Perfect Pairings: Books and Vacations We Wish We Could Take Right Now by Lori Nelson Spielman

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[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Lori Nelson Spielman to the site today. She’s pairing some great books with the trips we wish we could go on right now! Take it away, Lori!]

With Doctor Anthony Fauci and big pharma offering glimmers of hope for a Covid vaccine by spring, we can finally turn our focus from books and Netflix, to long-awaited travel. For most of us, summer vacation eluded us last year. For others, a trip of a lifetime was canceled. But maybe, just maybe, travel bans will be lifted, flights will resume, and we’ll be able to travel safely in the summer of 2021. 

Let’s imagine for a moment, that it’s possible. With pent-up demand, it’s not too early to begin searching for that perfect getaway now. 

Planning a holiday destination can feel overwhelming in the best of times, but especially after being homebound for a year. This much-anticipated vacation deserves to be special. Choosing where to go is not unlike choosing a setting for a novel, or selecting only one book from a crowded shelf. With so many fascinating choices, where does one begin?

Perhaps we continue with this book analogy. If you’re like many during the pandemic, you’ve been reading more than ever before. It’s likely you gravitate towards one or two favorite genres. Might our literary leanings help guide us when planning a vacation destination? 

London

If your bedside table is stacked with Literary fiction, then perhaps you’d enjoy a trip to London, England. London boasts one of the highest numbers of public libraries in the world, including the British Library, the world’s largest. The literary fiction fan can spend days, or weeks, or months, perusing a collection of nearly two hundred million books and manuscripts, along with literary treasures like Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook and Shakespeare’s First Folio. (When tired of the library, take in a theater performance or visit one of the cities one hundred seventy famed museums, such as the famous Tate Modern or the lesser known Wellcome Collection, where you’ll find, among other things, Napoleon’s toothbrush and Darwin’s walking stick.) 

Belize

Are thriller novels your thing? Suspense? Consider cave-diving trip to Central America. Ranked by Discovery Channel’s list of “The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth,” Belize’s Great Blue Hole is sure to get your adrenaline flowing. Imagine plunging into a sinkhole thousands of years old, and making your way into one of eleven underwater caves. Recognized around the world by world-class cave divers, the Great Blue Hole is one of Belize’s top attractions. 

Are you a fan of science fiction? Perhaps you’d enjoy a road trip down Nevada’s State Route 375, a little-traveled stretch of pavement known as the Extraterrestrial Highway that runs alongside the restricted Area 51, the site of the intensely secret Naval Air Force Facility. You’ll come to the intersection of Mail Box Road, a dirt access road that holds a single mailbox known as the Black Mailbox, the gathering place of alien seekers and the spot of multiple alleged UFO sightings per week. Spend the night at the Little A’Le’Inn (pronounced “alien”) in Rachel, which boasts an alien-themed restaurant and bar, and browse the extraterrestrial gift shop for souvenirs.

Mackinac Island

Is romance your genre? Look no farther than Mackinac Island, the setting for the 1980s romantic film, Somewhere in Time. Just over four square-miles, Mackinac (MACK-in-aw) Island sits between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, as if afloat in Lake Huron. Since motor vehicles are prohibited on the island, your trip will begin with a short ferryboat ride.  Along the way, you’ll admire the beautiful old Victorian mansions perched on the island’s rocky bluff. Once you’ve arrived, a horse-drawn carriage will transport you to the famous Grand Hotel. Relax on the 660-foot porch (the world’s largest), and enjoy the breathtaking view of the island and bay, noticing time shift to another pace and era. Take a bike ride around the island, stopping for a picnic at one of the most scenic spots on the planet. In the evening, savor the sunset on the beach before dining at one of their many iconic restaurants. 

Navy Pier

Where to go for the Young Adult reader, that age between childhood and adulthood? Chicago is the perfect combination of hip and young-at-heart, sophistication and silliness. Your day might begin with a Segway tour along the lakefront, stopping at the Navy Pier for a ride on the Wave Swinger, followed by lunch at Margaritaville. Fill your afternoon by visiting Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, the Brookfield Zoo…or simply shopping along Magnificent Mile. When the day winds down, enjoy a Chicago-Style pizza at Giordano’s and people-watching at Millennium Park. Before turning in, be sure to view the twinkling lights of the city from Skydeck Chicago’s Ledge, a glass box affixed to the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, 1,353 feet in the air.

Fantasy fiction fans, you’ll want to include San Diego’s Comic-Con International on your bucket list. Founded in 1970, this event, which originally showcased mainly comic books and fantasy-related film and television, has blossomed into what Forbes Magazine calls, “the largest convention of its kind in the world.” Drawing more than 130,000 participants annually, California’s Comic-Con includes a vast array of entertainment and pop culture elements crossing all genres.

Do you enjoy reading historical novels? Öland, Sweden might be your thing. Just off mainland Sweden, this Baltic Sea island is a regular holiday destination for the nation’s royal family. Packed with historical sights, including Gettlinge’s prehistoric standing stones and Eketorp’s medieval ring fort, you’ll also enjoy scenic beaches, limestone outcroppings, a multitude of antique windmills, and enchanting forests reminiscent of a fairytale. 

Fans of middle grade books can’t go wrong with a trip to Dinosaur Valley State Park, in Glen Rose, Texas. Walk along the bed of the Paluxy River, in the same mud tracks near the edge of an ancient ocean, where dinosaurs once roamed. Just a short drive from Fort Worth, you’ll observe plenty of wildlife while camping, hiking, swimming, and biking.  

Amalfi Coast

Women’s fiction readers, you’ll discover the perfect place for your personal journey on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, a fifty-kilometer stretch along southern Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula. There you’ll find a coastline sprinkled with beaches and boats and beautiful people. Serene pastel fishing villages cling to the edge of rugged cliffs, hosting lemon groves and grand villas and terraced vineyards. All of this, plus fresh seafood and local wine, make it a perfect spot for a girlfriends’ getaway.

As we dream of a post-pandemic world and people are itching to travel, planning a trip can become more frenzied than fun. But consider your literary tastes. Like the perfect pairing of wine with dinner, take note of your favorite books and imagine the possibilities. They may just take you away…quite literally. 

About the Author:

Lori Nelson Spielman is a New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. She is also a former speech pathologist, guidance counselor, and homebound teacher. She enjoys fitness running, traveling, and reading, though writing is her true passion. Her first novel, The Life List, has been published in over thirty countries and optioned by Fox 2000 and Neue Bioskop. Her third novel, The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, releases April, 2020. She lives in Michigan with her husband and their very spoiled puppy.

Connect with Lori:

Website: http://lorinelsonspielman.com

Facebook: @LoriNelsonSpielmanAuthor

Twitter: @LNelsonspielman

Instagram: @LoriNelsonSpielman

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman, out now!

When the fiercely independent and mysterious Paulina “Poppy” Fontana invites her great-nieces and fellow second-born daughters, Emilia and Lucy, to visit her birthplace of Italy, she makes a wild declaration. On her eightieth birthday, Poppy claims she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral and put an end to the Fontana Family Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.

The Fontana Second-Daughter Curse is probably nothing but a coincidence, a self-fulfilling prophecy, an old-world myth. Even so, nobody can deny that for centuries, not a single second-born daughter in the Fontana family has married. But twenty-nine year-old Emilia actually appreciates the curse–some may even say she hides behind it. What might happen if the supposed curse is actually broken, and she’s expected to find love?

Reluctantly, the trio of second-born daughters embark on a journey to fulfill Poppy’s last wish. Against a backdrop of lush Italian countryside and rich landmarks, Poppy shares family secrets and tales of forbidden love that threaten to upend every belief her young nieces have held to be true.

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