Last time we talked about places to go for inspiration – spiritually, physically, emotionally, or creatively.  We’re going to continue that discussion this week.

How about something a bit more serf?  Need a field?  A forest?  A quaint village?  Woodsy hillsides?  England and Ireland are two locations that can help you set the scene.  Portholland in Cornwall, England, connects the explorable hillsides with the relaxation of the beach.

Skellig Michael (Game of Thrones) in Portmagee, Ireland, offers quiet, spooky, threatening, and beautiful locations for inspiration and backdrops.


 A wonderful Celtic backdrop can be found in Dingle Peninsula (Star Wars) in Ireland.  It’s the home of forests, taverns, museums, tombs, and lots of other sites to have fun in.

Looking for something more mysterious? 

Dark Hedges (Game of Thrones) in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, forms the perfect canopy for your inspiration.  What can pop out here?  Fairies, monsters, elves, your best friend pulling a prank.  What do you think?  Search Pintrest under “Misty Forest” or “Spooky Forest” and see all the inspiration that comes up.

Misty Tunnel

This misty tunnel (Asteria: The Discovery Trailer) in Maquoketa State Park in Iowa could be the site for any number of adventures or inspirations.  Just image the things a person could find here.

How about horror or ghost stories?


Most counties have homes that are really old and in compromised conditions, like Bell Witch Farms in Adams, TN.

Bell Witch Farm
Turner Ingersoll Mansion

Not all haunted houses are dilapidated.  The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, also known as The House of Seven Gables, in Salem, MA is in very good repair – and supposedly still haunted.  This is the house that Nathanel Hawthoren’s story was based on.  Both of these houses could inspire your imagination in many directions. 

For more spooky locations, check your library’s history section.  Or you can check out Pintrest. is only one of the many pinners that posts images of old, boarded, dilapidated, or well-maintained haunted homes that can be the perfect setting for your mystery.

Can’t afford to take a long trip?  Check online for virtual tours.  While they won’t give you the sounds and smells, they can give you a feel for the area and a taste of the time periods.  Inspiration can be found an many places.

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    Finding inspiration for your tale’s location can be tricky.  It’s not always easy to find the exact location that screams, “This is the place!”  Traveling to find the right location can be fun, but it can also be grueling.  Rushing around to see all the usual sites becomes tiring.  The throngs of people make it crowded.   By the time you’re done, you need a vacation from your vacation.

    What if you could travel, see some great sites, and get inspiration for backdrops to your latest book, video, or table top gaming quest?  There are some great locations around the world that fit this description. 

    New Zealand is a phenomenal vacation site with plenty of inspiration (See Te Henga Beach above).  The filming locations of Xena, Hercules, Lord of the Rings, The Wilds, Chronicle of Narnia, Wolverine, and many other movies and shows are located all over the island.  Beautiful locations such as Waikato, Matamata (Home to Hobbiton, left) and Mount Ngauruhoe* (Lord of the Rings Mount Doom, right) are wonderful places to explore for inspiration.

Hobbit Hole
Hobbiton, New Zealand
Mount Doom
Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand

    Looking for more medieval locations?  Castles and shires are the locations to visit for inspiration.  Are you a castle buff?  England, Germany, France, and Austria are just a few of the locations you’ll find plenty of castles.  You could make an entire vacation just visiting the castles.

Perhaps you’d like a tour of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England (Harry Potter, Downtown Abbey).   

Alnwich Castle

Trim Castle (Braveheart), in Meath, Ireland, is a rugged backdrop for a medieval scene.  This Celtic castle has stood the tests of time.

    A more modern location could be Torenhof Castle(Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, left) in Brasschaat, Belgium. There is also Neuschwanstein Castle (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), also in Belgium, that lends a 19th century fantasy feel to the area.

Torenhof Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle

 Chateau de Hautefort (Ever After) in Hautefort, France, lends a fantasy-like location to the lives of kings and queens.   The grounds and gardens are beautifully done.  Also check out Chateau de Fenelon and Chateau de Losse, also used for filming Ever After.

Looking for more inspiration or travel sites?  Stay tuned to our next blog where we’ll continue our search for just the right locations.


*Photo by Guillaume Piolle