For books, I agree with anything by Bill Bryson - he is one of my go to authors for comfort reading - and anything by M.C. Beaton - the Regency books, Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth. Also Rhys Bowen, especially Her Royal Spyness or Molly Murphy series and Laura Childs has several series - my favorite is the tea shop set in Charleston. Finally I recommend Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand to anyone who hasn't read it - I cared so much about the darn horse by the end. Have a great trip.
Re: Michael Jeter - he was a wonderful stage performer. If you can find footage of his performance at the Tony awards from Grand Hotel The Musical, it is to see pure joy in motion and his Tony acceptance speech the same night was grace and gratitude personified.