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Big Little Lies

Monterey, California

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HBO | Hilary Bronwyn Gayle

Though the novel was set in a fictional Australian beach town, tranquil Monterey, California, is home to the television version of Liane Moriarty’s darkly comic best seller. The upscale town, with its glittering mansions and wide swaths of Pacific beach, is a dreamy vacation destination for everyone — but especially for Big Little Lies’ super fans.

Start your sightseeing along famed Highway 1 and over Bixby Bridge, featured prettily in the opening credits. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the turtles and puffins that live in its Open Sea exhibit. Embark on a relaxing walk along Del Monte Beach, a hidden gem beloved by locals and used for many of BLL’s flashback scenes, then dine at one of Fisherman’s Wharf many restaurants. Though the Blue Blues cafe frequented by Madeline, Celeste and Jane is fictional, the Wharf has a dozen options for tourists’ tastebuds to explore.

Stay: The Old Monterey Inn is Diamond Collection winner with its own storied history as the former residence of Monterey’s very first mayor. An acre of lush English gardens and a pampering spa are two high points at this B&B, plus the warm and sunny suites whose luxurious furnishings would feel right at home on set.

 


 

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Fargo

Fargo, North Dakota, and Calgary, Alberta

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FX | Chris Large

First a Coen brothers’ film and then an Emmy-winning TV series, Fargo’s rural, snowbound setting is as famous as its A-list stars. But the FX series actually shoots in and around Calgary and Inglewood, a small town packed with vintage Americana. Fans will recognize various spots downtown, including the Clarion Hotel and the storefronts along 10th Avenue. Pop into the Swans of Inglewood pub or the Smokehouse Diner (Lou’s in the series) for a quick nibble. Then hit up the outdoors: Exterior shots were filmed around Bragg Creek, a picturesque village at the foot of the Canadian Rockies that is perfect for hiking and fishing.

Pro tip: Diehard — so to speak — fans of the film will still want to stop by Fargo, North Dakota. The real wood chipper from the original film is on display at the Visitors Center.

Stay: Book the Artist’s Bed and Breakfast in Calgary, a beautiful guesthouse filled with original oil paintings and handmade furniture. Made with ingredients grown in host Holly’s own gardens, breakfasts are best enjoyed on the deck as you breath the fresh mountain air. It’s a welcome respite — and a far more relaxing stay than the spooky, seedy hotels of Fargo.

 


 

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Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee

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CMT | Mark Levine

Music lovers have long been obsessed with Nashville, from its honky-tonk bars to its world-famous venues, and the eponymous show makes good use of the city’s famous music-centric sights. Visit the Grand Ole Opry, where characters Rayna and Juliette met and the show’s stars often perform. You can feel like a VIP artist on an exclusive backstage tour. Enjoy real live tunes and amazing cocktails among the crowds at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Cafe. Or pop in and out of the bars that line Broadway, including Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, where real and imagined country legends got their start. Discover the low-key, artsy vibe of East Nashville. Then walk off the calories at Centennial Park — you might just recognize it as the scenic place where Gunnar popped a very important question.

Stay: After days packed with tunes, The Nest @ Casa de Halcyon is a gorgeous single suite with its own portable in-house recording gear, if you’re feeling so inspired. A light-therapy package, a fire pit, an outdoor lounge and plenty of complimentary coffee are available, plus high-speed Wi-Fi if you must connect with your muse remotely.

 

 


 

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Twin Peaks

Snoqualmie Valley, Washington

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Showtime | Suzanne Tenner

Add a dose of David Lynch’s signature surrealism to your stay. The cult TV series Twin Peaks and its reboot take place around Snoqualmie Valley, a stretch of small towns and rugged foothills not far from Seattle. The tourism board has a recommended itinerary to get your planning started. Of course, we concur that your visit should kick off with slice of cherry pie from the Double R Diner (actually Twede’s Cafe) and a close-up of the peaks that lend the show its name. The 270-foot-tall Snoqualmie Falls should be your next stop. Snap pics of the Pacific Northwest pines from its observation deck. Then head into the Salish Lodge & Spa (aka the Great Northern Hotel) for an organic spa treatment or a relaxing soak in the therapeutic pool — eerie dream sequences not included.

Stay: Check into the Meritage Meadows Inn in Redmond, just a half-hour drive from the famous falls and within a few miles of some of Washington’s best wineries. Six recently renovated suites have bright, contemporary decor and private baths with amenities straight from a spa resort, like a jetted tub, a cedar sauna or heated floors.

 

 


 

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House of Cards

Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

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Netflix | David Giesbrecht

For security reasons, the soapy political intrigue of Netflix’s House of Cards must be filmed outside of the Capitol itself as well as the White House. So nearby Baltimore stands in for much of D.C. Tour the historic neighborhood of Bolton Hill, home to Frank and Claire Underwood’s stately townhouse, before hitting up the Baltimore Museum of Art, where a pivotal scene of subterfuge takes place among the masterpieces. Drive out to Annapolis and book a guided tour of the Maryland State House (it plays the U.S. Capitol in the series) or head into D.C. and reenact the moody opening credits by walking along the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other famous sights at dusk. You can take the Metro but do be careful of oncoming trains.

Stay: Skip the pricey chain hotels of D.C. and stay right in Baltimore. The suites at the 1840s Carrollton Inn will make you feel positively presidential — no matter the machinations you undertook to get there. Rooms have whirlpool tubs, skylights, marble floors and fireplaces, plus four-poster and canopied beds that rival the Lincoln Bedroom.

 

 


 

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The Leftovers

Austin and Lockhart, Texas

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HBO | Ryan Green

While The Leftovers’ first season took place in New York and the third season was filmed entirely in Australia, it’s the second season’s Texas town that many viewers associate most with the quasi-post-apocalyptic sci-fi series. Austin and the small town of Lockhart are repurposed as Miracle. Lockhart’s opulent courthouse, main square and the abandoned buildings that surround it feature prominently. Walk or hike nearby Moya Park and its iconic 100-year-old bridge; you’ll recognize both as the season-two campsite setting. And of course don’t forget a bite at the trifecta of local barbecue, Kreuz, Black’s and Smitty’s. The latter makes an appearance on The Leftovers — plus a damn fine brisket piled high on white bread.

Stay: Park Lane Guest House, an eco-friendly urban oasis in a trendy Austin neighborhood, is a great home base for exploring the city and its surrounds. Elegant little cottages marry industrial style and bright colors. Vegetarian-friendly breakfasts are made with eggs kindly provided by the inn’s own free-range chickens as well as garden-sourced produce. And best of all, a shaded pool and private decks offer a little slice of the hot Texas sun.

 

 


 

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Better Call Saul

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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AMC | Ben Leuner

This spinoff series follows everyone’s favorite legal advisor, Saul Goodman, six years before he appears on Breaking Bad. Both shows take place in Albuquerque, a desert town packed with Southwestern culture and vivid sights that critics consider an integral part of the crime show’s ambiance. The best way to spy the setting may be on a guided “Biking Bad” bicycle tour that offers a sneak peek at dozens of filming locations and desert landscapes alike. But you can DIY, too. Just make sure to book a mani/pedi at the nail salon that is famously Jimmy/Saul’s first law office from season one. And while the Los Pollos Hermanos chicken chain is fictional, you can still stop for a photo op of its exterior.

Stay: The Chocolate Turtle Bed and Breakfast in nearby Corrales boasts a near-perfect rating and a reputation for warm hospitality. The adobe home has four rooms filled with inspired decor like handcrafted Mexican tiles, local artworks and colorful Southwestern fabrics. Guests can nosh breakfast dishes like green chile quiche while spying the roadrunners and rabbits that frequent the inn’s porch.

 

 

—by Dara Continenza