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Saturday, August 1, 2009

D.C. and Lands Beyond

The Golden Heart and RITA Awards Ceremony may have marked the end of the 2009 RWA National Conference for most attendees (in the picture to the left, I'm with fellow Cherries/authors Corrina Lawson, Christine Merrill and Jill Purinton), but it was just the start of Part 2 in my July adventure.

My husband and son picked me up from the Marriott Wardman Park and promptly drove us to a somewhat different "park"--Nationals Park--baseball stadium for the Washington Nationals who, in an amazing stroke of luck (at least according to my baseball-obsessed husband), were playing the Chicago Cubs that very afternoon.

Now, it was hot. And I was tired (this was after 5 days at an RWA conference, remember?). But, even so, it was a fun way to kick off the family portion of our vacation. And Cubs fans--of which there were surprisingly many in the stadium that day--were deliriously happy with the 11-3 victory. It was also our 10-year-old's first live professional baseball game. So, for him, it was an incredibly memorable event.


Next, we braved a few maniacal drivers and a handful of irritating traffic delays on I-95 to visit my friend and fellow author Laura Moore. I first met Laura when she lived in the Chicago area and was a member of my local RWA chapter. She's since moved back East, but I love getting updates on her writing and her life, and the first two books in her new trilogy will be out next year. Can't wait to see them in print!

Next we drove off to see a number of historical sites in Massachusetts (note Plymouth Rock--yes, THAT one--in the photo :). Seeing it again had me humming Schoolhouse Rock's "No More Kings" for much of the afternoon and evening. Thankfully, I had fresh lobster, clam chowder and salt water taffy to distract me! We also went to Old Sturbridge, a recreated 1830s village, which gave me some wonderful insights into life at that time and will be the subject of my August 17th Nobody Writes It Better post. So, more on that later!

Those of you who know me, know my family and I can do long roadtrips. We were just getting started... Next up: Maine--land of jagged, gorgeous coastlines and, also, more delicious seafood. We visited Acadia National Park and, atop Cadillac Mountain, saw this wonderful view.

And, later, this cute lighthouse.


We wound our way through the center of the state, then through the pretty White Mountains of New Hampshire--avoiding downpours whenever we could, but they got us a few times. We made it into Vermont, where I'd long anticipated a visit to this famous ice cream factory: Ben & Jerry's! A bit like the Holy Grail to me :).



Finally, we zigzagged through the Green Mountains, past Lake Champlain and into the state of New York so my husband and son could get their fix of military history: Fort Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga. Reenactments were afoot at Crown Point that day and many muskets were fired in honor of the French and Indian War. Ticonderoga was celebrating its 100th year of being open as a museum and, thus, there were canon demonstrations and many kid-friendly activities. While weaponry doesn't hold the same fascination for me as, say, a pint of "Cherry Garcia," I'll admit the tour guides and reenactors we met were funny and interesting. We spent five or six hours between the two forts, but our time there provided much discussion on the long car ride back to Chicago.

And that's it! Now we're home and, much as I love traveling, I'm glad to be back. I have a Taste Test to kick off this month, which I'm really excited about, friends to catch up with, and a house that could use more than a little bit of cleaning...

13 comments:

Pamela Cayne said...

Oh, what a wonderful vacation! I think I could road trip for a month, stay home for a month, rinse and repeat. I'm so jealous--and after RWA, too! Now that I write that, I can see why the Ben & Jerry's visit was such a necessity. Glad you had such a great family vacation!

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamela, you were dearly missed in D.C. I can't wait to see you in Nashville (and, hopefully, Spring Fling before that :). As for Ben & Jerry's, you'll be not remotely surprised to know that my flavor of choice after the tour was "Chocolate Therapy"...

Pamala Knight said...

Smart AND well-traveled!! Look at all those pictures that I don't know how to embed all embedded in your post. You rock, Ms. Brant.

I'm glad that you and your family had a wonderful time meandering through some excellent places. Thank you for sharing the experiences with the rest of us, too.

Brett said...

Marilyn,
I toured the Ben & Jerry's factory about 15 years ago and, as you can imagine, I LOVED IT! I still remember the tour guide saying that employees are allowed to take home up to 3 free pints on any day that they work! Do they still have that policy? ....I could always consider working there as a fall-back career. :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamala, you should talk about "smart and well-traveled," my dear! Still looking forward to the promised update on Ireland :).

Brett, YES, and it's up to 4 pints now!!! I couldn't believe I'd heard the guide correctly ;). In my mind, I was already tallying up the flavors I'd take home that day if I were working there...

Tina M. Russo said...

Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, Tina! Looking forward to seeing you in Nashville next summer :).

Maria Geraci said...

I absolutely loved meeting you in DC! You're just as bubbly and sweet in person as you are online. And thanks for the Starbucks samples. I haven't tried them yet, but I'm bringing a sample to work tonight and will let you know what I think;)

lainey bancroft said...

Welcome home, Marilyn!

Where to begin? LOVE road trips. LOVE Ben & Jerry's. LOVE seafood...

Okay. Enough of that. You've given me itchy feet. Usually this time of year I'm getting ready to see a new part of the country for my husband's annual convention, but this year we're hosting so I'm house bound.=(

Guess this means a winter vacation. =)

Glad you had such a fab time!

Marilyn Brant said...

Aw, Maria, thank you :). I was so thrilled to have finally met you in person. *hug* Hope you'll like the coffee tonight!

Okay, Lainey, it's settled--we need to drive somewhere together to eat seafood and ice cream. (Never mind that we live in different countries. We can work around that!) As for the winter vacation--I think that's the best time to go on a trip anyway--to be somewhere that has sandy beaches and no snow for a week ;).

Caryn Caldwell said...

That sounds like so much fun! Of course, I'm most jealous of your visit to the Ben & Jerry's, but I've heard Acadia is gorgeous and I love seafood. Glad you had such a good time!

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, Caryn! It was really neat to see everything (and you won't hear me complain about the ice cream or the seafood :), but I'm glad to be home...

Ann Victor said...

What a great holiday trip - and it started with a RWA National Conference! Fantastic. Maine always sounds so exotic to me! (my 14 year old cat is a Maine Coon.) Loved the baseball photo too - brought back memories of watching my Dad who used to play provincial level baseball in Rhodesia! Great post, Marilyn!