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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spooky Literary Destinations

Halloween is this week, so I thought I’d bring you an encore presentation of last year's Halloween post. Here are five literary destinations that are surrounded by spookiness, but would still make for a fun family trip. 
*East Coasters, you are in my thoughts~ stay safe and warm!*

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

Translyvania landscape
TRANSYLVANIA- This region of Romania  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 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.

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 somehow feels much, much higher than my home at 7,225 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. Salem is the only one I've been to. Sleepy Hollow looks fun.

    1. I'm jealous~ I'd love to visit Salem. I agree about Sleepy Hollow :)

  2. We went to Estes Park a few years ago (before I saw the movie). We got to go inside the hotel and look around. It was kinda scary, knowing a horror film was set there! It became scarier after I saw the movie! Lol :)

    1. It can definitely be kind of eerie, especially during harsh weather. I have a cousin-by-marriage who contemplated having her wedding and honeymoon there...I'd be a little spooked just attending!

  3. ooooh, I just love spooky Halloween. I NEED to go to Salem before we move from the east coast and NEED to go to Sleepy Hollow. I've driven through Estes park - gorgeous but that Jack Nicholson scarred me for life at the age of 10 with that horrible move :) Thanks for the links!

    1. Know what? I've never watched the whole movie~ I took deliberately long bathroom breaks the few times it was shown in a dorm room during college :)

  4. These look like great places to visit during the spooky season. It's funny, but you think of these places as storybook places, and not real ones.

  5. Replies
    1. I'd like to visit a castle PERIOD, but agree that Denmark would be nice :)

  6. I'd love to visit any of those places. Well, maybe not Estes Park - and definitely not the hotel!

    Happy Halloween to you and your family.

  7. All those places sound great! Now, if I just had all the bucks to pay for visiting all those places (or even one!). I'll just have to be satisfied by pyramids, a Sphinx, and the Red Sea. :-)

    1. Um, yes. I think that you're okay in terms of having impressive locales handy ;)

  8. I'd like visit Elsinore Castle. But I agree with you, any castle would be fun to visit.

  9. Nice compilation of travel-related spookiness! I grew up near Sleepy Hollow and visited Salem in high school. 2 down, 3 to go.


  10. Good choices. Funny about Salem. We're watching Hocus Pocus as I write this.

  11. I have never been to any of these places. But, I would like to see some of them before I kick the bucket. I better put them on a list.


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