Stephen King’s works are, at this point, pretty much synonymous with Maine. His skill for coming up with disturbing and memorable stories is matched only by his ability to capture the historic and quaint, but subtly dark atmosphere of the state’s small towns. Now, whether or not a visit to Derry or Castle Rock is actually a good idea if you want to live is subject to opinion… but there’s no denying that there’s something delightfully disturbing about the idea of visiting a town that’s as picturesque and charming, but also has a dangerous mystery or horrifying past to discover. We’ve matched a few of Stephen King’s most beloved settings with real-life locations across Maine… you know, in case you’re looking for a vacation with a touch of terror.
The first stop for any Stephen King fan looking to immerse yourself in the world of the King of Horror is Bangor, Maine. King calls Bangor home– most of the time, anyways. Travelers can view his home from the sidewalk (seriously, guys, be cool when visiting anyone’s private residence) as well as take “Stephen King” tours, in which fans can see where King drew inspiration for his bloodcurdling novels. The area around Bangor also carries fictional significance. For those familiar with the town of Haven—featured in the 1988 novel The Tommyknockers—Bangor is the closest approximation of this fictional town.
Next, King fans should make their way to Dexter, Maine. Dexter most resembles the fictional Derry—one of King’s most favorite, and infamous, locations. Derry is the central location in the 1986 novel It as well as a score of other stories like Insomnia, Dreamcatcher, and 11/22/63. Travelers should take a stroll over to the historic Abbott Memorial Library and the town courthouse… avoiding, of course, storm drains and standpipes along the way.
Then make your way north to Flagstaff Lake. This is the closest approximation of the fictional Dark Score Lake, the setting of the novel and TV series Bag of Bones. Though Flagstaff Lake doesn’t make an explicit appearance, the rich, natural landscape is sure to evoke, for many readers, the experiences of Trisha McFarland in The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon. Though we hope you don’t have any confrontations with the God of the Lost or find yourself embroiled in a custody suit, we do hope you appreciate the serene, natural beauty of the lake.
After taking a swim, travelers should head south to Rumford, Maine. Rumford is a close approximation of the fictional town Chester’s Mill. Chester’s Mill is the setting of both the novel and the TV series, Under the Dome. Whether you take in the picturesque town by driving, skiing, or walking, we hope that the inexplicable surrounding of a giant dome doesn’t suddenly compromise your departure.
Finally, make your way over to Woodstock, Maine. Woodstock is most similar to King’s fictional town of Castle Rock. Castle Rock, like Derry, plays a huge role in a number of novels–perhaps most notably in Cujo, The Dead Zone, and Needful Things. The town gets a passing mention in loads of other stories from King as well. Though we hope you check out the very real giant crank telephone sculpture, we also hope that a sudden auto breakdown doesn’t lead to a showdown between you and a rabid St. Bernard.
More small towns and spooky fun…