Accidentally Wes Anderson


By Wally Koval

Foreword by Wes Anderson

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A visual adventure of Wes Anderson proportions, authorized by the legendary filmmaker himself: stunning photographs of real-life places that seem plucked from the just-so world of his films, presented with fascinating human stories behind each façade.

Accidentally Wes Anderson began as a personal travel bucket list, a catalog of visually striking and historically unique destinations that capture the imagined worlds of Wes Anderson.
Now, inspired by a community of more than one million Adventurers, Accidentally Wes Anderson tells the stories behind more than 200 of the most beautiful, idiosyncratic, and interesting places on Earth. This book, authorized by Wes Anderson himself, travels to every continent and into your own backyard to identify quirky landmarks and undiscovered gems: places you may have passed by, some you always wanted to explore, and many you never knew existed.
Fueled by a vision for distinctive design, stunning photography, and unexpected narratives, Accidentally Wes Anderson is a passport to inspiration and adventure. Perfect for modern travelers and fans of Wes Anderson's distinctive aesthetic, this is an invitation to look at your world through a different lens.




Monopoli, Italy | c. 2018

Photo by Ky Allport


Long Beach Island, New Jersey | c. 1835

Photo by Kevin Plant



Krka National Park, Croatia | c. 1985

Photo by Cathy Tideswell

The photographs in this book were taken by people I have never met, of places and things I have, almost without exception, never seen—but I must say: I intend to.

Wally Koval and his collaborators have put together both a very entertaining collection of images and also an especially alluring travel guide (at least in the opinion of this actual Wes Anderson). There must be about 200 locations here, which should keep me busy for several decades, but I plan not to let any of these experiences escape me, especially the Croatian pancakes stand (here).

I now understand what it means to be accidentally myself. Thank you. I am still confused what it means to be deliberately me, if that is even what I am, but that is not important. I send my very best wishes and much gratitude to this group for discovering and sharing all these peculiar and fascinating vistas.

—Wes Anderson

Airstream Trailer—Jackson Center, Ohio

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve—Gustavus, Alaska

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse—Buxton, North Carolina

Bartlesville Community Center—Bartlesville, Oklahoma

The Georgian Hotel—Santa Monica, California

Central Fire Station—Marfa, Texas

American Fireworks—Bastrop, Texas

Pittsburgh Athletic Association—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Georgian Terrace Hotel—Atlanta, Georgia

Navy Pier—Chicago, Illinois

Camp Shady Brook—Deckers, Colorado

Roberts Cottages—Oceanside, California

Malley’s Chocolates—Cleveland, Ohio

Delaware & Ulster Railroad—Arkville, New York

Union Station—Seattle, Washington

Advance Wood Shop—Los Angeles, California

Ice-Fishing Shacks—Lake Nipissing, Ontario

Fire Observation Tower—Catskills, New York

Folly Beach Fishing Pier—Folly Beach, South Carolina

Hearst Castle—San Simeon, California

Mills House Hotel—Charleston, South Carolina

Detroit Institute of Arts—Detroit, Michigan

Ranger III Ferry—Keweenaw County, Michigan

Viewfinder—Newport Beach, California

Washington State Ferries—Seattle, Washington

Joyce Theater—New York, New York

Mishaum Point Yacht Club—Dartmouth, Massachusetts

Subway Pay Phone—Toronto, Ontario

Grand Opera House—Wilmington, Delaware

Stony Island Arts Bank—Chicago, Illinois

Rittenhouse Square—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Salem Towne House—Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Fire Island Lighthouse—Fire Island, New York

Snowcat—Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

Pierhead Light—Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Gramercy Typewriter Company—New York, New York

Post Office—Wrangell, Alaska


Jackson Center, Ohio | c. 1931

Photo by Lane Dittoe

The Airstream trailer was created by Wally Byam, a true visionary imbued with a fervent sense of adventure. He was born on Independence Day in 1896, in Baker City, a town along the Oregon Trail, where his grandparents had decided to tie up their wagon and mule on their westward search for a new life. Wally spent the early years of his upbringing working on a sheep farm, living in a wooden wagon equipped with a stove and all basic necessities—the genesis of his signature trailer.

By the late 1920s, Wally had married and was an avid camper, although his first wife was never as comfortable as he was sleeping on the ground. Always one to make things better, Wally fashioned a contraption that made it possible to place their tent atop his Model T. Though functional, it was not sufficiently weatherproof, and having to set it up each time wasn’t very efficient, so he continued to tinker with the design. He switched out the tent for a covering shaped like a teardrop and, having already gone far, added a stove and ice chest, making it a proper trailer. So many passing travelers marveled at his model mini-home that Wally decided that mass-producing it might prove “a pretty good business to get into.”

After he was satisfied with his own setup, Wally published instructions for creating one’s own trailer in Popular Mechanics. Soon after, requests started pouring in to build trailers like the one parked in front of his home. By 1931, after receiving enough orders (not to mention noise complaints from neighbors), he opened Airstream’s first factory, in Culver City, California.

The Airstream trailers built there were—and still are—visually distinct, identified by their bright aluminum shell and rounded corners, lending to the iconic silver bullet shape. The riveted aluminum panels that helped create the earliest trailers were made from material similar to what was used to build airplanes at the time.

Byam took adventure to the next level when he started shipping trailers across the ocean while acting as the principal organizer of Airstream Caravans. He led cavalcades of trailer-travelers on other continents, often in challenging terrain, for spans as long as six months.

Wally passed away in 1962 and did not witness the moon landing—or the role that his brainchild played in that historic event. Unsure of what chemicals the astronauts might be carrying home on them, NASA took every precaution: upon their return, the Apollo 11 trio were brought directly to an Airstream, which had been repurposed as a mobile quarantine unit. According to Airstream, NASA opted for the trailer based on its “aircraft-like construction, self-containment features, and high-quality living quarters that could withstand the rigors of transportation.”

The Airstream legacy lives on today in a number of ways, as Wally’s company, headquartered in Jackson Center, Ohio, continues innovating in his style. Embracing both the traditional and the alternative, adventurers have created waves of renewed demand for the vintage trailers, which owners decorate according to changing tastes.

Wally’s passion for bringing people together and igniting their enthusiasm for travel has also continued to be honored: the Wally Byam Caravan Club International, founded in the 1950s, holds rallies and continues to caravan widely. Enthusiasts wear identifying blue berets (just as Wally did) and adhere to their mission to be “a diverse community of Airstream owners with a commitment to Fun, Fellowship and Adventure.”

It’s not hard to understand adherents’ fervor for this pioneer, especially when one reads the Creed and Code of Ethics left behind by the man himself. It begins:

In the heart of these words is an entire life’s dream. To those of you who find in the promise of these words your promise, I bequeath this creed… my dream belongs to you.

The code that follows helps one appreciate why Byam’s vision is timelessly appealing. Its tenets include:

To open a whole world of new experiences… a new dimension in enjoyment where travel adventure and good fellowship are your constant companions.

To lead caravans wherever the four winds blow… over twinkling boulevards, across trackless deserts… to the traveled and untraveled corners of the earth.

To strive endlessly to stir the venturesome spirit that moves you to follow a rainbow to its end… and thus make your travel dreams come true.


Gustavus, Alaska | c. 1794

Photo by Alice Brooker

Located within Alaska’s Inside Passage, Glacier Bay National Park is part of a 25-million-acre World Heritage Site—one of the world’s most expansive sprawls of protected wilderness. It serves as a national park, a living laboratory and research center, a biosphere reserve, and a globally essential marine and terrestrial sanctuary.

The Park is treated as a sanctuary for one species of particular note: the rare blue bear, also known as the glacier bear. Little is known about these sought-after creatures. A subspecies of black bears, they remain one of the world’s mysteries.

Should you visit the vast national park and happen to spot a blue bear—or any bear—do not approach it, do not let it approach you, and definitely do not choose that moment to phone a friend.


Buxton, North Carolina | c. 1803

Photo by Wendy Quiroa

The waters off Cape Hatteras are so treacherous that they are known as the “graveyard of the Atlantic.” There is no reliable tally of the many ships wrecked here, but estimates exceed two thousand.

When the warm waters of the Gulf Stream meet the Arctic waters of the Labrador Current here, the results are often violent. Heavy fog, quick-forming storms with sudden thirty-foot waves, and an ever-shifting sea floor create truly hazardous navigational challenges.

As early as 1794, Congress appropriated $44,000—then an exorbitant sum—to build a warning lighthouse on the headland of Cape Hatteras.

Over the next two centuries, the sea eroded the coastline, and in 1999 the lighthouse was moved to safer ground 2,900 feet from the water’s edge. The 200-foot, 5,000-ton Cape Hatteras Lighthouse became one of the tallest, heaviest masonry structures ever moved.


Bartlesville, Oklahoma | c. 1982

Photo by Samantha Smith

In the green heart of the Osage Hills in northeast Oklahoma sits the small town of Bartlesville. Surveying its sights, one could easily get distracted by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower (1956), the only skyscraper ever built to the design specifications of the legendary architect. But most locals would redirect you to its neighbor, the earth-toned Bartlesville Community Center.

The center was designed to be a public nucleus—not merely Oklahoma’s finest performing arts hall, but an intriguing and inviting space for every kind of event: symphonies, beauty pageants, church services, Weight Watchers meetings, and antique shows (to name just a few entries from its community calendar). Some patrons even come to view the original art, including a 25-foot-long mural revealing rural Oklahoma through the four seasons.

Opened in 1982, the building’s modern curves and bold orange interior were the vision of architect William Wesley Peters, a protégé of Wright. That influence is evident in its curving walkway and unique seating arrangement, which wraps around the stage. There is no center aisle in the 1,700-seat hall, so attendees beware: it’s advised that you use the facilities before the show begins.


Santa Monica, California | c. 1933

Photo by Paul Fuentes

White-gloved attendants first swung open the doors of Santa Monica’s Georgian Hotel in 1933. Run by Judge Harry J. Borde, the exclusive hotel was nicknamed “The Lady” in honor of Borde’s late mother, Rosamond—the true visionary of The Georgian and its adjacent sister hotel.

Rosamond was an audaciously modern, enterprising woman who bought the land and commissioned an upscale establishment in a style that married Romanesque revival and art deco. Much like “the lady” who dreamed it up, The Georgian was ahead of its time, enticing A-list celebrities and gangsters with its refined speakeasy at the height of Prohibition.

Santa Monica was still inventing itself at the time, and The Georgian’s stately elegance helped establish Southern California’s coastal aesthetic. While retaining its original charm, the hotel moved with the tides, later becoming a summer residence for first mother Rose Kennedy; creating a beauty parlor and playground before such amenities were commonplace; and consistently offering discretionary martinis on the veranda to Hollywood’s elite.


Marfa, Texas | c. 1938

Photo by Emily Prestridge

Founded in 1883 as a water stop to replenish the steam engines running trains between San Antonio and El Paso, Marfa (Russian for “Martha”) was named by Hanna Maria Strobridge. Hanna, the wife of a Southern Pacific Railroad executive, was given the task of naming water stops along the new line by her husband. A voracious reader, she was inspired by a character in Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff (a handful of other water stops also bear the names of characters from Verne’s work).

Over time, Marfa grew into a small community—one of such limited proportions that everybody has to do their part. The Marfa Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) demonstrates that. Made up of seventeen volunteer firefighters, the department runs on donations and the limited funds it receives from the county and the town (which budgets a mere $20,000 for the entirety of MVFD’s operating expenses).

Every year, the capacity of the fire department is tested during the Marfa Open Art Festival. This three-week annual event attracts roughly 40,000 artists, collectors, and enthusiasts from around the world to what was once a water stop, and whose year-round population rests at roughly 1,700 people—in other words, the entire town could fit comfortably into an eight-car New York City subway train.


Bastrop, Texas | c. 1990

Photo by Matthew Johnson

American Fireworks operates more than 200 fireworks outlets throughout the state of Texas, with stands and stores open for business only in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July.

The well-established American Independence Day tradition of a fleeting skyward spectacle originally began in ninth-century medieval China, where fireworks were invented for the purpose of scaring away evil spirits (using a natural application of gunpowder).

With greater safety measures being placed on celebratory explosives today than existed in medieval China, American Fireworks’ multiple outlets are quick to promote a pithy and professional mission statement. Found on their website, just beside the company’s animated logo, it reads: FEEL THE THUNDER!!


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | c. 1911

Photo by Eric Reichbaum

A private social and athletic club, the Pittsburgh Athletic Association was developed by aesthete and real estate maven Franklin Nicola and modeled after a Venetian Renaissance palazzo. This impressive five-story structure officially opened in 1911, offering top-of-the-line spa and athletic facilities, white tablecloth dining, and guest lodging. Some of its more innovative perks included billiard and fencing rooms, rifle ranges, Turkish baths, a sleek bowling alley, and a magnificent 75-foot pool on the third floor.

The PAA quickly developed into a mainstay for those with ties to Pittsburgh, at one point boasting more than 2,500 members. It was a hub for annual social events and served as a lively meeting place for some of the most iconic figures to call Pittsburgh home, with a membership log that included names such as Heinz, Mellon, and Mesta. Most notably, it was visited with near-daily regularity by America’s most special neighbor, Fred Rogers. The American television personality and creator/star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood kept a strict daily routine, one that centered on the club’s pool here.

Fred Rogers grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, forty miles east of Pittsburgh. He had a difficult childhood, which is perhaps why his capacity for empathy became seemingly limitless. Young Fred was shy, painfully introverted, and frequently homebound due to severe asthma. He was bullied for being overweight and taunted by the nickname “Fat Freddy” in his early years. After high school, he left Latrobe, earned a degree in musical composition in Florida, and then moved to New York to work on a variety of shows for NBC.

In his mid-twenties, Rogers returned to Pennsylvania in response to a request from the country’s first community-supported educational TV station, WQED Pittsburgh. He was tasked with developing their initial schedule, but his natural instincts for performance brought him onto the set as well. On one of those programs, The Children’s Corner, Rogers wore the caps of puppeteer, composer, and organist. During this span he found the time and will to attend the Graduate School of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; he became an ordained Presbyterian minister but was urged to keep working with children through mass media. In 1968, the iconic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood became available on what is now PBS, and Rogers went on to represent the comforting face of kindness for children across America. Over the course of his life he was honored with every accolade imaginable, from honorary degrees to the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Throughout, Rogers kept a disciplined private life, with his wife and two sons present to witness his methodical rituals. While he was a man of devout faith, waking each morning at 5:00 to read the Bible, often in Hebrew or Greek, he was also something of a numerologist, for whom the number 143 was exceedingly important. On the show, Rogers’s character points out that the number represents “I Love You”: one letter in “I,” four in “love,” and three in “you.” Love was his message, and invoking 143 was among the myriad of ways he broadcast it: the number appears frequently on his program; donating to the Fred Rogers Center means joining the 143 Club; the number was stitched into his trademark sweaters; and, astonishingly, he kept himself at that exact weight for the majority of his adult life.

And how? By checking into the Pittsburgh Athletic Association every morning at 7:00 and walking up to the third floor. Over the course of twenty-five minutes, he would swim a mile in the club’s pool, at a leisurely yet intentional pace. Rogers would then head to the scale to ensure that it read precisely 143 pounds. He proudly maintained the practice, the weight, the determination, and the affinity for the number for decades.

Mister Rogers once explained to children and parents alike: “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” For his part, love was also a verb, one he actively exemplified in both body and soul.


Atlanta, Georgia | c. 1911

Photo by Toby Huss

When Gilded Age entrepreneur and investor Joseph Francis Gatins Sr. decided to build a hotel in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, he drew inspiration from the lodgings he’d enjoyed on trips to Paris. Gatins commissioned a hotel in the popular Beaux-Arts style, complete with an elegant café terrace, meant to resemble those found in European cities.

The Georgian Terrace opened in 1911 to a crowd of five thousand people arriving for a glimpse of its marble lobby adorned with Italian bronze chandeliers. In the grand ballroom, an orchestra from Spain provided entertainment while bellboys and maids serviced the waves of visitors.

In 1935, book editor Harold Latham was staying at the hotel when an unknown author named Margaret Mitchell Marsh handed him a copy of her manuscript, Gone with the Wind, in the lobby. The stack of pages was so substantial Latham had to buy an extra suitcase to transport it back to his offices in New York.

Over the next four decades, the Georgian Terrace became a residential hotel, an unfortunately unsuccessful music venue, and ultimately was converted into luxury apartments in the eighties. Finally, thanks to a great many Georgian devotees who, frankly, gave a damn, right before the turn of the century the hotel was fully restored to its original use.


Chicago, Illinois | c. 1916

Photo by Sam Abrahams

The Navy Pier has served the city of Chicago for well over a century. Encompassing almost fifty-five acres of parks, gardens, and sights, it is the Midwest’s top tourist and leisure destination, with around two million annual visitors.


  • "The Instagram trend you didn't know you needed...Art may imitate life, but as evidenced by the thousands of people designating their photos #AccidentalWesAnderson, perhaps the opposite is also true."—Vogue
  • Pastel colors, front-on facades, hyper-stylized uncanny symmetry: director Wes Anderson has a defined aesthetic. Once you've got your eye in, you can see it anywhere.... [Koval's] account, @AccidentallyWesAnderson, has found favor with an 'engaged group of explorers with a keen eye,' who send him thousands of submissions every week.—The Guardian
  • Like the Instagram account that spawned it, Wally Koval’s book brings together stunning — and often hilarious — photos of locations around the world that capture the director’s offbeat aesthetic.—Washington Post Holiday Gift Guide
  • While [Accidentally Wes Anderson] takes you to the top (Kilimanjaro) and bottom (Goudier Island, Antarctica) of the world, it also frames architectural bonbons closer to civilization and provides inspiration for your own homes, which might do with a dash of dreaminess in these dreary times.—The New York Times
  • 'Legions of fans are scouting for locations around the world that evoke the 48 year-old director's trademark twee aesthetic... Color, symmetry, and absurdity are the defining elements of his aesthetic."—Quartz
  • All the world’s a Wes Anderson film, or so one would glean from this handsome book… A charming, whimsical tribute to the Anderson aesthetic.—Kirkus Reviews
  • The Accidentally Wes Anderson Instagram account, with its million-plus followers, is a wonderland of travel photography inspired by the distinctive symmetry, colors, and quirks of films by Wes Anderson...Now Koval is releasing a coffee-table book filled with some of the community’s most wanderlust-inspiring photos, organized by region and marked with approximate dates of origin.—Virtuoso
  • This book technically isn't out yet, but it looks so good we couldn't just not put it on the list.— best coffee table books roundup
  • There’s a sense of cheerfulness and beauty in those images that seems to only exist in the past — it’s powerful.—Matador Network
  • Koval gleefully arrays the awe-inspiring products of his Wes Anderson fan-photography Instagram project, an (officially authorized) labor-of-love. The selections in this debut coffee-table conversation-piece are culled from submissions by a “global community of more than one million Adventurers” that recall the filmmaker’s color-saturated oeuvre, many published for the first time here…Varying in layout, the images share vibrant color composition, both joyful and surreal…True to its inspiration, the collection is breathtaking, witty, and happily ambitious, a perfect diversion for film fans and globe trotters alike.—Publishers Weekly
  • This coffee table book, full of Andersonesque visuals spotted around the globe, is a respite for the soul as much as it is really good decoration.—Entertainment Weekly
  • Whereas [Accidentally Wes Anderson] takes you to the highest (Kilimanjaro) and backside (Goudier Island, Antarctica) of the world, it additionally frames architectural bonbons nearer to civilization and supplies inspiration in your personal houses, which could do with a touch of dreaminess in these dreary instances...In this time of quarantine, the luxurious [book], with the photographs clustered geographically, reads much more strongly as a want checklist.—Lightly News
  • Koval [has] assembled a travel list of over 200 pop-pastel places and the unique stories behind them in this book authorized by the Moonrise Kingdom director himself. Get ready for a visual feast that will fully ignite your wanderlust.—E! Online
  • [I]n this time — when travel is limited, and movie releases, including Anderson’s own “The French Dispatch” are indefinitely postponed — it’s a small pleasure to escape for a few minutes into this fantastical, stylized version of the world.—Pacific San Diego
  • Accidentally Wes Anderson is both a loving counterpart to the filmmaker’s work and an admirable piece of work on its own.—Houston Chronicle
  • Whether you're familiar with the director's films or not, Accidentally Wes Anderson deftly suggests that a shift in perspective is all that's necessary to transform the everyday to the extraordinary. The photographs and accompanying stories encourage a second and third look at our usual surroundings while we're still stuck in them, and they're sure to inspire a new travel bucket list for when we're not. —Gear Patrol
  • Fueled by a vision for distinctive design, stunning photography, and unexpected narratives, Accidentally Wes Anderson is a passport to inspiration and adventure. Perfect for modern travelers and fans of Wes Anderson’s distinctive aesthetic, this is an invitation to look at your world through a different lens.—BookPeople Blog
  • Inspired by a popular Instagram account, this coffee-table book showcases joy-inducing locations across the globe that would look right at home in the stylized films of the Grand Budapest Hotel director.—People Magazine's List of 25 Reasons for Hope in America in 2020
  • With a foreword by Anderson himself, the book is a unique celebration of one of the world’s most beloved filmmakers and a wonderful evocation of richness and diversity of the world itself.—MMG News
  • It’s an aesthete’s dream... A compilation of the symmetrical, atypical, unexpected, vibrantly patterned and distinctively coloured, Accidentally Wes Anderson is the ultimate celebration of the auteur filmmaker and the meticulous aesthetic that his fans love.

    Daily Architecture News
  • This is a beautifully strange and wonderful book... Part architectural, part travelogue, it’s a lot of fun and the perfect place to spend some time during your armchair travels.—The Star
  • For those who want to wander afar via the aesthetic defined by the films of the celebrated director, inspiration can be found at the Hospital Naval in Buenos Aires, a pancake stand-in Croatia, a branch of the BNP Paribas branch in Wroclaw, or the Najim al-Imam Religious School in Najal. Regardless of what might strike your fancy paging through, it's also a book sure to pique the interest of your guests.—The Daily Beast
  • Transporting...A nice way to satisfy a housebound traveler's whimsical wanderlust.—Wall Street Journal
  • [A] big and beautiful book that combines the sugary-sweet palette of Anderson’s cinematography with the snackable summaries of a guidebook...When opened sporadically, it's like bathing in serotonin—The New York Times Book Review
  • ...the closest one can get to living in a Wes Anderson film.—InsideHook

On Sale
Oct 20, 2020
Page Count
368 pages

Wally Koval

About the Author

Wally Koval founded the @AccidentallyWesAnderson community on Instagram in 2017, and it has since grown to more than one million Adventurers. Wally curates and publishes daily content with the help of his wife, Amanda, and their dog, Dexter, in Brooklyn, New York. To discover your next adventure or share your favorite photo, visit

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