Turn off the TV and Travel!!!
Pent-up in the house due to the pandemic, you’ve no doubt watched more television in the past year than the last 20 years combined. At least, that’s the way we feel. Not that it’s been bad. Streaming services are creating high-caliber work with characters we can root for in settings that seduce. Who wouldn’t want to visit Scotland after watching Outlander or Naples and Ischia after viewing My Brilliant Friend. We’re fortunate to work with fantastic local tour operators in Scotland, Italy, France, and other European countries who have already brought ActiveTravels members to their favorite television show backdrops. So if your trip isn’t on this list, please let us know and we’ll get you there!
Arguably no other book or show has created more demand for travel to a destination than Outlander has done for Scotland. Indeed, the cast has joined forces with Visit Scotland to get more travelers to visit the highlights of the country. Since the first book’s publication in 1991, it has become one of the best-selling book series of all time. With the success of the Starz television adaptation of the books, Diana Gabaldon’s stories have enchanted even more readers. Explore the rolling hills and historic homes and palaces of Scotland where Jamie and Claire have had many an adventure, including stops in Edinburgh, the Isles of Skye and Lewis, and Inverness. Visit standing stones like the mythical ones of “Craigh na Dun,” where Claire’s journey to the past began; Doune Castle, otherwise known as Castle Leoch; and a manor where Jacobite soldiers hid. Along the way, you can learn about Highland history and culture, with events like Gaelic music and folklore performances.
Emily in Paris
Francophiles who missed traveling to Paris in 2020 received a much-needed lifeline when the Netflix series Emily in Paris premiered last October. Not since the 2011 Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris, has the city been so gloriously filmed. The exteriors of Emily in Paris were entirely shot on location.

Although there are many familiar sites in the show, there are a number of more obscure, off the beaten path locales that are not as recognizable. After Emily checks into her apartment, we find her at La Boulangerie Moderne, a real-life bakery a few doors away, tasting her first pain au chocolat. The scene before Emily embarks on her wild and troublesome night out with her friend Mindy, she has dinner at La Maison Rose, a Montmartre landmark. After Emily arrives at a commercial shooting for a new perfume, she is a bit squeamish when she encounters a model strolling across the bridge wearing nothing but a pair of heels. The scene takes place on Pont Alexander III, one of the most lavish of the 37 bridges crossing the Seine River. One of our favorite day guides in Paris, Richard Nahem, will take you to these stops and many more on his newly designed Emily in Paris day tour.
If you can avert your eyes from dreamy Ross Poldark and the other engaging characters in this hit for Masterpiece, you’ll be treated to the exquisite Cornish coast, a tranquil blend of lush green countryside, hidden bays, traditional fishing villages, and elaborate gardens. Step into the 18th-century world of Poldark by starting out in Charlestown near St Austell. This historic port was built by Sir Charles Rashleigh to service the China clay industry and has largely been untouched for over 200 years. Then it’s on to the National Trust’s Godolphin Estate, which appears on screen as the exterior of Francis Poldark’s estate, Trenwith. Lastly, stop at the breathtaking Kynance Cove with its bright white sand and dark red cliffs. It has been used extensively in Poldark for beach scenes, most memorably in season two when Demelza, heavily pregnant, makes the unwise decision to take out a boat to go fishing alone. It is here that Ross has to wade into the water and rescue her. Check out this list that the BBC created with more info about Poldark's Cornwall filming locales.
My Brilliant Friend
Set largely in and around Naples, HBO’s critically acclaimed TV series My Brilliant Friend highlights the gritty, unpolished beauty of the Italian city. Based on Italian author Elena Ferrante’s beloved four-part series known as the Neopolitan Novels, the story reflects on the perils that two childhood friends face growing up in post-war Naples. Many exterior shots from the first two seasons were filmed on location in Naples. In the novel, the neighborhood where main characters Elena “Lenù” Greco and Raffaella “Lila” Cerullo grow up is left unnamed, although it’s thought to be based on the working-class Rione Luzzatti zone. Behind a well-preserved medieval gate is a bustling outdoor market that encapsulates the fast-moving daily life in Rione Luzzatti. Just southwest of Rione Luzzatti in the Mercato district, the unassuming Pizzeria Carmella serves a pie dedicated to Elena Ferrante. Topped with ricotta, ragú, mozzarella, and fresh basil, the pizza includes the classic ingredients many Neapolitans eat at a traditional Sunday lunch.
The sixth episode of season two takes viewers to Ischia, a picturesque volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea reachable in 90 minutes by ferry from Naples. Ischia is a popular vacation spot for Neapolitans and other Europeans who come for hot springs, wineries, fortresses, and pristine beaches. At the 5-star Regina Isabella, guests can book a “Following in the Footsteps of Elena Ferrante” package that includes a guided tour of the island, visiting locations described in the novels, and a Ferrante-inspired creative writing workshop led by a literature professor. 
Normal People
Sally Rooney’s on-again, off-again Irish love story became a huge hit for Hulu this past year. The couple grow up together in Sligo, a rural town in the north of Ireland. Throughout high school, the pair often steal away to the beach, which is actually Streedach Beach, a stunning 3 kilometers of rolling sand that makes up part of the Wild Atlantic Way. Marianne and Connell head off to study history and English respectively, at Trinity College in Dublin. The prestigious university, now 428 years old, is where Sally Rooney went to college. During her time as a student, Marianne lives on Wellington Road, a historic street in the Ballsbridge neighborhood of Dublin. If you want more information, check out this article in Wanderlust.
As we slowly move away from the inside back to the outside, please let ActiveTravels know what show, movie, or book inspired you, and we’ll happily design a route to follow in its footsteps!
Check Out The Newbury Hotel in Boston!
I was very fortunate to see Boston's newest addition to the hotel scene this month! With its glorious perch overlooking Boston's Public Garden, this property, formerly the Ritz Carlton and then the Taj, is now reborn as The Newbury. Its entrance is now on Newbury Street, Boston's well-known shopping street and place to see and be seen. Open for reservations starting on May 3rd, I got a peek at the incredibly designed, cozy guest rooms, their public spaces like their library (pictured above), The Street Bar, site of the legendary story where Mick Jagger was once turned away from entering because he wasn't up to the dress code, the magnificent roof top dining with views of most of the city and their Afternoon Tea spot complete with Make Way for Ducklings china.
And, the art! It's enough to make this former art historian drool! Each piece has been specially selected for its spot on the wall, commissioned by a local artist and thoughtfully curated for its locale. A bit edgy, forward thinking and sometimes brash and other times beautiful, whoever chose their art wins high marks in my book!

Other highlights? Their event space with great views of the Public Garden and lots of natural light, their enormous fitness center, their rooms from their standard Guest Rooms to their Penthouse suites and the private wine-tasting room on the very top floor above the rooftop restaurant where the former General Manager's apartment used to be!
Contact ActiveTravels for reservations now before the secret comes out about this lovely hotel. They are not a Virtuoso property yet, but they will offer Virtuoso amenities to clients of ActiveTravels. That means complimentary breakfast each morning, room upgrade if available at check-in, and a $100 resort credit. Call us soon!
Quick Escape:
Pet Friendly Lodging in New England
Now that we’re owners of a 5-month-old loving fur ball named Theo, we’ve started to think about where we’d like to take him for an overnight or two in New England. We’ve already sent many ActiveTravels members and their dogs to that pet-friendly haven, Inn by the Sea, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
If you have lodging that you recommend for Theo and other member pets, please pass it along and we’ll add it to this growing list!

Thank you!
89 Roundwood Road,
Newton, MA 02464