Literary Travel: California Adventure Weekend

It’s time to set off on a literary inspired California adventure weekend! When I put on my literary travel lens, I’m always wondering what books I can read before I visit a place or what books I can read that will transport me through the pages? As I was reading this book (details below!) I envisioned a whole weekend of things to do in California inspired by the book. And since I dream of someday hosting literary inspired adventures just like this, I knew this had to be the next installment in the Literary Travel series!!

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Read Before You Go

The Nerviest Girl in the World (grab your copy from Amazon or Bookshop) might be written and marketed for the 8-12 year old crowd, but it is a fun book for all ages. Set on an ostrich farm just outside of San Diego, California, this adventuresome historical fiction book looks at the beginnings of the film industry and ranch life in 1911.

Melissa Wiley hooks you from the first pages when the reader is introduced to Pearl as she is escaping from a hot air balloon by shimmying down a rope thrown over the side of the basket. And the adventures don’t stop there! Join Pearl as she cares for her family’s ostriches (hint: they’re feisty!!) and experiences life in San Diego in the early 1900’s. 

If you’re looking for some extra insight into the book before you head off on your adventure, be sure to stop by Wiley’s blog for a behind the scenes timeline!

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California Adventure: The Itinerary

First stop, Ostrichland USA. While not located in San Diego, Ostrichland is still in Southern California (Solvang to be exact) so it’s the perfect way to kick off your California adventure. There are more than 100 ostriches and emus and most days you have the opportunity to feed the birds. You can even purchase fresh ostrich eggs to take with you and cook just like Pearl and her grandmother. You can also spend some extra time in Solvang with this 24-Hour Guide.

Next up, head south down Highway 101 and make a stop at Universal Studios in Hollywood. Movies have come a long way since the early “moving pictures” Pearl and her brothers starred in during the book. The 60-minute Studio Tour is a chance to take a behind the scenes peek at the movie industry. After reading the book and visiting the Studio you just might be inspired to make your very own “moving picture.”

Continuing your journey south towards San Diego, you’ll make a stop at Magical Adventure Balloon Rides in Temecula. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to shimmy out of the basket down to the ground (for insurance reasons!). However, you can still get an idea of the views Pearl would have had on her ballooning adventure.

As you continue your California adventure plan for a stop in La Mesa. This is the town that inspired the fictional town in The Nerviest Girl in the World. Author Melissa Wiley recommends eating at Pancho’s on Fletcher Parkway or Por Favor in La Mesa Village.

The last stop is San Diego De Alcala, the mission in San Diego. In the book, Pearl and her family take the train into the “big city” of San Diego. Along the way they see both the mission and the fort. If you want to extend your trip, you can plan a visit to one of the 21 missions in California.

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