This past weekend DH and I went off to Iowa ("Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa.") for a family reunion. Why Iowa? Well, it's kinda in the middle for most of the people making the journey. An hour for some, eight hours for others. I have to say, I'm glad my sister takes the time to organize these things so that we don't have to wait for funerals to get together. The great part about family reunions is you have a chance to catch up with family that you haven't seen for a while. The bad part is that sometimes even a weekend isn't long enough. There are still people you don't quite make the rounds to, some who can only stay for the day, some for only a couple of hours. But on to the activities portion of this post . . .
This would also be a good place to give a shout out to Amy at the Mandolin Inn. I interviewed Amy while I was writing Living Canvas for tips on running a B&B. The Mandolin Inn is located in Dubuque and is one of the loveliest B&B's I've ever visited. Castle Valley Inn (which is the inn in the book) takes some of its features from this inn, along with The Hillcrest Inn in Burlington, Wisconsin (shout out to Gayle and Mike), which was the original inspiration. Neither of these places have a secret room, to my knowledge, so please don't go looking for . . . NO, I'm not going to spoil the ending! Suffice it to say I've taken a considerable amount of artistic license in creating Castle Valley Inn, but I would highly recommend both of these real-life inns if you're looking for a fabulous place to stay.