Today is full of last-minute chores -- arranging matters for the cat-sitter -- and packing -- and re-packing. But I've found a new slogan to keep me focused on the job at hand. It reminds me that I'm headed for a few blissful days in some of my favorite towns -- where people are gracious, the weather is soft and warm, the houses are gorgeous, and the food is innovative and delicious.
Here's a "heads up" for my South Carolina followers -- those lucky folks who live where I only get to visit. After a couple of nights pretending we are guests of the Vanderbilts in Asheville, we head to Charleston, where we'll have two days to wander the Market, eat at FIG (Food Is Good), and maybe visit a wonderful plantation or two, like Middleton Place.
On Wednesday, we head to Bluffton, just outside of Hilton Head, where a local women's club has invited me to a tour and luncheon in an 1850s mansion -- along with the chance to talk to their Book Club members who read The Road to Frogmore and introduce them to Damned Yankee.
The next day we move to Beaufort, which many of you will recognize from reading Beyond All Price and the other books in that South Carolina series. On Thursday afternoon I'll be talking about the new book, Damned Yankee, at the Beaufort County Library. We'll also be talking about the difference between history and historical fiction and how the two tend to collide and stir themselves together.
I have a few designs on the local National Cemetery, the burial grounds for both Union and Confederate soldiers. And on Friday, I'm scheduled to visit book outlets on St. Helena Island -- the wonderful store called "What's In Store" and the Museum Bookstore at the Penn Center. But after that, our plans are vague. Beaufort is one of those places seems to invites visitors to poke around. No matter where you happen to look, there is bound to be something fascinating.
This trip is part "Book Tour" and part "Research Trip," although at this stage, I'm not sure what I might end up researching. I'm just ready to let South Carolina wash over me again and set my mind to wandering. If you happen to be at any of the same places, wave and say "Hi." South Carolina makes friends out of strangers.