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Friday, October 28, 2011

Spooky Literary Destinations~ Transylvania To Colorado

Halloween is around the corner, so I thought I’d bring you five literary destinations that are surrounded by spookiness, but would still make for a fun family trip.

Drumroll, please (and a big thank you to Wikipedia for assistance):

TRANSYLVANIA- This region of Romania (see the photo above for a landscape photo) is the location of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a novel that’s said to be (in part) based on the real-life horror story of Vlad the Impaler, who was said to have killed between 40,000 to 100,000 Europeans.

Interestingly enough, Prince Charles just announced a shared lineage with Vladdy/Dracula in order to promote saving the Transylvania forests. Go figure—see HERE for that interesting piece of news. Click HERE for Transylvania tourism info. It looks like a gorgeous and friendly place for a vacation :)

SLEEPY HOLLOW, NEW YORK- Both in written and Disney form, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, is a beloved and spooky tale. It takes place in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (based on Tarrytown, New York) in an isolated glen called Sleepy Hollow.

Now you can visit the real village of Sleepy Hollow, New York! The town website is adorable, and it looks like they host one heck of a haunted hayride! There are tons of community events, many hosted in the lovely Irvington Town Hall. The image is of the Headless Horeseman Bridge.

SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS-Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible is a dramatization of the real-life Salem Witch trials. It is the town of Danvers, once known as Salem Village, that was the main site of the hangings of nineteen people (14 women, 5 men). One man was crushed to death by heavy stones, in an attempt to make him enter a plea. 29 people were convicted of the capital felony of witchcraft. Seriously interesting and sad stuff.

Anyway, you should know that Danvers, the true site, changed its name specifically to avoid notoriety. Salem Town (Click HERE for a city guide) capitalized on its name and became the tourism mecca for witchcraft buffs everywhere.

As one visitor from Chicago noted, “The whole thing mostly happened down the road? Well, that bites. And here I was just getting into this nice déjà vu historical groove.”

ESTES PARK, CO-Stephen King once wrote an itty-bitty book called The Shining. Ever heard of it? It’s about a man who takes a job as caretaker of The Overlook Hotel in a remote area of Colorado. It’s said that a stay at The Stanley Hotel (pictured to the left) in Estes Park, Colorado inspired Stephen King to write the book.

I’ve been to Estes Park many times, mostly because of its location as a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.

It’s gorgeous and full of touristy shops. Jam-packed with visitors and locals alike. Mostly visitors, though. The town is a good hour from Denver, and the drive is beautiful. At 7,500 feet, the altitude feels much higher than my home at 7,552 feet. Must be bigger mountains and the slightly isolated feel. And the ghosties, of course. Like most mountain towns in Colorado, the weather is unpredictable, making it the perfect inspiration for one of the creepiest stories (and movies) of the season.

ELSINORE, DENMARK- Much of the Shakespeare play Hamlet takes place in Elsinore Castle in the Kingdom of Denmark. The actual castle you would visit these days is called Kronborg Castle (click HERE for historical info).

It’s one of the top tourist attraction and historical sites in Denmark, and is surrounded by a fortress area near the port to Elsinore city. The harbor is near the entrance to the sound between Sweden and Denmark. This might not seem like a Halloween tale to you, but there are ghosts, murders, and intrigue galore (despite this sunny photo of the castle, it's said to be haunted. Yes, that's right,haunted. Now hand over the entrance fee and get in line to see for yourself).

Happy Halloween!


  1. Thanks for the tour! That was different and interesting. Have a great weekend! :)

  2. What a fun post, Jess! Interesting about Prince Charles. Well, all of it, really. Now I'm in a Halloween mood. :)

  3. Very cool! The Shining creeped me out.

  4. Cool places! I've been to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood where The Shining was filmed. Sadly, no hedge maze!

  5. You've taught me a lot about travel that I didn't know! Now I'm seriously tempted to visit Sleepy Hollow around Halloween some year. And although we were in Denmark for a few days this summer, I wasn't able to fit in a trip to Elsinore. I would have loved to see it!

  6. Great tour! The only one of these places I've been to is Salem. The Denmark site looks awesome! I hope to get there someday. Happy Halloween!

  7. Love the pictures. Vlad the Impaler?


    I think it'd be a hoot to visit Salem this time of year.

  8. I didn't know that 'The Shining' was based out of The Stanley Hotel in CO. I am adding it to my bucket list! Hopefully making a trip out there in the Spring and the red chair is coming too. :-)

  9. Happy Oogie Boogie Day, to you as well.

  10. ohmygoodness! i saw this ghost adventurers episode at that Stanley Hotel, and EEKS! what a creepy place! you said you've been through the town, but have you ever visited the hotel?

  11. OMG I would so go to any of these places in a heartbeat!!! I posted zombie party pics on my blog - you'll get a laugh out of my family:)

  12. Spooky places to visit based on famous stories! What a great idea! I've been to that hotel in Estes Park but would love to visit the others too, esp. Transylvania. Mostly though instead of spooky, I would like to visit various Lord of the Rings locales. The fantasy ones, but I'd take the New Zealand movie ones too!

  13. Any New England cemetery in the fall at dusk makes my blood run cold! I'd love to go to Sleepy Hollow. I'm in with Margo on the Lord of the Rings tour in New Zealand as well.

  14. I know Salem does a big costume party on/around Halloween. How fun would that be?? A future girl's weekend...I'm thinking. :)


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