Hogwarts, Narnia, The Hundred Acre Wood…
There are so many places in fiction we wish we could visit. Some of those places are impossible to step foot in, because they are fictional. But that doesn’t mean we can’t immerse ourselves in the worlds our books lay out for us in other ways. There are plenty of places that mirror the settings of our books, or are the actual inspiration for a book’s settings. And other times, books take place in real live cities and landmarks. Then there are the authors behind the books we love—they all have birth places and places of inspiration as well. With all of the options available, it’s actually pretty easy to put together a literary vacation!
Below is my personal Literary Landmark Bucket List. These are all places I’d love to visit some day for the simple reason that they house some of my favorite characters or bore witness to some of my favorite authors’ brilliancy.
But first, as I was outlining this post, I realized that there were a few literary sites I actually have seen:
The Fort Pitt Tunnel from The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I was actually born and raised in Pittsburgh, so I’ve been through the Fort Pitt Tunnel more times than I can remember.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida
I went to Islands of Adventure to visit this gem of an attraction in 2010, so I haven’t seen the extension (yet). The park replica in California just opened, which is closer for me, so I hope to make another visit to Hogsmeade soon!
While there are numerous literary landmarks in New York, I missed most of them on my only visit to the city. However, there are one and a half sites I did see.
The first, and the only legitimate one, is the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park.
And now for the many literature-related sight-seeing I’d love to do in the future:
- King’s Cross Station, Platform 9 ¾, and the Leavesden Studio Tour
- Walden Pond
- The Plaza Hotel
- A literature staple within itself, and a fairly heavily utilized location in The Great Gatsby-It was at The Plaza that Tom confronted Gatsby about his feelings for Daisy. Also, the Champagne Bar within the Plaza frequented many a great writer
- Chatsworth House and Temple of Apollo in Sourhead, Wiltshire
- Chatsworth House in Derbyshire posed as Pemberley House in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and the Temple of Apollo was the site of Darcy’s first proposal-yeah, the excruciatingly longing one in the rain. That one.
- Emerald Isle, NC
- Sarah Dessen set several of her books, including Along For the Ride (my personal favorite), Keeping the Moon, and The Moon and More, in a fictional beach town called Colby. Emerald Isle is Colby’s muse.
- The Queensboro Bridge
- “The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.” –The Great Gatsby
- Sylvia Plath’s birthplace in Boston, MA
- F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthplace in Saint Paul, MN
- Walden Pond in Concord, MA
- Henry David Thoreau’s haven of a retreat and inspiration for Walden
- The Central Park Carousel
- “Then the carousel started, and I watched her go round and round…All the kids tried to grab for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she’d fall off the goddamn horse, but I didn’t say or do anything. The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it is bad to say anything to them.” –The Catcher in the RyeThe New York Public Library
- The Library Hotel in New York
- Cafe de la Rotonde in Paris
- A favorite of Fitzgerald and his fellow literary geniuses, with its very own quote in The Sun Also Rises: “No matter what cafe in Montparnasse you ask a taxi driver to bring you to from the right bank of the river, they always take you to the Rotonde.”
- Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland
- Hobbiton in New Zealand
Finally, for 2017’s annual Galentine’s Day trip, we will be going to San Francisco. While there, I would love to stop by City Lights Bookstore and have a drink across the street at the Vesuvio Café—two historic homes to the greatest minds of the Beat Generation. We’ll see if the Galentine’s Girls will be down for a literary pit stop!
What literature-based attractions do you dream of seeing? What sites have you already had the opportunity to visit? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about your experiences and expand my bucket list.