I spent the weekend in the Hudson Valley in New York with my kids, my parents, three of my sisters and all their kids, and friends of our family. It was a magical time! The entire weekend was to be a surprise birthday celebration for one of my sisters, planned by her boyfriend and her business manager. Unfortunately, our father slipped last week during a phone conversation, (he's a terrible secret-keeper), but that in no way diminished the fun we had.
Our events agenda included apple picking, hay rides, square dancing (so hilarious!), horseback riding, a hunt for pumpkins hidden in a corn field, a birthday dinner in a circa 1760s farmhouse, s'mores by the bonfire, pumpkin carving for the kids, and lots of eating and drinking.
Our party staying in several local Bed and Breakfasts, restored historic homes with the most gorgeous wide plank wood floors and furnished entirely with antiques. I slept in a four-poster bed and bathed in a claw foot tub. I had my notebook and pen out all weekend, taking notes to capture the essence of these homes preserved in time.
I'm going to have all the photos I took of the houses printed and they're going on my design wall behind the computer monitor in my writing studio. You never know when you'll need details, inspiration, or descriptions for a story! I try to take advantage of every place I visit, even the more mundane or everyday spots, and record as many details as I can for future writings.
I was fortunate to be able to do this kind of research without spending any money. My trip was paid for entirely -- a gift to my sister to have her whole family present. But a writer is always researching -- at the grocery store, in the local botanical gardens, at a bus station, in the mall and restaurants.
Where are your favorite places to research for your writing?