is a content creator, writer, and theatre director based in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated with a B.F.A. in Theatre Directing from Columbia College Chicago in 2019. Matthew began writing for the AWM blog in April 2020, just after the museum’s closure and has since written more than two dozen articles for the blog. He is also responsible for creating the AWM Destinations blog series. As a theatre artist, Matthew has worked with the International Voices Project, the Chicago Fringe Festival, and BYOT Productions. You can learn more by visiting his website www.matthewmasino.com.