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My anniversary is coming up, so I thought I’d revisit and update a post for you. This was a fun assignment from my local chamber of commerce. I had to come up with ten romantic things to do in my town. My overachiever tendencies came out, and I listed 11. Comment below–what’s romantic about your town?

11 Most Romantic Things To Do On Bainbridge Island susanjerrybooth-162
compiled by Susan Wiggs
1. Watch the sunrise from Fay Bainbridge State Park.
2. Breakfast options-Café Nola-white table cloths, good coffee, luxurious food. Or if it’s a beautiful day, grab some pull-aparts from Bainbridge Bakers and take them down to Waterfront Park and share. If it’s a Saturday, buy fresh berries at the Farmers Market.
3. Recreation! Rent a two-person kayak and paddle around, even out to Blake Island if you’re feeling brave. Or get a Laser sailboat or dinghy and explore; you’ll probably encounter sea lions. Seeing wildlife up close together is inherently romantic. Landlubbers can bike along the south end, taking in Fort Ward State Park to watch the boats go by. Romantic walks depend on your mood and fitness level: It’s an easy beach walk from Lynwood Center toward Point White and back, offering matchless views of Mount Rainier and a bird-watcher’s dream at the estuary. Or you could hike a secluded woodland trail, like Peters Trail and not run into a soul. If you have access to a horse, go for a ride in the Grand Forest. (Good luck with that, sez Jay.) For the athletes-try a round of golf or tennis at Meadowmeer followed by a nice drink on the deck.
4. Get a picnic lunch from the New Rose Café at Bainbridge Gardens, or at Hitchcock Deli take-out and share at one of the shady picnic tables at Strawberry Hill Park.
5. Go for a stroll in the Bloedel Reserve. A really long stroll, and don’t take any shortcuts. Nobody will think less of you if you engage in naughty role play in the main house or the Japanese tea house. And do not ask me how I know this.
6. Stop in at Bainbridge Gardens because after Bloedel, you are going to want to bring home a fancy plant like Nightshade. Then go shopping along Winslow Way-don’t miss the original jewelry creations and vintage collection at Gilbert Thomas. At Eagle Harbor Book Company, you’ll find signed books from every one of the island’s 13,447 (and counting) famous authors.
7. Get dual massages at Spruce Day Spa.
8. Most romantic restaurant, bar none: A corner booth at Restaurant Marche. Lovely setting in a historic building, gorgeous food and wonderful service.
9. Catch an indy film at the historic Lynwood Theatre and afterwards, stop in at the Beach House for coffee or a nightcap.
10. Stargazing at Battle Point is a must.
11. Romantic places to spend the night abound. Our favorite, of course, is Point White Guest House.

So Lakeshore Christmas is all about saving the library. In fictional Avalon, finances are tight and hard choices have to be made. One of the most painful cuts that has to be made is to the library. The citizens pull out all the stops to keep their library open.

Be an angel - save the library

Be an angel - save the library

Then I was getting dinner tonight when this story came on the air. In order to keep from closing, the children and citizens of Roy have mounted a grassroots campaign to save their library.

The book is fiction but the problem is all too real, and being played out across the country. I put my money where my mouth is, and sent my check (plus copies of the book and audio CD) right away.

Every little bit helps. If you can spare anything at all, please make your check out to Roy Friends of the Library. Here’s the address. Thank you!

Roy Friends of the Library
PO Box 700
Roy, Washington 98580

The water’s only 56 degrees F and the current is swift…so what are these people doing?

gorgeous photo by the incomparable Pete Saloutos:

It’s a fundraiser to help a friend in need. 🙂

So the counselor at Ivers J. Norton Elementary School wrote to me about the school’s 100th anniversary celebration. Today, they’re honoring former staff members at the school in a small town in Western New York. I was asked to share some of my memories of the school, which I attended in the late ’60s. Here are a few:

We lived at 502 West Henley, kitty corner from the school. Some of my teachers were Mrs. Ellen Blessing, Mrs. Geuder and Mr. Schwabenbauer. Mrs. Mazza was the gym teacher.
The library was amazing to me, and one year, I read one biography from every letter of the alphabet. I also devoured the “Betsy-Tacy” books by Maude Hart Lovelace, Beverly Cleary books and pretty much everything else I could get my hands on. Mrs. Geuder (5th grade) was a great reader and read aloud to us every day–Caddie Woodlawn, Harriet the Spy, Tom’s Midnight Garden, Big Tree are some I still remember. Later, when I became a 5th grade teacher, I read to my students every day too.
When I was in Mr. Schwabenbauer’s class, I wrote my first piece of long fiction. The assignment was to write a story about a natural disaster. I remember considering a glacier but he suggested I go with something like a flood or forest fire. I filled an entire theme book with my story. I’m sure it was awful but he gave me an A.
When I was in third grade, I climbed over a chain-link fence in the back schoolyard, ripped open my arm and had to get stitches.
We moved away from Olean in the 1970s and enrolled in schools overseas. People told our parents we might be “behind” in the competitive private schools in Brussels and Paris, but this was definitely not the case! Olean schools prepared us well.
I’m currently a novelist with more than forty books published, including numerous bestsellers. My series of books known as the Lakeshore Chronicles take place in upstate New York, and feature a fictional town that has a lot of features in common with Olean!
What was your grade school like? How did it shape you into who you are today?
my alma mater

my alma mater

Would you please check out this nice window display? Eagle Harbor Book Company made a splash for Fireside and Fire Fly Lane by Kristin Hannah. The girls are on fire!

Eagle Harbor celebrates local authors.

Eagle Harbor celebrates local authors.

This very small but very interconnected town is crawling with writers. There are enough of us that we made the local paper’s year-end roundup. It’s incredibly nice to live in a place where the work one does is valued.


Here’s the excerpt about island writers:

Written on the island

Steadily documenting the work of Bainbridge authors over the course of a year is pure pleasure for a reader and writer. Seeing them compiled into a single “year in review” entry is jaw dropping.

Whether your drool is awe- or envy-inspired, wipe it off and get to the library or bookstore.

Fiction ran the gamut, from juicy to literary. Kristin Hannah glowed with “Firefly Lane,” Susan Wiggs gave us “Just Breathe,” and Carol Cassella provided the remedy with “Oxygen.” Meanwhile, Judith Reynolds Brown celebrated a “Turkish Wedding,” Anthony Flacco came out of the woodwork with “The Hidden Man,” Jonathan Evison explored familial (dys)function in “All About Lulu,” and David Guterson took us into the backwoods while examining the duality of manhood in “The Other.”

In verse, MacArthur Award winning poet Linda Bierds published “Flight: New and Selected Poems.”

History and biography scored. Mary Woodward published “In Defense of Our Neighbors: The Walt and Milly Woodward Story.”

Ann Gowen Combs and her brother, Geoffrey Gowen, documented another island legend and father with “Sunrise to Sunrise: Vincent Gowen’s Memoirs.” Michael Lisagor turned his “Romancing the Buddha” into a one-man stage play.

Gary White turned 30 years’ worth of passionate research into “The Hall Brothers Shipbuilders.” Wilkes Elementary School teacher Warren Read explored his family’s history of racism in “The Lyncher in Me.” And Richard LeMieux documented his years of homelessness in “Breakfast at Sally’s.”

(These last two, while not technically island residents, made the “island” cut by virtue of proximity as well as worth.)

In photography and how-to, a pair of Kathleens, O’Brien and Smith, published “The Green Home Primer,” a design-focused guide to creating an environmentally sound domicile. Michael Diehl made churn visually fascinating with “Crossings: On the Ferries of Puget Sound.” And two women with a taste for the island raised funds for the Kitsap Humane Society with “Flavors of Bainbridge.”

Other nonfiction included “Evangelical vs. Liberal” by James Wellman and “Understanding Your Child’s Puzzling Behavior” by clinical psychologist Steven Curtis.

Which leads us to the kids. Suzanne Selfors followed last year’s “To Catch a Mermaid” with the young adult novel “Saving Juliet,” later adapted for the stage at BPA.

First-time author Andrea von Botefuhr gave us “The Land of Smaerd.” Julie Hall presented “A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids,” while science/how-to fave Lynn Brunelle tackled shoe-tying with “The Zoo’s Shoes.”

Finally, George Shannon gets mention this year for “Rabbit’s Gift.” Though published in 2007, the charming winter-themed picture book, resonant on so many levels, earned a 2008 Washington State Book Award for children’s fiction.

Spotted next to a building site, being cleared for yet more projects:

Developer gets thumbs down

It’s unbelievably beautiful here. I’m kinda with the spray-painters. According to George Carlin, the biggest advantage to living on the waterfront is that you only have a**holes on three sides of you instead of four. Here’s what I consider the biggest advantage:

ferry at sunset, photo by Jay

Today’s guest blog is from the indomitable Sheila Roberts. Her new book is a guilt-free, no-calorie, sweet froth of a story.

Favorite book of the month!I am constantly in the trenches, fighting the battle of the bulge . . . except for when I take a cake break or make a doughnut run. (Fighting fat is hard work. A girl needs sustenance.) But I’m not quitter. I keep fighting. I even teamed up with my girlfriends Kathleen and Kimberly, forming a diet triage, in an effort to regain my girlish figure. I’m still not there yet, but I have hope. (Don’t ask me how long I’ve been in “I have hope” mode – that might prove embarrassing!) Anyway, all this dieting had to lead to a book eventually.

Hence the arrival of my new book with St. Martin’s Press, Bikini Season, which follows the adventures of four girlfriends who turn their cooking club into a diet club. And each woman has her own issues to deal with. Kizzy needs to find a new healthy lifestyle – not an easy task with her husband, who likes her just the way she is, sabotaging her at every turn. Megan needs to change the way she sees herself if she’s going to change the way she looks. Angela needs to realize that, while she might not like herself, her husband loves her no matter what. And then there’s Erin, who is beginning to wonder if the fact that she’s outgrown her wedding dress could be some kind of omen regarding her upcoming nuptials. I had a great time writing this book, and I’m hoping my characters will inspire me to work harder on getting fit. (If nothing else, the recipes in the book should help.) If you’re fighting the fat monster, here are some diet tips that might help you:


  • Find an eating plan you like and can stick to. This lets out fad diets, which you are bound to get sick of in a hurry. Better to cut carbs than to eat eggs and grapefruit for three weeks followed by a banana bread meltdown.
  • Make it easy. If you have to work a second job preparing your food every day, your resolutions to improve your diet will go out the window. Buy pre-measured, pre-fixed menus like Lean Cuisine. Pre-cut your salad veggies and bake up a batch of chicken breasts on the weekend for the week ahead so you have something healthful and ready to use in the fridge every day. Buy salad in the bag.
  • Have a mantra or canned pep talk you can recite in the face of food temptation. In BIKINI SEASON one character regularly reminds the others that nothing tastes like thin feels.
  • Pick a form of exercise that suits your personality and preferences so you will enjoy and stick to it. For example, if you’re a social person, don’t take up some solitary form of exercise. And if you value alone time, don’t take an aerobics class. That path leads to boredom, which leads to exercise mutiny.
  • Put up your diet shield when going into dangerous social settings. Eat something substantial before that big party so you won’t arrive ravenous. Scope out the food table and pre-select what you will eat. Shrimp. Yes. Veggie Platter. Yes. Chocolate cake. Stay away from that end of the table.
  • Give yourself an occasional treat. You’re really changing life habits, not dieting. Diet is a four-letter word and if you diet you will feel deprived and binge. That little (LITTLE) weekly treat will help you be good the rest of the week.
  • Get support. Overeating is not a problem to conquer alone. Find family or friends who will support and encourage you and keep you on the road to good health.
  • Know your biggest temptation hour and keep your hands and mouth busy. If you get snack cravings at the office, keep sugar free gum in your desk drawer for a quick fix for your taste buds and some chewing action. If you tend to snack in front of the TV at night, make sure you have something to do while you’re watching Grey’s Anatomy, like knitting. Dance along when you’re watching Dancing with the Stars.
  • Pick your friends carefully. According to an article in the New York Times (July 26, 2007), our friends can influence our eating habits. According to this article researchers found that people who were overweight had close friends who were also overweight. If one friend became obese, the other had a 171 percent increased chance of also becoming obese. Chose friends who want to develop and keep healthful lifestyles and you’ll increase your own chances of success for a more healthful lifestyle.
  • Never give up, never give in. You are the heroine of your own life journey, and sometimes you will stumble. But don’t give up. Toss the rest of that candy bar (yes, toss it!), and go buy a bag of spinach and some oranges. After all, like Scarlett O’Hara said, tomorrow is another day.


Win a trip to Willow Lake! I’m not kidding. Check it out here:

Win a trip to Willow Lake!

Oh, fun! The Winter Lodge is up for a Reviewers Choice Award from RT Book Reviews. It’s up against some of the best books of 2007. I am in good company–every single author in this category is one I regularly read and love, so there’s really no down side to this. Here’s the whole list:  

Best of luck to us all!

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I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

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