From 1922 to 1936 Lovecraft published dozens of short stories and novellas centered around the dark woods, Puritan farmhouses, and academic establishments of New England. While the author himself created several of the cursed locations that he would revisit again and again in his "Lovecraft Country" (centered in Essex County, MA), the majority of the cities and towns featured in his tales and correspondence are very real... and very boring. So strap on your Miskatonic University fanny pack, Topless Roboteers, as we tour the sights (and smells) of Lovecraft's New England.
6) Wilbraham, MA
It's unclear which town the fictional one of Dunwich is essentially based on, but in letters Lovecraft wrote that Dunwich is "a vague echo of the decadent Massachusetts countryside around Springfield -- say Wilbraham..." Lovecraft visited Wilbraham in 1928 and must have been drawn in by the town's... I dunno. I've lived in Massachusetts for six years and I've never heard of the place. It's now hosts the headquarters of the Friendly's restaurant chain. Their onion straws are pretty good.
5) Townsend, VT
In the story, Akeley lives near a town called Townsend, located in south-eastern Vermont. The town hosts a whopping 1,150 residents and sports picture-perfect scenery. In short, it's boring. However, we can't knock Townsend too hard since that's where they filmed the Chevy Chase movie Funny Farm. Oh man, that's a funny one.
4) Gloucester, MA
Lovecraft called Innsmouth a "twisted version of Newburyport" and placed it near Ipswich. However, many believe that Innsmouth must be based on Gloucester, a major fishing hub on Cape Ann. Besides the similarities in the fish trade and geographical clues, Olmstead stays at the Gilman House hotel, most possibly based on Gloucester's historic Sargent-Murray-Gilman-Hough House. There's no human sacrifice or fish people though, but they do have an annual ritual that involves men running across a greased-up telephone pole.
3) Marblehead, MA
Lovecraft created Kingsport for his 1921 short "The Terrible Old Man," but after visiting the town of Marblehead during Christmastime in 1922, Lovecraft would shape Kingsport as the real-life Marblehead in several of his stories -- most notably in "The Festival." Lovecraft fell in love with Marblehead and once noted that a sunset in the town was "...the most powerful single emotional climax experienced during my nearly forty years of existence." Nowadays Marblehead is still a gorgeous town and fun to visit if you're 200 years old. Every street corner is like a postcard. There's a terrific beach, Devereaux, where a female friend of mine was assaulted and nearly abducted. You can play street hockey to your heart's content since a car drives by every four hours. Rent must be cheap seeing as how the median income there is $70,470. Here's hoping the Great Old Ones emerge from their slumber under the Atlantic and duke it out with the Elder Gods on Deveraux; washing that whole fucking town into the sea.
2) Salem, MA
Salem, a.k.a. the "Witch City," is now a hub for wiccans and warlocks from across the globe. And boy do the local businesses love exploiting their town's murderous past. Downtown is drowning in "witch shops" selling tarot cards and touristy t-shirts. While the town thinks it's honoring the men and women killed during the trials, in reality they're roping in tourists and bleeding them dry. Witches are in industry in Salem, nothing more. It's also home to Salem State College so during the school year expect to run into drunk "bros" starting fist fights outside every over-priced bar downtown has to offer. During tourist season, traffic is unreal. At least there's a nice view of the ocean.
1) Providence, RI
But unless you're an art student at Providence's prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, the city may be a bore for you. Criminals seem to like the city, reflected in it high rate of violent crime. Their roads are a mess, the cost of living is way higher than in most parts of the U.S., and for a city with an impressive downtown skyline, there is next to zero nightlife. For nerdy outsiders, we'd rather read about Lovecraft's Providence than actually travel there.