Three Fictional Places We'd Love to Visit (and Some Real-Life Alternatives)

As I’m sure many of you lovely readers have noticed, the summer is over. For some of you this may mean a return to high school or college, or maybe starting a new internship. For others, it might just mean that it’s fifty degrees cooler and now we can finally go outside.

But the end of summer doesn’t only bring cool fall weather, it’s also the beginning of what I like to call Travel Envy Season. Ah yes, the time of year when your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds are filled with pictures of getaways and exertions to far off lands, to either escape the cold or check out the autumn foilage. 

Except instead of wishing I were in Vermont or Colorado, I develop an intense desire to visit Narnia or Hobbiton. This may sound shocking, but it is nearly impossible to find a plane ticket to Narnia.

If this problem sounds familiar to you, today is your lucky day. With my summer travels all but finished, I have decided to fill the void by compiling a list of the five (mostly) fictional places I would love to visit, and their real-life counterparts. Hopefully some of these vacation destinations will end up on all of our itineraries next year!

Flat Is The New Thick: Flat Stanley Visits the Quirk HQ

Recently the Quirk compound was visited by beloved children's book character Flat Stanley.

As many of you will recall, young Stanley was rendered two-dimensional when a huge bulletin board fell on top of him. He didn't let flatness keep him down, though; in fact, he took advantage of the situation by folding himself into envelopes and mailing himself all around the world. Since then, kids in over 6.000 schools--including my nephew Sam--have participated in the Flat Stanley Project by creating their own Flat Stanleys and mailing them all over the place.

The Stanleys are mailed back with photos and information about where they've been. So here are some of the pictures from Stanley's visit to Quirk. (Spoiler alert--Sam got an A.)

Sing and then Mate and then Die

periodical cicada

by Buzzy the Cicada

Pssssttt…hey, you down there. Yeah, that’s right. Hi. I’m up here, in the tree. You got a minute?

The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel

If you have to leave home, TAKE THIS BOOK! The team that brought you The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook now helps you navigate the perils of travel. Learn what to do when the tarantula crawls up your leg, the riptide pulls you out to sea, the sandstorms headed your way, or your camel just wont stop. Find out how to pass a bribe, remove leeches, climb out of a well, survive a fall onto subway tracks, catch a fish without a rod, and preserve a severed limb. Hands-on, step-by-step instructions show you how to survive these and dozens of other adventures.

Sightseeing Destinations to Satisfy Your Inner Bookworm

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, Photo via Smart Desintations

Who needs the Grand Canyon?  In honor of National Tourist Appreciation Day on May 6th and National Tourism Day on May 7th, here are some sightseeing destinations to satisfy your inner bookworm.  

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House (Concord, MA)  The home of the author of Little Women is open for tours year round.  The house also offers educational programming for school groups and Girl Scouts.  Guides dressed in traditional 19th century garb share excerpts from the Alcotts’ journals and give students an opportunity to experience a lesson in a 19th century schoolroom.

Photo via Visit Philly

Edgar Allan Poe's House (Philadelphia, PA)  A national historic landmark run by the National Parks Service, Poe rented this house in 1843 and is said to have lived there for less than a year.  While Poe lived in several houses in Philadelphia over the years, this home is the only one that remains in The City of Brotherly Love.  Admission is free and guided tours are available Wednesday through Sunday year-round. 

If your Tell Tale Heart can’t get enough, there are three other preserved Poe homes in the United States: one in The Bronx, one in Baltimore, and one in Richmond.  Road trip, anyone?

The Accidental Sea: A Short Film by Ransom Riggs

When Ransom Riggs isn't busy penning awesome New York Times bestselling novels or collecting odd vintage photographs, he enjoys shooting short films. And I'm not just talking about his book trailers for Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. He's done a number of them, all of which you can brose on his website, including this fantastic short film, The Accidental Sea.

He released this video back in May, and it has since racked up over half a million views on YouTube, some nice compliments from Roger Ebert, and has been featured on popular websites like Neatorama and mental_floss.

Check it out. It's pretty incredible.

The Accidental Sea by Ransom Riggs [YouTube]

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