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A great book is also a great escape, and there’s no better time to think about escaping reality than in the middle of this pandemic. Though travel might not be top-of-mind right now, here’s a getaway you can dream of tucking into with a stack of novels from your favorite early-19th-century British author: You can rent Jane Austen’s former home in Bath, England, on Airbnb.
Size-wise, the two-bedroom apartment in Bath is more Miss Bates than Miss Woodhouse, but I have to think that even the protagonist of “Emma” would find outsized charm in the colorful décor. The Austen apartment is packed with bright blues, and modern pieces blend seamlessly with the Victorian furniture. I’m ready to move in with my to-be-read stack — most of which I would read while lounging on that blue velvet sofa — for the rest of this pandemic.
The host, Maxwell, wrote on the listing that this was the Austen family’s home from 1801-1805, and that Jane started her work on “The Watsons,” an early (and unfinished) novella, while living there.
The bedrooms look cozy.
Really, really cozy. The second bedroom appears to be a squeeze — just enough room for an unfolded futon.
The kitchen is bright and cheerful in blue, with a big bank of windows along one side. What would Jane have cooked? Or would she have ordered take-away because she’s too busy reading or writing to cook?
The listing says the kitchen overlooks a sunny courtyard filled with roses. Sounds romantic! Unless you’re feeling too prideful and prejudiced to appreciate it.
The dining area includes a little study nook tucked in near the antique table.
“The dining area features a William IV Indian rosewood dining table & sideboard, and early 19th c. Indian caned chairs,” host Maxwell wrote on the listing.
It’s all yours starting at $175 a night, though like most Airbnb listings, the price on Jane Austen’s former home is dynamic — it increases based on time of year and on weekends. (Really, anyone with sense and sensibility would up the rates for weekends and holidays.)
Feeling the persuasion? Ready to book it? Since you’re likely to have to fly into London for this adventure, you should be aware of the current travel restrictions. Though it reopened travel from other countries, England has kept in place its travel restrictions on U.S. residents, requiring Americans to quarantine upon arrival for 14 days (as of publication time). And no detours to sunny beaches in Spain or France — most European countries have banned U.S. travelers from entry for all but a limited list of reasons as our numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to climb.
Maybe just bookmark this one for a future trip!