Jane got a call from her friend Lorraine who wondered if we’d like to do a trip north to Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The oyster season had begun and I was more than interested. You see Lorraine Eaton is the food writer for The states main newspaper, The Virginian Pilot, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the culinary secrets of this glorious part of the world.
It took a millisecond to say “Yes!” Read the rest of this entry »
I’d visited Smithfield, Virginia, 5 years ago, by chance really, we were lost. We found a gorgeous old town filled with decorative Victorian houses, old shops (some empty) and incredibly friendly people. An old guy, with a HAM sticker on the rear window of his pick-up truck, pulled over and asked if he could help. We said we were lost…on our way to historic Charlottesville.
“Why would you want to go there? Smithfield is so much prettier and if you want to buy some good food we are the home of HAM.”
So we picked up some country ham, drove around the streets and snapped pics of pretty houses. But it was only a fleeting visit and I was left wanting to know more. Read the rest of this entry »
We’d been talking to Janes friend Tracy, asking what he was doing this Sunday, did he want to catch up? He said he was attending gospel church with his mother. Tracy described a small country parish that had seen generations of people attending church, celebrating their faith with fellowship, music and… song.
Could this be one of those churches I’d read about where the congregation bursts into song, sounding like Aretha Franklin, swaying rhythmically, responding viscerally to the music and messages of their faith? I was curious…
How do you let someone know you’d like to witness this without turning their deep spirituality into entertainment, a spectacle? But it wasn’t so complicated…Tracy simply invited us to come along. Read the rest of this entry »
Tangier is a small sand island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, on the east coast of America. My next book is set on a fictitious version of Tangier and researching it was the real reason for my trip to the States.
I’d read about Tangier in 2007. Bill Bryson mentioned in his book, The Mother Tongue, the archaic Elizabethan dialect spoken by the inhabitants of the isolated Island. I’ve remained curious about how such a quaint anomaly can exist in a connected, modern world.
Tangier Island is famous for its soft shell crabs, oysters and striped bass. The fishermen who ply their trade there are called Watermen.
And sadly it’s also famous for being the island that is slowly disappearing into the sea. I felt a compulsion to see it before it was too late! Read the rest of this entry »
The plan was to explore the South Fork of Long Island, the true Hampton’s. A place where the super rich of New York have their holiday homes, spend long summers and big dollars. It’s a place of pretty little towns, South, East and West Hampton and grand estates. Jay Gatsby lived in the South Fork…
Sag Harbor, on the other side of the bay from Shelter Island would be our destination. Jane knew of an interesting restaurant there and thought it would be a good place to stop for lunch. Read the rest of this entry »
Our trip continues and we eventually reach Greenport, at the top end of the North Fork. From there we take the Ferry to Shelter Island. I look out across the water, see a yacht and am instantly reminded of my own sailing adventure a few weeks back. I contemplate how nice it would be to do a bit of sailing in this part of the world.
Jane tells me Shelter Island was named because it was used as a haven for boats during the hurricane season. It’s still a safe place during the stormy season, Jane’s friend had called only a few days ago to say they were moored there during a particularly rough night.
I was curious to see what this safe haven actually looked like. Read the rest of this entry »
The sign out front of the quaint white church said ‘Journey to Forever’…. well I didn’t think we were going quite that far but it seemed like a pleasant invitation to come explore the beautiful North Fork of Long Island. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s 3am Monday morning, I’ve hardly slept, have a plane to catch and might as well get up. It’s a very long way from Melbourne to my sisters place in The Hampton’s on the East Coast of America. I will fly from Melbourne to Sydney, then L.A., then New York and finish with two trains, to reach my final destination… thousands of miles away and about 30 hours later. Read the rest of this entry »