Joy in Places

Wickeds, continuing with our November theme of joy–

What place consistently brings you joy? It can be a small place like a reading nook or a favorite chair, or as big as a town or even a country. It may even exist today in your memory. But you know that whenever you go there, even if you are tired, or stressed, or down, it will bring you joy. And then tell me the same thing about one of your characters.

Sherry: Do I have to pick just one? Okay, okay. Boston. Every time I fly into Logan I think, “I’m home.” I love the history, the ocean, the accents, the food. I found out a few years ago that in the 1600s someone from my maternal grandmother’s side of the family landed in Hingham, Massachusetts. I think the love for that city is in my DNA. Sarah Winston ended up in Massachusetts because of her ex-husband’s military career. She fell in love for it too and didn’t leave after they divorced.

Edith/Maddie: I find great joy and peace in being at my uncle’s second home in the Alexander Valley north of San Francisco. It’s in the area where I set the Cece Barton Mysteries and where I was last week for in-person launch events for Murder Uncorked. plus some solo writing time. The air is dry and quiet and fragrant with western scents of herbs and live oaks. The view is stunning. Little California quail run along the top of the fence and call to each other. And when my cousins and their spouses are here, we talk and laugh and eat and drink. I’m so lucky to be connected to their family. Cece feels the same about Colinas, where she lives half a mile from her twin sister in one direction and a mile from her wine bar in the other. She also has quails on her fence!

Julie: Edith, what a lovely view! My place is a memory now–my grandparents had a cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee and I have nothing but joyful memories there. A beautiful place full of love. In my books, Lilly has her gardens. I think that Delia, Lilly’s roommate, is happiest in the town archives. Places have such emotional resonance, don’t they?

Barb: I get very attached to places and the memory of places. Right now, I would say the place that brings me joy is my fourth floor study in our townhouse-style condo in Portland, Maine. It had big windows and glass doors to large decks on two sides, and I can see the cruise ships at dock out the eastern windows and the oldest cemetery in Portland out the west. It’s my personal space and I have it set up just the way I want it. For Julia Snowden, the protagonist in the Maine Clambake Mysteries, joy is her new apartment in the renovated mansion, Windsholme, on Morrow Island, where her family runs their authentic Maine clambakes. Specifically, it’s the window seat in her living room, where she reads, relaxes and sometimes does a little sleuthing in her limited free time.

Jessie: we should check to see if our family trees are in the same grove, Sherry! My family was heading generally that way in the 1600s too! For a large scale place I would have to say the seaside, particularly the North Atlantic. My spirits lift every time I draw near to it. My heart pinches and sinks as I watch it fade in the rear view mirror as I drive away. As to personal space, I would have to mention my library, office, and screen house as places that bring me quiet joy. As Barb says, I have things just as I like them and it all pleases me immensely.
My sleuth, Edwina, feels much the same way about her home, the Beeches, as well as her surrounding gardens. She is always refreshed by returning home no matter how much fun she has out in the wider world.

Readers: Tell us about a place that brings you joy.

22 Thoughts

  1. As I’ve often said, my happy place – a place that brings me joy, is my front porch. However, I have to add in our car. That may sound strange, but if I’m in my car, it means I’m spending time with hubby. Sometimes it’s just into town to run errands, but sometimes it also means we are off on another great adventure. We can be on the hunt for critters in the wild or finding a new place we’ve never been to before or even going back to a place we love. Although it’s a great adventure, to me it’s the quality time with just the two of us with no distractions of things that need to be done, phones or computers. Guess after 40+ years it just proves fate and faith had us picking the right mate to spend out life with.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. I can literally feel myself relaxing as I drive down to The Cottage in Ligonier, seeing the mountains of the Laurel Highlands. So sad when I leave and I don’t get to spend enough time down there. At home, it’s my sun room. Unfortunately, with the weather turning cold, I can’t stay out there long.

    Jim and Sally feel the same as I do about the Laurel Highlands. Betty Ahern likes walking the Lake Erie shore.

    1. I always think one of the joys of a seasonal or second home is the coming and the going, each time marking a season. It’s already cold here in Maine. Our last batch of laundry included shorts and t shirts, corduroys and flannel shirts.

  3. JOY… one of my favorite words, and what I aim to feel at all times, as unrealistic as it may be 🙂 I have traveled all over the world and been to awesome places and met amazing people, but what brings me joy is coming home. I thank God that we left “civilization” 🙂 behind, and settled down in an avocado and tropical fruit ranch in the mountains of San Diego county. We have a one-story home overlooking a valley below and beyond that reminds us very much of Tuscany. I am joyful every time I look out of our windows, or when we sit outside by the pool to have breakfast, or to read and get distracted by the never-ending views. I seem to see something new every time. JOY…that’s my word, and you, dear Wickeds provide me with so much of it by offering me a ticket to your worlds and my BFF’s who live there. As long as you have joy writing, I will have joy reading your brilliant writing. Thank you most sincerely! Luis at ole dot travel

  4. For me the woods in my backyard are where I go to destress and find joy. There’s always something new to discover and the wildlife are a balm to the soul.

  5. The window view from my desk. I hang a hummingbird feeder there in the summer and a birdbath year round. I also have a bird swing there and love watching the birds play on it. I live in New England so have a nice view of changing seasons on the trees. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  6. My happy place is with my four grandchildren that are all 7 and under. No matter how stressed or tired I am they bring me joy! I also love my walking trail here in Maine that runs along the river. I also find joy by the ocean here in Maine or at my snowbird home in Bradenton, Florida.

    1. We have just returned from a 10 day trip visiting 2 sets of grandchildren, so I totally get it. We’re planning and hoping to have everyone here for Thanksgiving.

  7. I’m going to go with two. One is Disneyland. Yes, I’m a Disnerd. But as soon as I step on Main Street, I’m smiling. I haven’t been for a couple of years now, and I’m not sure when I’ll be going back, which saddens me.

    The second is a redwood state park I grew up camping in. I haven’t been there in years (a decade?) and I miss it and the redwoods in general. I love the smell and the quiet. And we have so many happy memories of time there as a family.

    1. Being east coasters, we’re more DisneyWorld than DisneyLand, but I have been to DisneyLand and loved it. I’ve also been to see redwoods, thought as a tourist, not a camper, but I think I would love that.

  8. My memories of the Great Lakes bring me joy. I was a midwesterner the first 75 years of my life and always lived within a mile of one of the lakes. I loved to watch the ship traffic especially when they were traveling in one of the rivers between two lakes. This summer I discovered a website “Ships of the Great Lakes”. I love to see which ships are traveling up and down the lakes. I recognize the scenery where each picture was taken as well as the ship names. It brings back great memories to me.

    1. That sounds lovely. When cruise ships are in Portland harbor, I always look up to see which ones they are, how many passengers they have and other interesting facts about them.

  9. My back deck, in the summer, brings me joy. I love reading there, feeling the breeze, watching the hummingbirds feed, and listening to the wind chimes.

  10. Hi! I have a question for Liz — have you been to the Compass Inn Museum in Laughlintown? I grew up in Greensburg and Ligonier (have lived most of my adult life in Virginia), and as a teenager I worked as a volunteer tour guide there. Have many happy memories of sharing the inn with visitors and having chats with the innkeeper over a cup of cider when the weather turned chilly.

  11. That question for Liz is from Tanya — for some reason the space to enter a name didn’t show up with the comment box. (Still isn’t showing now.)

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