It’s An Easy Day Trip From Virginia’s Eastern Shore To Washington D.C. So I’m Looking Forward To Going To The 2010 National Book Festival

by: Marlene email

Virginia's Eastern Shore's Location On The Eastern Seaboard

One of the nice things about living on the  Eastern Shore of Virginia  is how easy it is to go elsewhere.  Sort of an oxymoron thought process– it’s good to be here so I can go elsewhere.  But it’s true !   Virginia’s  Eastern Shore is actually within a half day’s drive of many of  the great spots  on the East Coast,  it’s the perfect place to buy a property which is a home base for get-a-way trips to lots of exciting events and places.   About six hours from my office door  to emerging  from the Holland Tunnel onto Canal Street in Manhattan.. ..  dim sum in Chinatown is calling to us.  ( And we love the roast pork buns and coconut buns at Maria’s Bakery on Mott Street. )  About three hours to Charlottesville  and the beautiful vistas of  the Blue Ridge mountains and some of Virginia’s finest wineries (  ).   About  four hours to Baltimore,  site of Inner Harbor and its fabulous aquarium  and of course,  Annapolis is nearby.  And let’s not forget about Virginia’s Golden Triangle,  the  historic towns of  Jamestown,  Yorktown and  Williamsburg,  so close,  only an hour and a half away  ( ),  always lots of interesting things going on there.  Over the Christmas holidays we nearly always visit Colonial Williamsburg  (  )  to enjoy the  bonfires,  fife and bugle corps , the nightly  Illumination of the Christmas  Tree,  the stunning  all -natural decorations,  topping it  off with  a fabulous dinner at  the Regency Room at  the Williamsburg Inn.

Moonlight Illuminates The U.S. Capitol and The Festival Tents

I  could wax on and on about places to visit within a half day’s drive but this post is supposed to be about going to the 2010 National  Book Festival.  This year marks  the 10th anniversary of the Festival,  held annually in Washington D.C.,    sited out on the National Mall,  organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress.  It  will be the second time we have attended,   having had a marvelous time at last year’s Festival we are really looking forward to going again.   I  had learned  about the Festival some years ago but as September is a busy month in real estate,   it’s really a difficult time to get away for several days.   But last summer when I read about the  2009 Festival,  so many authors,  fiction and non-fiction,  that I truly love and admire were scheduled to appear that it was simply impossible not to go !    ( Actually,  once I discovered that  Ken Burns,  John Irving  and John Grisham would be there,  speaking and autographing their  books,  I can assure you that  wild horses couldn’t have dragged me away. )   Irving’s novels, especially Garp,  Owen Meany and Cider House,  have long been favorites.  ( Couldn’t really get into  Son of the Circus  but I met a fellow while standing in the long,  long Irving book signing line who thought it was his best work and had re-read it six times.  So I’m going to give it another shot this winter.)    And who doesn’t like John Grisham — his work is so popular  that  he must be a multi- billionaire by now !    My husband and I both admire Ken Burns and so I toted four copies ( one for  us,  three for gifts )  of  Burns’  then brand new National Parks book  to be autographed — trust me when I say that after standing for almost two hours in his book signing line, ( in a light drizzle,  no less,  thank Heaven  I brought those little yellow rain ponchos ),   those  four copies of  National Parks seemed  to weigh four hundred pounds and my arms had stretched four feet.   ( I know it is better to give than to receive but the three people who got a signed Ken Burns book for Christmas owe me a new arm. )  

The 2010 National Book Festival Poster

At any rate,  the 2009 Festival,  which was a two day event,  also featured acclaimed authors Nicholas Sparks, Lee Childs and Daniel Silva  (both of whom I particularly enjoy ),  Michael Connelly,  James Patterson,  Judy Blume,  Sue Monk Kidd,  Jon Meachum ( whose book  American Lion  I had just finished reading  ) and Gwen  Ifill,  the excellent  moderator of  PBS’   Washington Week,  plus many other novelists,  poets and non-fiction writers.   About a  thirty-fecta of  literary talent,  all in the very same place on the very same week-end.  Can you believe it ???   Thank-you,  Library of Congress !!   Anyone who truly loves books and reading can appreciate the real  thrill of attending the 2009  National Book Festival and seeing,  hearing  speeches by and getting books autographed by some of ones favorite authors .  So although,  for me,  the 2010 Festival doesn’t have the same star power,  my husband and I,  a daughter and a friend are all looking forward to leaving the Eastern Shore,  making that easy trip to spend the week-end in  Washington DC  and hearing  Ken Follett,  Scott Turow,  Anchee Min,  Michelle Norris of NPR  and   David Remnick  speak and getting them to autograph their  books for us — and yes,  I’m thinking Christmas as well. ( A  signed,  first edition copy of a book  by the  giftee’s  favorite author makes  a great Christmas present,  especially when it comes with the story of  how the giftor stood in line forever in the sun/rain/dark of night,  feet aching,  just  to get it autographed especially for them. )  So let’s hear it for books,  authors and the brick and mortar book stores like Barnes and Nobles and Borders who hold the world within their four walls !   And let’s hear it for living on the Eastern Shore of  Virginia,  so centrally located that a whole other lifestyle dimension is opened by the ease with which you can get away to so many other places !   Applause, applause,  applause,  ad infinitum !

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