Following F. Scott Fitzgerald

Let’s be honest, this event caught my eye because it includes my surname. And because I’m a writer (The Great Gatsby is a book I’d eagerly re-read, and I don’t do that often.). But the F. Scott Fitzgerald Walking Tours taking place this weekend (marking the anniversary of his birth here on September 24, 1896) also highlight a favorite Minnesota neighborhood of mine, Summit Hill.

This St. Paul area somehow manages to be historic and quaint, bustling and serene, all at the same time. And it’s lucky enough to claim a writing legend like Fitzgerald. What’s not to love about that?!

So this Saturday and Sunday, the James J. Hill House will offer 75-minute guided walking tours of the town in which Fitzgerald grew up. Interesting tidbit: Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy from 1908–1911, and was first published in a school newspaper when he was just 13. Incidentally, he was expelled from SPA at 16, for not giving the rest of his studies much concern. Oops. He never was much a student though, eventually leaving Princeton University early as well. But it’s what he went on to write (The Beautiful and Damned! Tender Is the Night!) that made such a lasting impact on readers’ and writers’ worlds. And it’s the area where he first lived that continues to inspire writers today.

You’ll stop at his birthplace (481 Laurel Ave.) and where he wrote his first novel, This Side of Paradise (599 Summit Ave.). The tour doesn’t bring you into these homes, but shares a running commentary along the way—and hopefully some beautiful weather.

The tour is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, and $8 for those ages 6-17 (with a $2 discount for MHS members). Reservations are required, so call 651-297-2555 ASAP. It’s a rare chance to experience Fitzgerald’s stories, words, and work—and his historic hometown!

F. Scott Fitzgerald Walking Tours
Sept. 22, 2012, Sept. 23, 2012 | 1 and 3 p.m.
James J. Hill House
345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

Note: The Hill House also offers 90-minute Summit Avenue Walking Tours Sept. 22, 23, 29 and 30 (11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays). Reservations recommended.

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