A pair of newly restored houses allow a glimpse into the lives of two major historic figures. It took $2.5 million and nearly six years to repair the arson damage to Thomas Wolfe's childhood residence (52 N. Market St.; 828/253-8304; ). The Asheville, North Carolina, house is the same one he famously mocked in Look Homeward, Angel. In Alabama, the Dexter Parsonage Museum (303 S. Jackson St.; 334/261-3270; ), once the home of Martin Luther King Jr., has preserved the reverend's presence to the tiniest detail—his hat and a cigarette still sit upon his desk.
—Carrie Levine