Saturday, July 18, 2009
What a great time I've had on my virtual (blog/dream/I wish) vacation to Nantucket! Such a pleasant escape from the 87 loads of laundry I have waiting for me compliments of children and husband out of school with not much better to do than wear things and throw them on the floor, but I digress... back to Nantucket. It's not too early to start making reservations for the annual Nantucket Stroll held the first weekend in December. What a perfect place to jump start your holiday shopping! Check out the details on the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce website. How about a copy of "Journey Around Nantucket from A to Z" for everyone on your list? The perfect way to learn more about this lovely island and remember your vacation!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Having fun on Nantucket?... I am... at least on my vicarious blog vacation! Don't you love Nantucket's lighthouses? Even if you live east of nowhere and have never been anywhere in your life, you've probably seen a picture of one of these beloved landmarks that have a long history of safe guarding vessels. As you don your bikini today, here's something to chuckle about... (or impress your buddies with as you play 18 holes).... During the 1850's, the viewing platform of Sankaty Head Light had to be widened to accomodate ladies' fashionable hoop skirts! Not quite as comfortable as today's fashions (except maybe those skinny jeans in which case I'd choose the hoops)!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Greetings from Nantucket! (Or so I wish). If you're just joining me, come along... I'm on a blog vacation to Nantucket this week, revisiting many of the sights and scenes I discovered while researching my book, "Journey Around Nantucket from A to Z". Are we tired of July traffic yet? Let's hop on our bikes! Because Nantucket is so small- about 14 miles long and 3 miles wide, it's the perfect place to bike... and the island has over 24 miles of paved paths! Look for the color coded signs to point you in the right direction..... Passing, on your left!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Ok, so technically, that's a comet in the picture, but I think we can wish on it anyway. This week, I'm wishing for a Nantucket vacation, please join me! Today I think it would be fun to take the kids to explore some of the Maria Mitchell sites. She was such an inspiration... at a time when many women didn't have many choices other than to be wives and mothers, she became an astronomer, educator, and the Atheneum's first librarian. In 1847, she discovered a comet and was awarded a gold medal by the king of Denmark! Let's have some fun exploring her house, an aquarium, and two observatories that are operated by the Maria Mitchell Association (see link above). There are many fun programs for kids offered. Also check out Nantucket's library, the Atheneum. Such a grand building derserves a grand name! I love the original children's book art from various Nantucket books in the children's room. While you're there, kids can join the summer reading program and you pick up a relaxing book for yourself!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Thanks for joining me on my blog vacation to Nantucket this week. I know, I know, it's summer and you want to head to the beach, but I highly recommend a visit to the Whaling Museum at some point during your visit. From the early 1700's to the mid 1800's, Nantucket prospered as the whaling capital of the world and the downtown area bustled with businesses outfitting ships for long voyages that often lasted several years. Part of the Whaling Museum was an old factory that made candles from whale oil. The museum has a great booklet for kids to follow as they tour the museum.
Hold on to your hats... With the cry, "Thar she blows!" small rowboats were sent off the whaling ships to harpoon the whale. Once hit, the whale took the crew on a wild "Nantucket sleigh ride."
Monday, July 13, 2009
After three weeks of cleaning up after children and husband who are all out of school for the summer (and providing sherpa, chef, laundry, taxi, and referee services on the side), I've decided it's time for a vacation since I'm not getting anything done anyway. How about Nantucket? Well, if I can't actually go, at least I can pretend I'm there... can't I? Pack up your Nantucket Reds and join me this week on a blog vacation to Nantucket!
Fun Factoid... Native American Wampanoags, Nantucket's first inhabitants, gave the island its name which means "faraway land". Many island locations have maintained their native names: Monomoy- "Black Soil" and "Siasconset- "Place of Bones".
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
To some this may be known as a redwood forest, more specifically, Muir Woods (North of San Francisco), but to my husband and I, we will always think of it as "Elmo's World". To get everyone in the family on board and enthusiastic about my books, I have always included them on the research/traveling part. Looking forward to a trip and traveling makes the endless hours of mom/wife writing and painting more tolerable (the fact that this is actually my job doesn't tend to enter the equation... they view that part as the dreaded four letter word "work" which takes away from my time being a personal, unpaid servant). As we strolled the awe- inspiring, tranquil redwood forest of Muir Woods taking pictures for my book, "Journey Around San Francisco from A to Z", my husband and I were serenaded by our toddler singing as loud as she could, "BA BA- BA BA, ELMO'S WORLD!" All in a days work... On our two week research trip we came home with 1,500 photographs. Now in the digital camera age, I have learned to take notes with my camera least I become distracted by one of my young research assistants... I photograph information plaques that I want to remember or read with less distraction at a later date. Do you have "Elmo's World" stuck in your head now? I do. I may have to go watch a rerun for old time sake!
Some of my favorite children's books stem from Maine authors... E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web", Robert McCloskey's, "One Morning in Maine" and "Burt Dow Deep Water Man", and Barbara Cooney's "Miss Rumphius". When I was thinking about what to include in my book, "Journey Around Maine from A to Z", I knew that I HAD to include a page about these and the many more authors that call Maine home. After some research and dilberation, I thought it would be fun to include an illustration of E.B. White's house so I set off to Brooklin Maine to snap some photos. I stopped at a local market and they pointed the way. They also told me that the family no longer owned the house. Hmmmm. That might be a problem, but I had to check it out anyway. When I spotted the house that fit the description, I did a quick u-turn, pulled over, thought I'd take a couple discreet photos, and then... my car fell into a ditch- two wheels in, two wheels out and me at a 45 degree angle! So much for discreet! A very friendly man soon stopped and organized a crew of about 1/2 the town to help me out. I was so grateful that I acknowledged this helpful fellow on the dedication page of my book... I hope he somehow gets my message of thanks! I was too flustered at the time to take the picture! I opted for using historic photos and my imagination to paint a picture of E.B. White's boathouse where he actually wrote, "Charlotte's Web".
To get a better view of Maine's books and authors, I highly reccommend the wonderful "Booktown" exhibit at the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor. Kids can enter the "Good Night Moon" room, climb on Wilbur's back, and hop aboard Burt Dow's boat the Tidely- Idely. My kids loved it!
I've always found this poem by Shel Silverstein to be inspiring...
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be."
While researching my book, "Journey Around Cape Cod and the Islands from A to Z", I traveled to the the Camp Grounds in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard and gleefully learned that one of the adorable gingerbread cottages belonged to Shel Silverstein! Respectful of his privacy, I did not put his cottage in the book, but I WAS curious about what wonderful words were on the paper I saw by his pen on his porch table! My husband restrained me from taking a peek!
I did the painting above more than 10 years ago, and I think I've improved since then. I'd love to go back and do some more paintings of these charming cottages!
Friday, July 3, 2009
The books are officially out and are shipping! I have yet to see them in the stores, but the word is... they are out there! Very exciting! Have you seen them in any stores yet? Let me know... Thanks!
Tomorrow, I'll be at Where the Sidewalk Ends in Chatham, MA from 2-4, stop by and say hello!
Wishing everyone an fun and happy 4th of July weekend! My nephew is on his way up to say, "Hello, Cape Cod!". I am a very excited auntie and have two very excited cousins waiting his arrival.