Anyone who has watched the popular Netflix miniseries ”The Queen’s Gambit” (all 62 million of you and counting) know it’s loaded with references to Lexington, Kentucky.
The popularity of the show — which is set in Lexington but wasn’t filmed in the Bluegrass State – has not been lost on the city’s convention and visitors bureau.
Seizing on that interest, VisitLEX jumped on the idea to create ”The Queen’s Gambit Guide to Lexington,” according to the Louisville Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network.
The self-guided driving tour includes nine locations for fans to visit and reminisce about the story of an orphan chess prodigy, Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), and her quest to become the world’s greatest chess player while struggling with emotional problems and drug and alcohol dependency.
The Harmon Room is where fans are invited to book an Instagram-worthy stay at the 21c Museum Hotel room, which includes chess pieces suspended from the ceiling so you can lie back in bed and feel as if you’re experiencing one of Beth’s drug-induced chess game hallucinations.
The Harmon Room is a time capsule of American midcentury modern design, complete with vintage accessories, nods to the show’s most memorable moments, and characters, and period furniture from private collectors and local antique shop Scout.
Custom wallpaper in a pattern dubbed “The Knight’s Gambit” was designed for the project by Alex K. Mason of Ferrick Mason Inc. There are even copies of Chess Review magazine and rare chess books on loan from local retailer Black Swan Books placed around the room.
The Harmon Room’s rate varies, so guests are encouraged to look on the hotel’s website for the most up-to-date information on pricing and availability.
“‘The Queen’s Gambit’ put a spotlight on Lexington and piqued people’s interest in our community at a time when we could really use a boost,” said Gathan Borden, vice president of marketing at VisitLEX.
“The Harmon Room and all of the activities we have planned around it are our way of rolling out the red carpet for visitors and another fun example of the way we use creativity to market our incredible city.”
The show is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis (“The Hustler,” “The Color of Money,” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth”). Although originally from California, the author’s family moved to Kentucky when he was in grade school. After returning from the Navy, Tevis attended the University of Kentucky.
The tour includes locations referenced in the novel and miniseries, including:
- New Circle Road, one of the first references to Lexington, which features a number of midcentury icons like the Parkette Drive-In.
- Henry Clay High School, where several chess tournaments take place in the story.
- Ben Snyder Department Store, where Beth and her mother buy clothing and chess boards.
- The Lexington Herald-Leader, the local paper that reports on Beth’s success as a chess player.
- Wheeler Pharmacy. While this is not the name of the pharmacy in “The Queen’s Gambit,” the iconic Lexington pharmacy does a good job of filling in for the fictitious Bradley’s Pharmacy and Corner Store where Beth steals chess magazines.
- Chevy Chase, a tree-lined neighborhood in southeastern Lexington that may have been an inspiration for the Harmon’s home in “The Queen’s Gambit.”
- Lex Liquors, which is similar to the spirit shops where Beth bought her booze.
- The University of Kentucky, where Tevis received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist A.B. Guthrie Jr.
Read more at usatoday.com