Novel idea: Vacation where your favorite book is set

I originally wrote this story for ThriveWire–check it out here.

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Instead of searching for the perfect book to read on vacation, why not bring one of your favorite books to life on your summer vacation by visiting where it takes place.

Road trip down California’s Highway 1 like Jack Kerouac

Granted Kerouac traveled the entirety of the U.S. while writing On the Road, but he and his fellow Beats left their greatest mark from San Francisco to Venice Beach. Begin in San Francisco with a night at retro chic Hotel Bohème ($200). Visit the Beat Museum and after, cut through Jack Kerouac Alley to City Lights bookstore. There you will find the original scroll version of On the Road. Stop by Vesuvio Café for a tequila/rum concoction known as “The Kerouac.” As you drive down the coast, pull over at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur and Beyond Baroque in Venice.

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Take tea in Jane Austen’s Bath, England

Not only did Austen spend a decade of her short life in Bath, but the former “spa town” also served as scenery for many of her novels. While there, use the Jane Austen of Bath iPhone app to lead you around—you can even stay in her Georgian-style home ($150). Also visit the Jane Austen Centre, the ancient Roman Baths and take tea at the world-famous Sally Lunn’s. Go in September for Bath’s 10-day Austen festival. (Did you know Austen’s Emma turns 200 this year?)

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Find vampires in Forks, Washington—Twilight-style

The rainiest town in the contiguous 48 states is now Twilight central, thanks to author Stephanie Meyer’s best-selling fantasy series. Forks has taken on the honor by offering Twilight tours—complete with a map of the novels’ most important places such as Bella’s home and high school. Stay in the Huckleberry Forks Cabins ($95) and take a hike through the lush Hoh Rainforest. You’ll find signage that reads “No Vampires Beyond this Point.” This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Twilight being published with the Forever Twilight in Forks Festival.

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Sleuth in Stockholm, Sweden like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Experience Scandinavia from the perspective of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling crime trilogy’s characters—journalist Mikael Blomkvist and hacker Lisbeth Salander. The Stockholm City Museum offers an award-winning walking Millennium Trilogy Tour. The tour includes sights such as Salander’s 21-room apartment in Old Town, Blomkvist’s hillside home and the Mellqvist Kaffebar—the same café where Larsson supposedly began writing the novels. Stay in the Hotel Skeppsholmen ($250) where the cast and crew of the 2011 movie stayed while filming.

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Visit Ernest Hemingway’s World in Key West, Florida 

Getting to this tropical playground requires no passport, but you’ll be transported to another world–a world of sandy beaches and rum drinks. Visit Hemingway’s sprawling estate where he wrote A Farewell to Armsand pet one of the famous six-toed cats—descendants of Hemingway’s original pet. Stay at the kitschy Blue Marlin Motel ($100) where Hollywood stars did in the 1960s. You can’t leave without stopping by Hemingway’s favorite haunt Sloppy Joe’s Bar—start growing your beard now if you want to compete in their Hemingway Lookalike contest in July.

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Is there a place you’ve read about in a novel that you would like to visit? I took a semester on Scottish literature and have since wanted to visit the highlands. I’m also partial to Southern literature–my mother and I have often discussed visiting To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee’s hometown and casually running into her at a Sunday church service! A few more ideas:

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There are California girls and there are Bakersfield girls. I am the latter.

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