5 Fiction Book Inspired Places to Visit
Anyone who knows me will know I love to read fiction novels. I also like to live in a fantasy world where all my favorite fiction characters are real living people and we do real things, like sword fighting and dragon riding, together. When traveling, I’m always looking for cool little hints of my favorite fantasy novels. Here are 5 places built on a fantasy I’d love to visit.
Fiction Beer Company — Denver, CO
I was in Denver for the first time this past weekend and I must say I was a bit underwhelmed. Down town was more like Salt Lake City when I thought it was going to be in the same realm as Chicago. We also went to Dave & Busters for the first time which was a JOKE! But that’s a completely different story …
Anyway — We went to a few bars in Denver, but didn’t see anything special. It wasn’t until I was in a graffitied bathroom stall that I found that unique CO thing. A flyer for the Fiction Beer Company was stuck to the wall and I just about jumped off the toilet in excitement. “I love beer, and I love fiction … so why the hell am I not at the Fiction Beer Company?!”, was my only thought.
Unfortunately, by the time I discovered it, the unique bar was already closed. But a friend is moving to Denver this May and he better count on me visiting just so I can go to this book-bar.
Not only is the Fiction Beer Company a bar, but it’s also a brewery. They craft their own beers which are inspired by different stories. It’s a shame we missed this place, since Bryce and I like to try destination specific beers and liquors.
Because I haven’t been there (yet) I can’t vouch for the atmosphere, but I imagine it’s anything you want it to be (welcome the fantasy life!). It looks like a wonderful place to find a new flavor, a new adventure, and maybe even a new idea.
Ashdown Forest — East Sussex, England
Who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh?! Who doesn’t love enchanting forests with signing birds and majestic beasts? Ashdown Forest apparently has it all. Located in England, Ashdown Forest is the original home of Winnie the Pooh. The Author A. A. Milne, was inspired by this forest to write the classic stories about his son, Christopher Robin, and his toy bear.
I’ve always been a HUGE Winnie the Pooh fan — the stories are classic and wonderful and will never leave my heart — but being able to actually visit the Hundred Acre Woods?! It would be like a dream come true.
Per the website, there are places to camp, hike, and even go horseback riding. Walking through the forest is the most popular activity though, and they are dog-friendly!
You won’t find Winnie the Pooh at Ashdown Forest (He’s in NY), but the chances of you seeing a real animal are extremely high. Birds, snakes, bugs, rabbits, and foxes are all common animals of the forest. You might even get to see larger animals, such as cattle, grazing the land.
Hannibal, MO — Mark Twain Landmarks.
Having relatives in MO, my family would drive from Chicago to Beaver just about every summer, which means we always got to drive through Hannibal. Located right on the shore of the Mississippi River, Hannibal was the first exciting place we’d get to on our 8+ hour drive. The Mississippi River runs right along the IL-MO divide. As soon as we’d hit the (then rickety) bridge we knew we finally made it across the IL border and into our favorite part of the trip — Hardee’s at Hannibal.
Really, Hardee’s was a treat then. But through the years we did get to see some pretty exciting parts of Hannibal that I didn’t anticipate growing to appreciate from a literary perspective. Hannibal’s claim to fame is, of course, Mark Twain. Mark Twain grew up in the little town, which inspired him to write some of the most well-known novels — The Adventure of Tom Sawyer & Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Many of the landmarks in Hannibal revolve around Mark Twain — like his boyhood home and Mark Twain Cave. Mark Twain Cave is heavily depicted in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and is the oldest show cave in America.
Aside from its connection to Mark Twain, the cave holds a lot of interesting history. A doctor attempting to petrify the body of his dead daughter is a common ghost story for visitors (It’s a true story …). Infamous train robber, Jesse James, is also thought to have made use of the cave after a train-raid.
Mark Twain talks about the cave in five of his books, detailing his childhood adventures, both true a fiction. Before his novels few outside of Hannibal knew the cave even existed, which is why all of Hannibal is a tribute to Mark Twain. Without his novels, Hannibal, MO and the caves within would be little know.
*Bonus! If you visit Hannibal, MO make sure you stop by Lover’s Leap! The legend of Lover’s Leap is like a Native American Romeo and Juliet. If nothing else, it’s a beautiful cliff that overlooks the Mississippi River.
Alice’s Tea Cup — Wonderland Themed Tea House.
Books and tea were basically made for each other. Nothing complements a good book like a warm cup of tea. This tea house is whimsically inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -a story we all know well. They have three different locations, but all are in NY
The tea house has hints, some subtle and some not, to the classic novel throughout the entire building. The menu is broken in chapters, rather than sections, and the décor is iconic.
The tea house offers a variety of teas from around the world, an extensive breakfast, brunch, and lunch menu, and a full bakery.
A visit to this tea house will only help deepen your love for the original story.
Lovecraft Bar — Portland, OR
Do you love all things spooky? If you do, you’ll probably love the spooky bar located in Portland. The Lovecraft bar is a tribute to Howard Phillips Lovecraft. If you’re a fan of sci-fi and horror fiction literature you probably know who he is. His work was not well known during his time, but prevailed after his death. Some iconic authors, such as Steven King, has credited Lovecraft’s work as influential.
The bar itself was inspired by Lovecraft, but it’s over all theme is a homage to the horror/sci-fi world. They offer unique drinks and a limited, but tasty, food menu. Its décor is ultra creepy, just like Lovecraft himself.
There is a second Lovecraft themed bar in the U.S. that is in NYC. Apparently, there is no connection to the two. The Portland bar opened first, but if you’re a true Horror/sci-fi novel fan why not visit both!