Before tonight’s season 6 premiere, plan ahead and step into the world of Pete Campbell, Betty Draper, Don Draper (and even Dick Whitman) on your next vacation. Relics of the Mad Men era are still around, so we had contributor Lauren Herstik round up four series locations and characters to inspire your next vacation.
Start at the Roosevelt
Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel is a hub of Mad Men bad behavior. It’s the site of Sal’s secret Season 1 tryst with the aggressive rep for Belle Jolie Lipstick, and Don’s Season 2 hideout after Betty throws him out. Never mind that the pretense for the whole ordeal is a crumbling marriage and the kind of repressed memories therapists pay their mortgages with, Don shows the kids a great time ordering in room service milkshakes during their weekend sleepovers with daddy.
Use “summer” as a verb
The young Pete Campbell would summer at The Campbell Estate on Fishers Island just off Long Island. Visit the Fishers Island Club at the east end of the island and play a round at one of Golf Digest’s top 10 golf courses in the country.
Or stop at Hay Harbor, a smaller club on the island’s west end, which also maintains a sailing club. Fishers Island Yacht Club holds races every Saturday, hosts several parties during the summer, as well as weekly picnic barbecues. A ferry leaves from New London, CT regularly during the summer.
Have a Lost Weekend in Palm Springs
In “The Jet Set,” Don hooks up with some “very Euro” swingers and heads to their swanky pad in Palm Springs. The place was just dripping with mid-Century modernist glamour: clean lines, panoramic views, boozy pool parties with tiny men’s bathing suits. You can spend a weekend in mid-century style at Palm Springs’ Orbit In and the Hideaway. Then tour the town for some spectacular examples of modernist architecture. Guided architectural tours are available year-round. Pick up a map of mid-century modern landmarks at the Palm Springs Official Visitor Center, which was once the Tramway Gas Station designed by Albert Frey and Robson Chambers. Stroll the modern Palm Springs Art Museum designed by California renowned architect E. Stewart Williams.
Japanese a la Bert Cooper
Bert Cooper padded around his office barefoot for four years in homage to the Japanese, his cultural inspiration. Pay your respects to his illustrious career, which ended with a “You there, get my shoes,” and a barefoot bow out at the end of season 4, with a visit to Japan. If crossing the International Date Line isn’t in the cards, immerse yourself in Japanese culture in Downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. LA’s Little Tokyo is one of only three official Japantowns in America (the other two are in San Francisco and San Jose). Check out the Japanese American National Museum and performances by East West Players, one of the first Asian-American theater companies in the country.
The Don Draper Mythology goes deep, all the way to the Illinois farm where the young Dick Whitman was born and saw his father kicked by a horse. Have a more upbeat vacation at Bluffdale Vacation Farm in Eldred, Illinois. The farm has horseback riding, boating, fishing, swimming, hayrides, bonfires, and hearty home cooked meals with fresh baked bread, rolls and pies. Join the elite few who know Don Draper’s darkest secret: his actual identity.
Are you tuning into the Mad Men premier this weekend? Tell us how you think Peggy, Joan and all your other favorite characters would vacation.
For more historic travel ideas, check out:
- The Travel Detective on Pan Am: Was it Travel’s Glory Days
- Key West Hotel, Historic Homes & More
- Historic Travel in 2012
By Lauren Herstik for Peter Greenberg.com.
Mad Men cast photos credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC