For many of us, more time at home has led to the discovery of new hobbies or a return to forgotten talents, perhaps picking up an old instrument or dusting off an unfinished essay. With the start of a new year and (inevitably) the resolutions that follow, it’s the perfect time to recommit to these artistic endeavors—and maybe let travel, or even just the idea of it, spur creativity.
We’ve rounded up seven U.S. destinations to foster each art form, so when it’s time to plan your creative retreat, you can find inspiration in the landscape, history, or design of a place.
Where’s better to write than a sunny, waterfront retreat that’s also home to the Ernest Hemingway Museum: Key West. Considered one of the great American novelists, Hemingway wrote many of his works on the island and even built the first in-ground pool here in the late 1930s. You can seek similar inspiration with a dip in the water at a vacation rental like Papa's Hideaway - Garden of Eden (fun fact: Papa was Hemingway’s nickname), just a block off Duval Street.
The stunning landscapes of New England range from coastal to wooded and give any painter a backdrop worth memorializing. Many iconic works were created here, including the non-landscape Americana captured by Norman Rockwell, a former resident of Vermont and the Berkshires. Whichever subject is your focus, New England has plenty of vacation rentals that beam in natural light, as seen with the wall-to-wall windows at The Eliot Noyes in Martha’s Vineyard.
The geological wonders and adobe design found around Sedona make it an ideal setting to sculpt a masterpiece. Take in the natural beauty of the high mesas and rocky cliffs right from your private porch, if you book a vacation rental like the aptly named Spectacular View. Or head into town to spark creativity at one of the many galleries featuring works from native and red rock-inspired artists.
With a heavy focus on mid-century design, there’s no better place than Palm Springs to get the wheels turning when it comes to architecture. Annual events, such as Modernism Week, open the doors of iconic homes created by John Lautner, Albert Frey, and E. Stewart Williams. There are also self-guided tour options, so you can take in the sights at your leisure—and otherwise study minimalist design firsthand (and poolside) at a vacation rental like Brilliant Sun.
The Sundance Film Festival may be digital this year, but the indie film mecca is still a top spot to perfect your cinematic craft. Free from the glitz, glam, and crowds of Hollywood, Utah has been home to the nonprofit festival—named for Robert Redford’s character in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid—since 1978. Here you can hunker down in a cabin, like the free-from-distraction Creekside Chalet in nearby Alta, and get to work on the next great drama or documentary.
New Orleans is rich with history, and its theatrical roots run just as deep. Famed playwright Tennessee Williams spent more than 40 years living in the French Quarter and wrote A Streetcar Named Desire just off the tracks on St. Charles Avenue. The city pays tribute to him every spring with a literary festival, and you can still visit many of Williams’s residences and writing spots—not far from this Rosalie Garden vacation rental—to pen original plotlines.
Though the Smoky Mountains put you about 200 miles from the country music capital of Nashville, the region’s quiet beauty will afford you all the time and inspiration needed to create a hit. Can’t you picture strumming the guitar on the deck of Legacy Mountain Resort? Plus, the area is home to one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dolly Parton, who famously wrote “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” on the same day—not a bad source of motivation.