The Town of Spectre

The Town of Spectre

What could possibly get me out of bed at four in the morning. To fly from Minneapolis, on what was sure to be a gorgeous spring day (but only after a few more hours of sleep), to Atlanta where it was sure to be hot, if not hot and humid. And then rent a car and drive almost 200 miles to Alabama? Love.

In 2003 the Tim Burton movie, Big Fish, starring Ewan McGregor came out. There are a few scenes in the movie set in the fictional Town of Spectre. It’s an idyllic little town found only by going through the scary woods filled with spiders. The town is so perfect that there isn’t even a need for shoes, and so people entering the main street from the woods take off their shoes and throw them over a wire.

Now, it’s a fine movie. But Shellie loves it. And I love her. So.

Last year we spent most of our traveling time (and internet time) searching for a place to be married. We wanted a destination wedding. But we quickly decided against the typical one on a beach at some resort. With random strangers sitting in their beach chairs, daiquiri in hand, gawking at us. Some pasty American in a Speedo in the background of all our pictures going by on a stand up paddle board. No. We wanted something unique. Not only unique to us but maybe even unique to the whole wedding industry.

We also wanted the small handful of friends and family that were coming along with us to get a taste of how we travel. We would plan out a weekend trip. A mixture of food, culture, beer, tourist shit, and off the beaten path sites. The kind of trip that we usually take. And they would come along and adore us.

Somewhere in the midst of our countless hours of searching we found a little town just outside of Montgomery, Alabama. The Town of Spectre. Or what’s left of it. Or better yet, what’s left of a movie set.

You see they built the set on a private island by the actual town of Millbrook. When the filming completed they packed up and went back to Hollywood, leaving Spectre intact. Today, most of the buildings are gone. But a few still stand. Even the styrofoam trees where you enter the town are still there. And the wire full of shoes. The buildings are not as they appear in the movie. They are pretty much just shells. The paint is peeling and there’s moss growing on them. But that just makes it all the more haunting and beautiful.

Spectre was tossed around in a few of our conversations about wedding destinations. But ultimately it didn’t make the cut. It just seemed like we would be asking too much of our guests. Flying. Driving. Alabama. We decided on Seattle as our destination. And we picked something, that we think anyway, is entirely unique.

But Spectre was still calling us. And so, this spring I told Shellie to ask for the day before her birthday off and I took her there. She invited a couple of friends to come along. So, way too early in the morning, on a beautiful spring day, we went. Spectre may not be exactly as it was in the movie.

It’s so much more.

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