In our world of high-thrill amusement parks and adventure outdoor entertainment, it is nice to see the simple things in life still appreciated. I like a roller coaster as well as the next person, but there is something about our annual Highland Games that makes the three day event special. The air carries the delicious scent of BBQ, and the vendors offer some of the most unique creations around. I will never develop a taste for Haggis, but the fish-n-chips rocks! After a few bites of a mega-size cookie, I was ready for the games! This year, NH had the pleasure of welcoming Hapfor Bjornsson, aka The Mountain, from Game of Thrones. He can be seen below carrying 500 lbs of stone a record 149 feet. With his closet competitor carrying the stones only 40+ feet, he made the weight seem like a a bag of groceries. Truly impressive!
Have you ever read a book you were seemingly uninterested in only to find out it would alter your life? For my college New England History class I am reading “Farm to Factory” by Thomas Dublin. The premise is a collection of letters written by young girls in the 1800’s to their families. While the subject may not spark a burning desire to read further, the insight into early 19th century living is fascinating. We can learn facts from history books, witness events through photographs, but the writing of every day people provides an unprecedented glimpse into their world.
The young girls writing the letters took the bold step of leaving their secure lives in rural New England for the unpredictable realm of urban living. The letter writers came to love the financial and social independence they found. Instead of marrying at a young age and beginning their families, the girls worked and lived alone. Undoubtedly, the experiences of these ordinary girls influenced the women’s rights movement.
Reading the letters has sparked my interest in my own family history. While I know many of their names, I do not know who they were. Entire lifetimes have been lost behind the span of years, with only fractured remnants of their stories. I had a “many greats” grandfather fight at Gettysburg and a grandmother presumably murdered in early 20th century Boston. These facts are cold, sterile, and without life. I would love to see letters written by them and understand their troubles and joys. While finding information may be impossible, I am now determined to know more than just their names!
I never thought of Italy as a good place to view medieval history, but the northern landscape is dotted with castles. Some structures lay in ruins, but others, like Fenis Castle, contain much of their original splendor. Preservation efforts have allowed this beauty to survive the centuries despite a period deterioration. Not only is the castle a remarkable structure, but the panoramic views create a fairy tale setting.
Vacation usually means go, go, go and cram as much as possible. Not only is the event a blur, but the travel as well. During our recent vacation to Italy, we did something unexpected. Instead of flying into the closest city, we chose to arrive and depart in Zurich, Switzerland. Why add almost four hours each way to our travel time? Because of the experience! There is no way to capture in pictures and words the beauty of the Alps. The views are simply breath-taking.
I am thrilled to be a part of the upcoming Boston Book Festival on October 23rd and 24th. The weekend will be full of inspirational speakers and events.
Be sure to stop by the New Hampshire Writer’s Project Booth on Sunday, October 24th between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. I will be signing copies of The Kingdom of Belamour. For more information check out the event website.
Northern Italy boasts some of the most beautiful castles in the world. My recent trip provided just the inspiration I needed to push The Kingdom of Adeleya into high gear. Spending three nights at Castello Di Pavone was a dream come true. Who wouldn’t be inspired when staying in the tower of an ancient castle? Breath taking views, stunning architecture, and food worth wrecking any diet for rounded out the stay.