We are getting closer to traveling again. Over the years we have visited many islands. Since we like cruising, islands are an obvious destination. Here are several we want to see again or see for the first time (and why). Most have connections to films or TV series.
- Manhattan Island, New York. This one might come as a surprise. It’s a 70 mile drive from home. It’s featured in countless movies. Friends we met on a transatlantic crossing came back and visited with us. Their objective was to see sites where famous movies were filmed! There are other reasons to visit, like world class hotels. Generally speaking, room rates aren’t that expensive at the moment. You have some of the world’s great restaurants at your doorstep. Broadway theater will be coming back to life this fall. Did I mention the shopping? We try to head in once a month.
- Mackinac Island, Michigan. Somewhere In Time was filmed there. We’ve never visited. It’s in northern Michigan, between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. No cars are allowed. You get there by ferry. The Grand Hotel is supposed to be fabulous. They have an annual fudge festival.
- Malta. Parts of Murder on the Orient Express were filmed here. We’ve visited this island in the Mediterranean only once, on a Cunard voyage. Sailing into the harbor at Valletta, the capital city is a view we will remember for our lifetimes. The food was excellent. Because of the British component of its history, it retains a British flavor.
- Venice, Italy. The list of movies is endless. The Tourist comes immediately to mind along with Who it Killing the Great Chefs of Europe. The reason I would like us to return to Venice is because I haven’t “gotten it right yet!” We’ve been twice. I’ve read most of the Donna Leon novels, set in Venice. We have yet to see the quiet charming bits. Most of what we’ve experienced has been the flow of tourists between St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge. I’m determined to find Venice’s unique charm.
- Capri, Italy. The film 1900 was set in Capri. We’ve been once, on a day trip when our ship docked in Naples. It’s beautiful, but we arrived without a plan to explore. There are two main areas, Capri and Anacapri. I’m determined to find a couple of great restaurants.
- Bermuda. That Touch of Mink was filmed there. We’ve been many times. Even though it has developed over the decades, it still retains its small scale charm. You can ride a local bus to a public beach that isn’t overcrowded. You can soak up the British atmosphere, enjoying a beer in a pub. It’s a very relaxing place, accessible by cruise or direct flights from the US.
- Barbados. Miss Marple: A Caribbean Mystery was filmed there! The British magazine Country Life is about 50% real estate ads, usually of UK estates with lots of land. A couple of times a year they focus on vacation properties. The photos of Barbados often show grand houses with huge shaded porches. It looks like a great place to visit and relax. It’s on my list.
- The British Virgin Islands. I admit I’m addicted to the Bravo series Below Deck. This one of the places they visited! Those islands seem so elegant. Tortola is the largest island, Road Town is its capital. Friends almost had their retirement home built there. You need deep pockets, but it sounds great.
- Guadeloupe. We are fans of the BBC TV series Death in Paradise. We watch it on PBS. The series is filmed in Guadeloupe. It’s a French territory. The communities seem to retain a small town feel. I’ve wanted us to check it out for ourselves.
- Australia. If you are a fan of British TV series you subscribe to Acorn, Britbox or both. They have lots of Australian series like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I’m watching Halifax Retribution on PBS too. It’s a continent, a really big island. We’ve never been there. The country is known for producing great wine. I’m confident most of the best is made in small quantities and only sold locally. We love lamb. I can see us having a great time, but they need to emerge from lockdown.
- Hawaii. I’ve been once or twice on business. I’m amazed you fly over this bright blue ocean and suddenly see this verdant, bright green island below you! As longtime fans of Hawaii Five-0 we think we know the island, but really don’t. There’s so much to explore.
- St. Maarten. OK, so Cruise Control wasn’t a great movie. It was filmed there. You get two countries in one island. There’s the French side and the Dutch side. We’ve been once or twice, usually as a port stop on a cruise. We have friends who rent a house and visit for a month every winter. We would like to learn what makes it so compelling. No, we won’t be crashing as their surprise guests.
- Palm Jumeriah, Dubai. Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol was filmed in Dubai. There are a few manmade islands in Dubai. They look incredible in the photos. This looks like the ultimate in luxurious living. We need to see this for ourselves. They have great hotels there. I’ve checked.
- Mallorca, Spain. By now you are getting tired of our TV references. The Mallorca Files is another UK television series. Clearly we are BritBox subscribers! It’s a resort island off the coast of Spain. It looks like it has great restaurants and a lively nightlife in Palma. It’s on my list.
- Azores, Portugal. OK, I have no movie references here. The Azores are sort of remote. We stopped along the way on a transatlantic crossing. It’s a bit of Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic. I’ve heard it called an “emerging tourist destination.” We had a great time. There are beachfront restaurants. We found a great seafood restaurant in town and got in without reservations. By the time with left, there was a line at the door. It was a great experience.
If you’ve read this far, you can tell we are motivated by luxury, good food and avoiding crowds where possible. These are the islands where we hope to find all three!
Cover photo: Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island