One of the very best parts of writing books is visiting the location where my stories are set. The Blue Heron series is set in a fictionalized version of Hammondsport, New York, as you may already know. I feel like I know the area pretty well, and I haven’t been up for more than a year now.
McIrish and I decided to go again this weekend, a spur-of-the-moment trip, which is something we never do. We’re planners, generally speaking. But now that the kids are older, we can do this. So we booked a room for two nights and threw some things in a suitcase, and off we went. We listened to a call-in advice show on the way up, which always gives me ideas for future books. Then we just bopped around for the rest of the weekend, learning about microbreweries and eating great food. We went to a pub that reminded us a lot of O’Rourke’s (Flowers Café in Watkins Glen) and revisited Fulkerson’s Winery, which is the basis for Blue Heron. Bought a case of wine there; they’re my favorite. We saw a lot of beautiful deer, including several pure white deer, which was something right out of Narnia.
We did new things, too…went to Geneva and wandered into the Smith Theater, where a very cool drum circle was in progress. (I opted not to play, as my sense of rhythm is legendary, and not for the good reasons). Asked for restaurant recommendations, drove around some more, admiring the mansions and discussing why mansions were just not for us. J Had a fantastic dinner (Ports Café in Geneva, FYI, highly recommend!).
Today, we drove to Hammondsport, where I spend so much time in my imagination. Every time, I half-expect to see one of the Hollands, or Gerard from the firehouse, or one of the book club ladies. We went to the really lovely Brewery of Broken Dreams (great story behind the name) and had a great time talking about beer, how it’s made, and sure, we tasted some. Bought a couple of growlers for home.
On the way home, despite a state-of-the-art GPS system, I managed to get lost, so we saw parts of New York State that perhaps no human has seen before. It was snowing a little, and our son called to say that school had already been canceled for tomorrow (sigh).
By the time we got home, it was dark, and Dearest had made dinner for us. The dog was so happy to see us; the cat was so happy to see McIrish. Tonight the snow will fall, and we’re safe and home, and there’s no better feeling than that.