The Hotel Clarence In The News
5 spots for Christmas movie magic
By Sarah LeTrent, CNN
December 20, 2011
(CNN) -- If you're dreaming of a white Christmas -- much like the one Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen used to know at the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont -- the humbug of the matter is: Neither the inn nor the town exist.
You better not pout, though. There are still a few of the season's favorite film locales that you can visit in real life:
The Parker family's house in "A Christmas Story"
If you find yourself in the vicinity of Cleveland and a fanatic of the 1983 cult holiday classic "A Christmas Story," make a pit stop at the Parker family's house, which is open for public tours complete with a museum and gift shop directly across the street.
If fawning over the "I-can't-put-my-arms-down" snowsuit and the "Oh fuuuuuudge!" family Oldsmobile isn't quite enough movie magic, visitors can buy leg lamps at the gift shop for their very own "soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window."
Or if you're feeling extra rebellious, Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot range model air rifles are also available.
Bedford Falls from "It's a Wonderful Life"
The town of Bedford Falls in the 1946 classic "It's a Wonderful Life" may have been fictional and created on soundstages for filming in Encino, California, but the folks in Seneca Falls, New York, claim their tiny mill town was director Frank Capra's inspiration for the cinematic community. (He is believed to have visited the town in 1945.)
Visitors are encouraged to celebrate the film's ties each December by taking part in a movie-themed walking tour and judging the similarities for themselves.
Stand on the steel Bridge Street Bridge, similar to the one that Jimmy Stewart's character, George Bailey, leapt from in the movie to "save" his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, or stroll down the streetlamp-lined main street.
If you feel like making a weekend in New York's Finger Lakes region, opt to stay in one of the 48 rooms in the newly opened Hotel Clarence, named after Bailey's guardian angel.
The McCallister residence from "Home Alone"
While you can't go through all Buzz's private stuff (or inside the house for that matter, unless you're in the market for a new home), you can do a drive-by like your favorite Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv, of the McCallister residence approximately 15 miles north of downtown Chicago in the Winnetka suburb.
The home, built in the 1920s, is listed for sale at $1,950,000, and still features the recognizable staircase just inside the front door in case indoor sledding is one of your favorite pastimes.
Serendipity restaurant from "Serendipity"
Part holiday movie, part romantic comedy, this 2001 film starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale opens during the peak of the holiday shopping rush with the then-strangers attempting to buy the last pair of black cashmere gloves at Bloomingdale's.
After initial sparks, the smitten characters, both in relationships, spend the rest of the evening together in New York.
The title of the movie itself is equal parts definition of serendipity -- Merriam-Webster lists it as "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for" -- and the New York restaurant where the two fated lovers partake in frozen hot chocolate and eventually part ways (only to be reunited by a series of fortunate accidents by the end of the film).
If you've got a sweet tooth and an even sweeter romantic side, the cafe, Serendipity 3, is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday, 1 a.m. on Fridays and 2 a.m. on Saturdays. After all, you never know who you may be waiting with in the line that stretches down East 60th Street.
Macy's from "Miracle on 34th Street"
The actual miracle on 34th Street in the 1947 movie, as well as the 1994 remake, takes place at 151 West 34th Street to be exact, Macy's flagship store in New York's Herald Square.
Since 1924, the department store kicks off the Christmas shopping season with its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, culminating with the arrival of Santa Claus at the parade's finale. After the parade and until Christmas Eve, children can visit the "nice man with the white beard" like Susan Walker and tell Santa what they'd like for Christmas.
If you can't make it to New York, every Macy's across the country has a letterbox for stamped letters to the North Pole. As a bonus, each letter received will generate a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.