The last few weeks I have been doing a bit of traveling, as many of you already know. My family and I took a week vacation to see the foliage in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Yes, we took a vacation to view leaves. Fall in California is much different than Fall in New Hampshire. Our leaves go green, to a dying orange, and then brown. Over there the leaves change into vivid pinks, golds, oranges, reds, and caramel colors. It’s breathtaking. Driving through the White Mountains became my favorite thing to do in the day. We saw dozens of covered bridges, cute old towns, ponds, and farms. Our family hiked a few trails, visited Robert Frost's home in Franconia, NH, toured the Vermont State House and New Hampshire's State House, drove by the Canterbury Shakers Village, and ventured into Maine. At the end of our trip we went into Boston. We walked part of the freedom trail, viewed the State House, stood where the Boston Massacre occurred, walked through the cemetery where Paul Revere was buried and King's Chapel.
A week after I returned home, I boarded a plane and headed off to meet my dad in Wichita, Kansas. I know, its a strange place to go, but I had my reasons. I recently finished writing a novel about the Orphan Train Movement. Well, in Concordia, Kansas there is an Orphan Train Museum. So I set of in the name of research. Dad picked me up at the airport and we drove a few minutes to our hotel. On the top floor we could see for miles of flat, Kansas plains. Dad and I walked down by the Keeper of the plains and Old Town Wichita. I tried a Philly Cheese steak for the first time and loved it! The next day we strolled in Chisholm Creek Park where we saw cardinals and strange green fruit that we later found out were Osage Oranges. Driving up to Abilene we toured Eisenhower's boyhood home, museum, library, and resting place. The next day was my favorite. We drove up into Concordia and toured the Orphan Train Museum. It had plaques with information next to large photographs of the children on the streets of New York, the train they went on, the hardships they went through. Personal stories sat next to photographs of children who were sent west. Small artifacts sat in cases on display. It was so intriguing and yet so heartbreaking. Some of the stories made me cringe. The fact that a human being could treat another so terribly and then the sweet generosity of the missions and families that took them in was overwhelming. On our way out of town we drove by a POW camp and a convent. Our last day, on our way to the airport, we stopped by the Old Cowtown in Wichita. The cute old buildings carried so much history and created a wonderful atmosphere for learning.
I am truly blessed to be able to travel as much as my family does. It was fun hanging out in new places with my family and I loved the one on one time with my dad. I love flying and seeing new sights. Learning history while enjoying new lands is inspiring. I was inspired by the Kansas, which serves as the setting of my last novel, that I constantly lost myself in my character's story. The Orphan Train Museum inspired me to try and write another book on the subject. I have been trying to write a different genre but I realized I can't write it the way I want when my heart is still in something else. It took a trip to the middle of Kansas for me to realize this. I'm excited for the new avenues ahead in traveling, writing, and life and am eagerly waiting for a new adventure.