Sunday, October 30, 2016

Yankee To The Bone

You can take the girl out of New England, but you can't take New England out of the girl.

Trust me, this is true.

I was born in Massachusetts, and while we left there when I was about eight or nine, I have returned to live in both Massachusetts and Maine for short periods as an adult. And even though most of my life has been spent in Southern California, with stints in Phoenix, San Francisco, and even South Carolina as a kid, I still call Massachusetts "home."

Recently I got back from a short vacation to New England, specifically Rhode Island and Connecticut. I was camping with my family at Fisherman's Memorial State Park in Rhode Island. It's a lovely campground just a mile from Scarborough Beach. I was there during peak foliage season. The weather was crisp and windy but very sunny. In other words, perfect.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I don't have much family so try to return East every couple of years for a visit. Two years ago I visited in August and rented a lovely cottage on Lake Lashaway that was close to them. Another great trip.

Every time I visit New England, there are several  traditions in which I must indulge:

Moxie - an old New England soft drink that is kind of bitter and earthy.  I can get this in Los Angeles at Bev Mo.

Lobster roll - not an entire lobster, but a big juicy lobster roll. Again, thanks to the Lobsta Truck and Cousins Maine Lobster Truck, I can get these in Los Angeles. I can also get live Maine lobsters in my grocery store.

Fried clams/scallops - preferably from a beach side establishment. Very difficult if not impossible to find in Los Angeles.

Indian Pudding - a molasses corn meal pudding that comes in a can. It's great heated with vanilla ice cream. Must be ordered online if I want to have this in LA. Only thing I missed on this last trip.

As I said, most of the above can be found in LA, but it's not the same as having them in the mother ship of New England.

You'll notice all my favorites must-haves are food-related. I'll bet you expected at least mentions of the Patriots or the Red Sox, but, no, I'm not much of a sports fan. New England sports fans are rabid and that includes those in my family, but somehow I missed that gene.

But what really speaks to my soul isn't the food, but the overwhelming beauty of New England. I've traveled to almost every state in the U.S. and they all have their own special beauty, but when I see miles and miles of woods ablaze with red, orange and gold, as on this recent trip, the sap in my veins warms like maple syrup poured over freshly flipped pancakes.

So it's no accident that I've placed two of my Southern California based novels in New England, specifically Massachusetts.

The fifth Odelia Grey novel, CORPSE ON THE COB, finds California born Odelia coming face-to-face with her long-lost mother in Massachusetts, in a fall corn maze ... over a dead body.

The upcoming 9th Ghost of Granny Apples book, THE GHOSTS OF MISTY HOLLOW, puts medium Emma Whitecastle, Phil Bowers, and, of course, the ghost of Granny Apples, smack in the middle of a mystery of two Massachusetts children who went missing in the 1800's. THE GHOSTS OF MISTY HOLLOW will be released December 6, 2016, and is available now for pre-order.

I know without a doubt that once I'm on the road in my RV that I'll be spending much of the fall (my favorite time) in New England visiting family and friends and drinking in my roots, along with a fair amount of Moxie.  At least until cold weather arrives and I scoot to warmer weather.

You see, you may not be able to take New England out of the girl, but after years on the west coast, this girl detests the cold and the maple syrup in my blood is thin and watery.

1 comment:

Doug Pearson said...

The Red Sox called Sarasota, FL (where I was born and raised) their spring training home, and for part of my youth I lived across the street from the field (Payne Park) where they played. Alas, they now have spring training somewhere else.

Like you, I am not a big sports fan, but the Red Sox were MY team.

I look forward to the day when Shirley and I can see the famous fall colors of New England.