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Monday, May 11, 2009

On The Road Again

May's a huge month this year. Three--count 'em--three college graduations, and then, of course shortly after, the Big Day.

But right now we're between the first and second graduation. Which means we're on the road between Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Carolina Blue holds sway over UNC, and St. Louis, where no one seems to care what color you wear at Washington University.

The highlight of the trip so far--ceremonies aside--was Boone, North Carolina. With a name like Boone, I admit my inner city girl was a little snarkish. I mean how much could a place with a name like that in a southern state offer?
Well, put that city girl to bed. Boone was an amazing place. Home of Appalachian State U, it is a beautiful place. Hilly, like San Francisco, but with tree-covered mountains framing it.m Well, hardly mountains, says my Canadian husband, but not hills either. Just pretty, pretty, pretty.

In fact, the ride through the Cherokee National Forest to Boone, was worth the trip in itself.

And Boone was a great place to stretch out legs and catch a bite. We ate at Boone Drugs, which has been a part of the town since 1919. It has an old soda fountain set in the midst of herbal remedies. The food was only so-so, but we probably should have had hamburgers instead of the vegetable plate. But we enjoyed the atmosphere and the gold plates naming the regulars who have now passed on.

It was fun to walk up and down the main street with its vintage clothing stores (we saw beautiful wedding dresses in one), craft galleries, antique and collectible stores (vintage games like Go to the Head of the Class) and the metal-cast car place. Every vehicle you could think of in three-inch metal. My husband treated the place like a shrine and went around pointing out every car he'd ever driven or ridden in over the last fifty years.

Of course I can't go anywhere without thinking story, and Boone has a ton going for it--scenery, a university, the local mountain community, history, and possibility. It would be fun to spend some time there doing research. In fact, I saw a house there that looked almost exactly like the house I described in One Deadly Sin in which the elderly Ellen Garvey lived. I love it when something I imagined exists somewhere in reality...

Chapel Hill is another great place. UNC rules the roost there. The fire trucks, the buses, even the police cars are Carolina blue. Graduation day was a sea of sky as nearly 4,000 undergrads sat in Kenan Stadium and listened to Desmond Tutu talk about our role in the universe as God's helpers.

Graduation was on everyone's mind in Chapel Hill. Many restaurants had special hours and special deals for the weekend. The hotels were booked, and with Duke graduating the same weekend, there were many folks, like us, in that part of the state with smiles on their faces.

We get a one-day stopover at home and then on to St. Louis. It will be interesting to see the difference between a big-city graduation and what happened at UNC. The graduating class there is so big they don't call out individual names. I think things will be a little more intimate at Wash U. But I'll bet the city doesn't close down either, so you don't have that wonderful feeling that the whole world is celebrating with you.
Hope your month is as full of good things as mine. And of course, this is all just prep for the wedding, which comes in June.

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Blogger Wendi said...

Hi Annie!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I LOVED One Deadly Sin and have been talking it up a storm with friends. :) I will be taking it with me to our next book club. Some of the ladies there really enjoy mysteries, and I think they could do with a bit of romance too. ;)

I'm off to go hunt out more of your books!!

~ Wendi

May 12, 2009 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Hey, Wendi! Thanks again for the promo. Your blog is great and you've got quite a crowd of enthusiasts. Hope you enjoy the other books.

May 13, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

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