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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Road Scholars


In a writer’s life, every experience can lead to an idea for a story. Every new vista can become the setting for another plot. Every person I meet has the possibility of becoming a character or at least having some facet of their personality spark the basis for a character. Going on a different adventure is the best way for me to “fill the well” in my mind in preparation for future books.

This year, hubby and I decided to try an elderhostel vacation. We signed up with Road Scholar. One couple we know had gone on a few trips with the elderhostel and recommended the company to us.

After considerable thought, we chose a tour based in White River Junction, Vermont. Our host was David Briggs of the Hotel Coolidge. We learned about Vermont railroads and small gauge railroads. The tour included a field trip to the top of Mount Washington where we rode the cog railway to the top of the mountain. We also went for a ride on an Amtrak train as well as a ride on the Green Mountain Railroad. In addition, we learned more about the region’s history, humor, and economics.

Other attendees came from as far away as California and Kentucky—though most were from other northeastern states. One woman had been on fifty elderhostel trips. Another on twenty. Hubby and I were the newbies—and I was undoubtedly the youngest in the group.

The price of the tour included all meals. The food was excellent but one of my favorite activities was being able to dine with our fellow travelers and compare life stories. I like to talk, but I am just as happy soaking up conversations and tucking them in the back of my mind. (Some small nugget of information might come in handy when I’m slogging through my plot one night.)

We found the lecturers in the program to be not only knowledgeable but passionate in their love of the subject they taught. Also funny. :^)

We had one afternoon free. Since Dartmouth wasn’t far way, hubby and I checked out the Hood Museum of Art (very nice and FREE!). We also visited Quechee Gorge.

On Thursday night, we were treated to a movie A Man With A Plan produced by a local Vermonter, John O’Brien. I would classify the film as political satire—but it was also funny, cute, and poignant. No violence, no sex, no outrageous special effects—but well worth watching. I bought the DVD.

I took a lot of notes during the lectures and I have a list of recommended books to read.

Will I write a book set in Vermont involving the railroads and White River Junction?

Maybe. I wrote down a few ideas on my Alphasmart as we journeyed home. However, I have to let everything percolate for a while in my mind.

There was one question I forgot to ask while I was in Vermont. There’s also a few details about the town of White River Junction that I need to clarify. My research is not finished yet!

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