Recently I took a trip to Portland, Oregon with two of my best girlfriends. We had been planning a girls’ getaway for a while and none of us had ever been to the “City of Roses.” We are an easy-going bunch so we didn’t over-plan the trip—our schedule would simply consist of spur-of the moment adventures. During dinner on our first night together we decided to take a road trip to the beach the next day. A friendly Portland native suggested we visit Cannon Beach, a popular resort city on the Pacific Northwest coast, about 80 miles west of Portland.
We arrived at Cannon Beach on a sunny Sunday (although the ocean breeze was a little cool) and quickly parked the rental car in the first spot we could find closest to the water. We happily tossed off our shoes and ran onto the sandy beach. The salty smell of the Pacific Ocean was heavenly, the lighthouse in the distance looked dreamy and the waves crashed loudly onto the beach, inviting us in for a dip. But there would be no swimming that day—one toe in the water was enough to realize the water was very cold, even though it was only August.
After frolicking in the waves for a little bit, I looked around and noticed a big rock jutting out of the water. It looked very familiar and I turned to my girlfriend and asked, “Is that from ‘The Goonies’?” ‘The Goonies’ is my absolute favorite movie of all time and I watch it whenever it plays on cable (despite the fact that I own the DVD). But I never knew part of the movie was filmed on Cannon Beach, practically right where I was standing—how cool! How many other places had I visited that were featured in iconic movie scenes and I never even realized it? The big rock I had recognized is called Haystack Rock—a 72-meter tall structure that was formed by lava flows millions of years ago and is accessible at low tide. As I snapped pictures, I felt that I was capturing a historic moment on my digital camera … a movie historic moment. Right then and there, I decided my next trip would be to one of my favorite movies’ filming locations—next time I would be well-prepared for my cinematic tourist moment!
When I got home from Oregon, I compiled a list of my Top Five Movie Travel Destinations. Check it out—maybe you and your girlfriends can also plan a getaway trip to one of these places:
1. New York, NY —slip on your Manolos and embark on a ‘Sex and the City’ tour in the Big Apple. First stop—the New York Public Library: Humanities and Social Sciences—the revered spot where Carrie and Big almost got married. Other locations worth a visit include the Brooklyn Bridge (where Miranda and Steve decide to forgive and forget) and Magnolia Bakery, home of the yummy-looking cupcakes seen in Season III, Episode Five.
New York Public Library – Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street, New York, NY 10018| 212.930.0830| www.nypl.org
Brooklyn Bridge – 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128| http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bridges/bridges.shtml
Magnolia Bakery – 401 Bleeker Street, New York, NY 10014| 212.462.2572| http://www.magnoliacupcakes.com
2. New Orleans, LA —the Big Easy was (and still is) rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina’s destruction, however it was one of the main filming locations of the Oscar-Winning film ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ in 2006. The home where Benjamin Button is raised in the movie is called the Nolan House and is located in the Lower Garden District. If you decide to be adventurous, the scene where Brad Pitt is on his motorcycle (looking super-hot in his leather jacket) is shot somewhere in Louisiana—kudos if you can find it. New Orleans is steeped in history and culture—you won’t be at a loss of things to see and do, even if you’re there just for a movie travel expedition. Other notable movies filmed in New Orleans include ‘JFK’ (1991) and ‘Dead Man Walking’ (1996).
Nolan House – 2707 Coliseum St., New Orleans, LA 70130
New Orleans Tourism Web Site – http://www.neworleansonline.com/
3. Anson & Union Counties, NC —this may be a little off the beaten path but is a worthy destination for all hard-core fans of ‘The Color Purple.’ The white farmhouse in the movie (called the Huntley House) is located a few miles off Highway 74, near Lilesville in Anson County. The town scenes were shot in Marshville, Union County. Both Union and Anson counties are approximately thirty minutes and sixty minute-drive from Charlotte, NC respectively.
Union County Chamber of Commerce – 903 Skyway Dr., Monroe, NC 28110| 704.289.4567| http://www.unioncountycoc.com
4. London, UK —for an international getaway, fly across the pond and visit London, the site of hundreds of movie scenes. For a less hectic trip, you can narrow down your choices to include these two appealing destinations: King’s Cross Station—check out the departure point of Hogwarts Express profiled in the Harry Potter books and Temple Church, built by the Knights Templar in 1185 and featured in ‘The DaVinci Code,’ the 2006 movie based on the bestselling novel by Dan Brown.
King’s Cross Station – Euston Road, London N1 9AP| 020-8929-4080| Open 24 hours
The Temple Church – Temple, London EC4Y 7BB| 020-7353-3470| http://www.templechurch.com/
5. Las Vegas, NV —even if you don’t manage to pull off a multi-million dollar casino heist like Danny Ocean and his crew in ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ (the 2001 remake of the 1960 film of the same name), you can still enjoy the Fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (seen at the end of the movie). Additional film scenes were shot at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and on the Vegas Strip. Las Vegas has always been high on the list of cool destinations—it’s also a great place for a girls getaway (after all, what happens in Vegas … is a secret only you and your girlfriends share).
Bellagio Hotel – 3600 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89109| 888.987.6667| http://www.bellagio.com/
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino - 3799 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas NV 89109| 877.880.0880| http://www.mgmgrand.com