Monday, August 15, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday -- vacation edition!

Hey, I'm back!  I've actually been lurking around the blogosphere for a week already but wasn't organized enough for a blog post.

Nor have I read anything new in middle grade (I read some adult books while on vacation), so this post will be a bit different.  It may, in fact, seem strangely like a travelogue of our road trip to Maine, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.  But I promise you, there WILL be multiple mentions of classic children's books throughout, as well as photos, AND a CONTEST!

First, one can't go to Prince Edward Island without seeing and hearing all about Anne of Green Gables.

This is the actual house that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery.  It's a freaking National Historic Site, for heaven's sake! 

Green Gables National Historic Site

Apparently some elderly cousins lived in it and she often visited them.  The house where she lived with her grandparents was about a 15 minute walk away through the Haunted Woods (yes, it's called that, and there's a well-marked trail).  Nothing is left of  the house but the foundation, unfortunately.  They still charge you about $3 to go see it!

Fortunately, there's also a well-tended garden:

And this beautiful wheat field:

But back to Green Gables.  This, well, this is Anne's room

I know, I know, she's a FICTIONAL CHARACTER.  Tell that to the busloads of tourists who come to this site from all over the world to take pictures of this very room.  "Anne's room," they say, with awe and reverence in their voices.  And I have to admit, it felt very real to me too!  Has any fictional girl been more loved?

The husband put up with going to Green Gables Historic Site, so I treated him to a shore dinner (mussels are the other thing Prince Edward Island is famous for.  Oh, and they grow potatoes all over the island!),

And the next day we drove to the beach.  There was nobody there!  Honest.  (This may have had something to do with the temperature being 64 degrees Fahrenheit!)

The Gulf of St Lawrence from Covehead Bay

Although one woman came along later, saw me taking pictures of this beautiful lighthouse, and asked where we were from.  When we said, "Pennsylvania," she asked, "Where's Pennsylvania?"  It was most humbling.  I realized I probably am not familiar with every Canadian province. 

Covehead Light, PEI

From Prince Edward Island, we returned to New Brunswick (only way to get back home if you're driving).  The most famous tourist attraction in St. John, New Brunswick is the Reversing Rapids.

It's quite impressive, mainly because it's so loud.  The mighty St. John River meets the even more powerful Bay of Fundy right here at this spot, and when the tides change, the rapids actually reverse direction.  It's pretty wild.

And the only book for sale in the tiny gift shop nearby was:

Which my husband remembers as his favorite book!  (I told you there'd be children's books everywhere!)

In Maine, we went to the Penobscot Marine Museum, where we discovered this interesting boat:

I had known that E.B. White (author of Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan) spent his summers in Maine, but it was still a delight to see his actual sailboat.  And a nice reminder, once again, that children's books are everywhere!

Finally, we drove to Boston to visit our older son, who recently moved there (one of the things that kept me busy in July!).  He took us to the Public Garden where, again, one can't help but be reminded of a couple of famous children's books.

Make Way for Ducklings sculpture dedicated to Robert McCloskey

Swan boat in Boston

Both Make Way for Ducklings

and The Trumpet of the Swan

take place, at least partially, in the Boston Public Garden.  That was my first visit there, and it was lovely.  I know, I'm a total nerd, basing my vacation around children's books.  Hey, we visited wineries too!

Okay, you've been patient long enough.  I promised you a CONTEST!  Since this was a road trip, I'm offering a prize to whoever guesses how many miles we drove, round trip, from southeastern Pennsylvania to Prince Edward Island and back.  And keep in mind, all you smarty pants rushing off to Google map it, that we took numerous side trips throughout.  So, closest guess wins. You don't even have to be a follower for this one, just include your guess in the comments.

What do you win?  Your choice of any of the above-mentioned books in paperback (well, okay, Scuffy's a Golden Book, which isn't exactly paperback).  And if you already own Make Way for Ducklings, Trumpet of the Swan, Anne of Green Gables, Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, AND Scuffy the Tugboat, I have a lovely hardcover copy of The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens that could be yours!

This contest is open internationally and closes at 11:59 pm on Thursday August 18, so you don't have much time!  Winner will be announced on Friday.  Or possibly Saturday.  UPDATE: Extending the deadline to Saturday August 20 at 11:59 pm.  So you still have time to enter!

If you're looking for Marvelous Middle Grade reviews, I'll be back next week with a real one, I promise!  In the meantime, please visit these wonderful people:

Shannon Whitney Messenger at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming
Myrna Foster at The Night Writer
Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now
Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles
Brooke Favero at Somewhere in the Middle
Deb Marshall at Just Deb
Ally Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy
Barbara Watson at Novel and Nouveau
Anita Laydon Miller at her middle grade blog
Michael G-G at Middle Grade Mafioso
Pam Torres at So I'm Fifty


  1. Yay, Joanne! Glad you're back! I've always wanted to visit Prince Edward Island. It makes my heart swell just thinking about visiting Green Gables. It's on my bucket list for sure!

    OK, now my guess. I'm going to say 2,300 miles.

  2. What an amazing trip! I'm so jealous. I've always wanted to go to Prince Edward Island and Boston too. MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS was probably my favorite book when I was a little kid.

    I am terrible with distances and I've never driven anywhere on the east coast so I'm just going to throw out a wild guess--2200 miles.

  3. Sounds like a fantastic trip. I love your pictures. Glad your back.

    My guess is 1700.

  4. Thanks, ladies. Missed you all. I must get back into visiting your blogs and everyone else's!

  5. SO. MUCH. FUN. And definitely one of the most creative MMGMs ever! I gues, um, 998 miles. :-)

  6. Did you pick up any of LMM's journals while in PEI? I ADORE them and am planning a re-read sometime soon. Care to join me?

  7. Thanks, Shannon! It was a fun post to write.

    Caroline, no I did not, but what a great idea! Maybe after I get through my TBR stack of ARCS that are pubbing this Fall (some of them are already out and I haven't read them yet! I'm so far behind! AGGH!).

  8. What a great trip. Children's books and wineries!!

    I'm guessing you drove 2417 miles. That's a heck of a lot of driving, if I'm in the ballpark

  9. Love your pictures, and so glad to have you back! So jealous you got to be such a book geek on vacay!

  10. Welcome back, Joanne! I'll guess 2250 miles.

  11. Clearly I have a Lot of blog reading to catch up on! what a great trip. I wAs thinking about going to PEI, and you've convinced me.

  12. Thanks, everyone!

    Michael: yes, it turned out to be a great combination. Loved the wineries as much as the kids' books. So I guess I am an adult after all!

    Yes, Donna, I am a book geek. Glad to be back. Thanks.

    Kim! Thanks for entering. How've you been? How's the writing?

    Ms Yingling, glad I convinced you to go to PEI someday. It's beautiful. You won't regret it.

  13. What an awesome vacation. I've read and loved all of those books, except for THE EMERALD ATLAS. I'm guessing 2, 875 miles. Thanks for the contest!