By Celece Seegmiller, for The Spectrum Newspaper, February 28, 2016
This Sunday marks the end of a very popular television series, Downton Abbey. Every Sunday, I look forward to tuning in because this show not only takes me back in time, but also to the home of my ancestors. Although my relatives did not live in a castle like the Crawley family, I have the desire to cruise with Cunard “across the pond” to Southampton and visit Highclere Castle with each episode. Of course, Downton Abbey is just one of the many television shows and movies that makes travelers ready pack their bags and depart for the set. Listed below are three popular vacations inspired by television and movies:
- Lord of the Rings, Goway Tours: New Zealand has become famous as the filming location for many movies in recent years, but none more so than The Lord of the Rings. This magical 14 day, self-drive quest takes travelers to all the country’s most breathtaking sights, along with many of the trilogy’s key locations. Stops include the rolling hills of Waikato, which shot to fame as ‘The Shire’, Waitomo Caves and bubbling Rotorua, which shows off geothermal New Zealand at its finest. The volcanic landscapes of the North Island are beautiful, dramatic, and strangely eerie, the perfect real-world rendering of Tolkien’s world. Travelers will visit Lake Taupo and Tongariro and spend a day exploring the charming capital of Wellington. Base camp for the entire Lord of the Rings production, it’s also home to many of New Zealand’s best museums, galleries and wine regions. Intrepid fans can even track down the sites of Minas Tirith, Helms Deep, Rivendell and Isengard.
- Highland Trail, inspired by Outlander, Trafalgar Tours: This thirteen-day tour starts in Edinburgh and ends in Glasgow. After getting a feel for Lowlander life at Edinburgh Castle, it’s north to the Cairngorms, Inverness, Doune Castle and the stunning backdrop to Diane Gabaldon’s historic tales. Guests enjoy insider moments like smelling the aromas of Claire Beauchamp’s herb garden in the village of Falkland, or ‘1940s Inverness’ in the Outlander TV series, historic Doune Castle, or ‘Castle Leoch’, where the time-traveller lands in 1743.
- Sound of Music, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises: Uniworld guests on select 2016 sailings can relive The Sound of Music with exclusive performances by acclaimed song stylist Elisabeth von Trapp. Ms. Von Trapp is the granddaughter of Maria and Baron von Trapp, whose real-life story inspired the 1965 Oscar-winning film that introduced the singing Von Trapp family to fans around the world. Ms. Von Trapp will share the “sounds of music” with private concerts onboard select 2016 itineraries and departures this summer. Select “Enchanting Danube” departures will also feature an onshore performance by Ms. Von Trapp at the Mirabell Palace Chapel in Salzburg, Austria, as well as a once-in-a-lifetime “Do-Re-Me” sing-along in the palace gardens where the famous scene was filmed. Select itineraries include: 8 Day Enchanting Danube, 10 Day Delightful Danube and Prague, and 21 Day Portraits of Eastern Europe.
Now that Downton Abbey is over, I will pop some popcorn and watch one of my favorite travel movies, Eat, Pray, Love featuring three trips on my bucket list: Italy, India, and Bali. From an Under the Tuscan Sun culinary tour in Italy to walking The Way (Camino de Santiago in Spain), there are many wonderful vacation experiences inspired by the big screen.
Celece Seegmiller is the local owner of The Travel Connection, located at 1363 East 170 South, Suite 202 in St. George. Reach her at 435-628-3636 or firstname.lastname@example.org.