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...