As the coronavirus outbreak grounds global adventurers, we’ve gathered a few ideas to help reluctant armchair travelers satisfy their wanderlust from the comfort and safety of home.
Tip 1: Revisit favorite vacation settings through books and movies.
- Leading Irish tour operator CIE Tours has hit “pause” on its guided vacations, but Ireland’s rich literary legacy will keep travelers endlessly inspired until they can visit again. C.S. Lewis based much of his fantasy land in “The Chronicles of Narnia” on County Down’s Mourne Mountains, while James Joyce captured Dublin life in “Ulysses” and “Dubliners.” Film buffs can revel in spectacular Irish scenery in movies from “The Quiet Man,” set in Connemara, to “The Secret of Roan Inish,” filmed in rugged Donegal.
- Fans of Pebble Beach Resorts and the central California coast will recognize iconic backdrops like Cypress Point and 17 Mile Drive in Hitchcock’s classic thriller “Vertigo.” Both landmarks are also captured, along with shots of Pebble Beach Golf Links and The Lodge at Pebble Beach, in the original “Parent Trap” (1961). Binge-watch both seasons of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” for familiar sights of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel Highlands and Big Sur.
- Six towns in Westchester County, New York—Tarrytown, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, Ardsley and White Plains—serve as backdrops in the 2016 movie adaptation of “The Girl on the Train.” Westchester landmarks like John Jay Homestead and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation were also featured in the Robert De Niro-Billy Crystal crime comedy “Analyze That.” And 2020 is the perfect time to revisit Westchester native Washington Irving’s beloved tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” on the 200th anniversary of its publication.
- The Adirondack setting of Lake Placid’s Whiteface Lodge has long inspired artists and writers and “The Adirondack Reader,” edited by Paul Jamieson, celebrates four centuries of the best from the region. Local resident Russell Banks has set several of his novels in the area, including “Cloudsplitter,” a fictionalized account of abolitionist John Brown.
Tip 2: Travel the world via online simulations and livestreams.
- That bucket-list golf vacation is temporarily benched, but golfers can still play the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links via an online simulation. Or, they can just soak up the scenery at the 18th hole—the most famous finishing hole in golf—thanks to a live cam that captures the crashing surf and spectacular mountain backdrop.
- A collection of webcams at Westchester County’s Wolf Conservation Center (South Salem, NY) invites virtual visitors to witness the private lives of “Ambassador” wolves Atka, Alawa, Zephyr and Nikai, and seven elusive packs of critically endangered red and Mexican gray wolves. Earthcam ranked the collection among the 25 Most Interesting Webcams in 2018.
- Also in Westchester, the world-class Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (Katonah, NY) has adapted its spring schedule of concerts from a live to virtual audience. Coming up in April are composer-pianist Vijay Iyer, jazz pianist Aaron Diehl, and composer-pianist Conrad Tao. All three livestreams will be hosted, free of charge, on Caramoor’s YouTube channel.
- Until CIE Tours can take them there again, would-be travelers to Europe can virtually hop the pond to view some of Europe’s most famous sites, from the Trevi Fountain in Rome to Scotland’s Loch Ness.
Tip 3: Buy a gift card now to enjoy later in person at your favorite vacation retreat.
- Gift cards for Scottsdale, Arizona’s Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa come in $50-$600 increments and can be redeemed throughout the resort, from its signature restaurant, elements, to world-class Sanctuary Spa.
- Pebble Beach Resorts gift cards, starting at $25, can be applied to lodging, green fees, food and beverage, spa treatments, and merchandise and apparel at any of the legendary California resort’s shops and online.
- The all-suite Adirondack-style Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York, offers gift cards ($25 minimum) redeemable for resort merchandise, spa treatments and other services and room accommodations.
- Buy a Marriott gift card, ranging from $25 to $2,000, and enjoy an all-suite beachfront getaway at Florida’s Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa when the world is once again open to travel.