On Vacating

Edith here, who got back last night from a real vacation. A real vacation! I don’t take one very often, so this getaway was long overdue.  Leave a comment about road trips or other favorite vacays and you might win my last ARC of Turning the Tide.

Hugh and I left on the Ides of March and drove south to Silver Spring, Maryland. We visited with my older son Allan and his fiancee, Alison, and got to tour the September wedding venue (squee!).


We also taste tested a caterer, and play a wicked fun game with the couple and Alison’s parents, Rick and Sue.


Allan, Hugh, and I  spent one day in DC. We caught the Caldor mobile exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, and the giant blue rooster, of course.


We paid a pop-in visit to the Obama portraits in the Portrait Gallery, which was a huge treat, as was seeing a portrait of the female Supreme Court justices, and paying homage to Louisa May Alcott.


We were lucky to spend our last night in the DC area with fellow Wicked Sherry and her darling husband Bob and of course the four-legged Lilly, but failed to snap even a single picture.

From there we drove to Asheville, North Carolina, where you can visit a microbrewery about every other block. It was fun to catch up with Hugh’s sister Anne and brother-in-law Jim. We also feasted on the sight of flowers in bloom, something that isn’t happening yet in New England.

We ate out every night, but one of the best classically southern meals was lunch the first day. Fried catfish and Brussels sprouts, anyone, or fried chicken on a biscuit with sausage gravy and cheesy grits? Yum. (And now I’m home? A serious diet is on the menu.)

We also played a lot of cards and a dice game named Farkle, because it was cold and snowy one of the days.


We visited all kinds of art galleries, indoor and out, and ate lunch at a barbeque place where I had the best home-smoked BLT I have ever tasted.

BLTOutdoor sculpture

After one dinner out we hit the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. I found out the next day the French Broad is a river running through Asheville, not the founder of the lounge!


One highlight was a visit to the Thomas Wolfe house. I soaked up the nineteenth century kitchen and bedroom decor for my historical research, but also soaked up so much information on a fellow author I  knew nothing about.

Another special evening was cocktails at the historic Grove Park Hotel overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Grove Park Inn

I grew up with mountains always on my southern California horizons and I felt so at home being surrounded by peaks in Asheville.


Much of the Blue Ridge Parkway wasn’t open because of ice remaining in the tunnels. Still, the views were a delight.


I was able to do a bit of writing on a short story every morning but otherwise just enjoyed myself. I will say I’m looking forward to getting back to work on my books, which is a sign that I have the career I should have.

At our last night at Luella’s barbeque (yes, food to die for), I was alerted to the fact that the man sitting behind me had a gun strapped to his waist. Clever detective that I am, I managed to snap a picture over my shoulder. That’s right, kids, North Carolina is an open-carry state. And yes, story ideas abounded.


We zipped back to DC for one night, and the next day stopped by New Jersey to bring Hugh’s aunt Joyce lunch from her favorite Chinese restaurant.  She’s age almost 93 and still living alone in a senior apartment.


Joyce is the last of her Lockhart generation and a real dear – who also happens to be a fan of my books. I made sure she had a copy of each new one.

I made good use of my passenger time on the two-day trip home, and managed to finish the first draft of the story I’d been working on – the old-fashioned way.


Turning the TideThe vacation was time away from book work, but I acquired a number of ideas for new stories and let my creative brain mostly rest, too. And it’s wonderful to be home. Our cats left us mountains of fur and creative scatterings of coasters on the floor – which of course means they were on the tables.

Now I’m ramping up for the April 8 release of Turning the Tide, and I find myself with one last ARC. Who can I send it to?

Readers: We talked here about our favorite vacations a couple of weeks ago. What’s been your favorite road trip? Your most unusual vacation? Let me know in the comments and I’ll send an ARC along!

56 Thoughts

  1. What a nice description of your vacation. I can see why your a bestselling author. I’m over 60, but I remember when my best friend and I (a long time ago), would just take off on a road trip. We packed some clothes and a tent and just wherever the wind blew. We had such good times. Ending up in different states and seeing sites, and meeting new people. We’re from Ct. Another New Englander who really wishes the warm weather would hurry up and get here.

  2. Thank you, Edith, for this wonderful vacation story, words and photos. I admire your skill in writing as a passenger; something that I cannot do while in motion (except on a train). Best wishes for April 8 with Turning the Tide.

  3. What a lovely travelogue & such happy and beautiful pics
    (excluding the open carry!) I love that part of the world. You look like people I’d be glad to know!

    In Setember 2017 I took a vacation that was my first in a long time too and it was enchanting. My twin sister and I meandered in the beauty of West Cork. She drove, thank God! I found you Wicked Cozies thanks to Sheila’s mysteries. And they inpired lots of our stops! Thanks to 23 & me we’ve since learned much to our delight that we have some Irish blood! ☘

    Off in April on a train journey NYC to Montreal with my 13 year old daughter, Zoë! We watched Murder on the Orient Express with David Suchet to get ourselves all worked up in anticipation!

    Thank you for inviting stories to keep yours company!

    Frances Carpenter
    Providence RI

  4. Sounds like a lovely vacation. Alas, I don’t think I’ve ever actually had one (oldest child, then worker, then mom, then back to a worker) and I appear to have fallen off your ARC list.

  5. Sounds like and looks like – good job taking photos!- a great vacation with a mix of all the best – family, friends, food, scenery. Spring! A dear college friend was from Asheville and she is astonished at how it has changed from those days. We’ve been there a couple of times. So beautiful and interesting we gave some serious thought to it as a retirement home. Our most unusual vacation? Maybe Quebec City for winter carnival. We both grew up in snow belt places and my husband said he missed it. We flew north and had a few days in a real winter wonderland. Lovely, fun and very cold. Midnight ice skating on the brightly lit up- and busy!- rink at the old city gates. Giant ice sculptures. A visit to an ice hotel – looked like a fairy tale. And those Canadians, and lots of visiting New Englanders, fighting the winter blues with a citywide party. They know how to do it!

    1. My sister lived in Quebec City and nearby for many years, Triss. I never made it up for winter carnival – bad circulation in my feet makes that a bad idea – but it always sounded so fun!

  6. We did a lot of traveling (my husband was career Army) but I think one of the best trips we took was to Hong Kong, Singapore and Bankok with 2 of our kids, aged 14 and 9. (The oldest was in college in the States). We were stationed in Guam and took advantage of the proximity to travel and expose the kids to the Far East. They absolutely loved the trip and saw another side of this world. My son’s favorite thing about it was riding the Star Ferry across Hong Kong harbor – we did it a lot! My daughter loved it all. They still talk about it 30 years later!

  7. How can you write in the car? I’d be sick as a dog if I did that. Some people have all the luck, I guess. I talk to my husband when we drive anywhere. Usually it’s a fun conversation but when he starts talking about work, I stop listening, and he knows to change the subject. We took a 12 hour trip to Indiana this summer and a 9 hour trip to Charlotte and we talked the whole way. The radio never came on during either trip, cause we were talking. It was actually pretty cool!

    1. I used to get car sick but not much anymore – and we were on straight highways. I didn’t try to write in the mountains! We do talk a lot as we drive, too.

  8. Sounds like you had an awesome vacation!
    I just camback from vacation in Myrtle Beach and had an wonderful time myself. Congratulations on your new release and finishing your first draft!

  9. I don’t really take many road trips or vacations because we do not like to leave our three dogs and cat, and they can be a challenge with travel. We are thinking about an early fall trip.
    Loved your pictures, especially the blue rooster!

  10. Glad you were able to get away and recharge your batteries so to speak. Looks like you had an amazing time. Love it when a trip is fun and full good food and great people. 🙂

    We are looking forward to our bucket list trip to Yellowstone National Park in July.

  11. What a fabulous sounding trip, Edith! I’ve done a lot of road trips (I love to drive), but I think the most memorable one was when I decided to drive to a wedding in Denver from Lancaster, PA. My daughter, who lives in AZ, asked if I would “swing by” AZ on the way! Oh, sure, why not? What’s a couple extra thousand miles? I was traveling alone, so I had full control of where I went and when. I stopped to visit friends across the country, slept in the car on alternate nights to save money and time, stopped at any “attraction” I came across even if it was quite a few miles “that-away”. I found the most fascinating things and places and met wonderful people. I’m nine years older, but ready to do it again. I will be driving to AZ again next month. But I won’t be alone; my darling hubby will be along and we have a specific agenda we must more or less follow. But we do love serendipity, so who knows what is to come? I would love to win your book, which I’m sure I will like every bit as much as I do all your books.

  12. Our Alaskan cruise was one of my favorite trips. We saw plenty of bald eagles, whales and bears. Thank you for the chance to win.

  13. I took a trip to Maine and parts of Canada about 8 years ago. It was an amazing vacation! We got to see Bar Harbor, Maine, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, parts of Nova Scotia, and Acadia National Park.
    My husband and I are taking a trip to Boston in July (just the 2 of us without our kids) and I’m really looking forward to this trip! My to see list is about a mile long already!
    Your vacation sounds fabulous! Thanks for the chance to win.

  14. One of my favorite road trips was driving to Southern Iowa to spend the weekend with a friend of mine and her 5 kids. I loved looking at the scenery and seeing the small towns.

  15. Oh gosh. I haven’t been on a “real” vacation in years, but favorite road trip has to be going to the 2014 Writer’s Police Academy with three of my Sisters in Crime friends. We laughed all the way down and all the way home.

  16. My most unusual vacation was with my family when I was 12 years old. We were living in Tehran, Iran because of my fathers work. We flew from Iran to Greece ,spent Christmas in Athens, then went to Crete and Rhodes. In the midst of that trip we also flew to Amman, Jordan to go to Petra. We stayed over night in a “hotel” with no electricity, cots with a very thin blanket and a kerosene heater! It was very cold. When morning finally came we were getting ready to mount horses to see the ancient city. My 8 year old brother weant missing. He had wandered off and the men spent a half hour searching for him! (He tended to do that a lot). We finally went through the wadi and saw the beautiful Treasury and the rest of the ancient city. Best Christmas break ever!

    1. That’s pretty amazing, Galen. We took our sons from Burkina Faso, where we were living in 98-99, on a road trip to Ghana and Togo, when they were 9 and 12. I wonder if they feel the same about the trip. They’ll both be here for Easter – I’ll ask them!

      1. I bet they will have fond memories! I was very lucky to have parents that loved to travel and explore each country we lived in- Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran. Best childhood ever!

  17. In January I went to Puerto Vallarta for a week. I was so happy to
    get away from the cold weather in southern Illinois and be able
    to bask in the warm sun. I’m a widow so I was on my own but
    it was still a wonderful trip. I look forward to going someplace
    warm in January – if possible. That’s usually my only vacation
    for the year. Your trip looks amazing. Love the big chicken.
    Glad you had a wonderful time. take care
    thanks for sharing. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. Warm in January, Marylou? Perfection! We did this same trip two years ago and it was in the seventies in Asheville. Not this year…

  18. I am jealous of you being able to write while riding in a car! I succumb to motion sickness very easily, so I can’t read or write in a moving anything, so thank goodness for audiobooks! Every summer while growing up, my Dad took all 7 of us on a road trip to somewhere in the U.S. that we had never been. My favorite road-trip was many, many years ago when we visited my Mom’s family right outside of Terre Haute, Indiana. They all had houses around a private lake, so there were lots of water activities and party boats that the kids (including me) actually got to pilot from one side of the lake to the other. I had never met this part of my family before, but immediately fell in love with all of them. Then we went to Mackinac Island, visited the Grand Hotel and went on a carriage ride all over the island that was a wonderful adventure. My Dad planned great trips!

  19. Your vacation sounds wonderful. I could go for something like that.

    (And I don’t have an ARC of Turning the Tide. Just saying.)

  20. I love that blue rooster!!!
    When I was just out of college a girlfriend and I drove non-stop from Minnesota to California to visit my boyfriend who was in the army. That was quite a trip with one of us driving, the other sleeping in the back seat all the way.
    Thanks for your contest, I’d love to win the ARC.

    1. Isn’t it great? Also awesome is that ALL the national museums don’t cost a cent to visit. Our tax dollars at work. I love the boyfriend-destination road trip.

  21. When I feel the need for a road trip, I always head for the Texas Hill Country. It’s only a 2 – 3 hour trip from where I live in North Texas, which is a plus. There are beautiful small towns with lots of antique stores and other shopping, museums, and beautiful scenery.

    1. I’ve heard about the hill country – and that there are adjacent towns named Maxwell and Lockhart (my Hugh’s last name)! A good omen if ever there was one.

  22. Congratulations on your son’s engagement, Edith. So exciting. And your trip looks wonderful. We drove Skyline Drive on a family vacay when I was a kid and I’ll never forget how gorgeous it was. I do need a little more info on that chocolate lounge, though. I.e., when are they coming to L.A.?! 😉

  23. My Sister and I took a vacation in the Fall to Niagara Falls and Upper New York. We saw the Erie Canal and Gettysburg and visited Holmes County in Ohio. We also visited friends and had a very busy two weeks and a really great time. I really think we should do it more often!

  24. I love Asheville!! We go frequently since it’s only about two hours away.
    I think traveling to the Tennessee mountains is my favorite road trip because it’s so scenic. I can’t think of an unusual vacation to share. Sorry.

  25. What a lovely trip (and what WAS the wicked fun game?) I’ve enjoyed driving to Jonesborough, TN, and Denton, TX, and other cities for storytelling . . . and traveled teaching study skills one year. Lately I’ve been thinking of and telling of an incident from way back in 1970. Driving from St. Louis to Minneapolis, changing drivers on an isolated stretch of highway, we had our car door pulled awry by a passing truck’s “breeze.” As we stood trying to figure a way to secure it until we could get it repaired, a young boy on a tractor stopped, put a rock in the hinge, slammed the door on it, and it was fixed. He drove off, never having said a word . . . we stood, mouths agape, finally managing to wave and shout thanks. Farm kids know how to do stuff! . . .

  26. I enjoyed reading your post! My favorite vacation was a trip to visit relatives in Denmark! Once in a lifetime trip that I will never forget!!!

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