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Literary Adventures

July 23, 2012

Our adventures usually have something literary about them, and this summer’s were no exception.  We went to the beach with a group of college friends, as we do every other year, and listened to an audio version of Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Gold Bug” as we left Sullivan’s Island, where it is set.

We went to Savannah, Georgia to see Mercer House, where so much of the action of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil takes place. 

And then we made our way to Harry Potter World in Orlando.  I do so love going to fictional places.  As we walked through Hogsmeade on the way to Hogwarts castle, I could see the same expression on everyone’s faces:  “we’re really here!” We really were.  Walker discovered Fudge Flies in Honeydukes and a Boxing Telescope in Zonko’s, where  Eleanor found a Screaming Yo-yo and admired the way a Portable Swamp was displayed in a box too high for anyone to reach.  I selected a few postcards and had them postmarked in Hogsmeade.  We drank butterbeer while admiring the snow-covered roof-line of Hogsmeade, and ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks. 

When it was time to make the long, long drive back home, we listened to an audio version of Wuthering Heights, which was a disconcerting choice for the season and the landscape outside the car, but fun for people who like to take advantage of an enclosed space using our big voices shouting back at the narrator about who can possibly be whose cousin and how suspicious it is for someone to have dark hair and a swarthy complexion.

We had an exceedingly good time. Did you get to go on vacation this summer?  Were any of your adventures literary, and did anyone else get as (suspiciously?) sun-tanned as you can see I did?

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2012 8:28 am

    How were the crowds at HP World? When I went in 2010 they were unbelievable, lines just to get into the gift shops! And did you go on the virtual ride in Hogwarts castle?

    No literary vacations for me, just a few days with my nephews in San Diego with a side trip to Disneyland. Well, some of the rides are based on fairy tales so I guess we can call that literary!

    • July 23, 2012 8:39 am

      It got pretty crowded as the day wore on, but we were amply warned, so we stayed at an on-site hotel and got to the gate before 7 am, when it opened an hour early for us. We went to the ride through the castle first and the little show in Olivander’s second. Then we went back through the castle on the line for the tour (rather than the ride) and after that, went through the shops. We had seen everything by about 10:30, when we went to the Three Broomsticks for lunch. We came back through before we left the park (having ridden the overhead train through Suess-land, the Spiderman ride, and the Jurassic Park water ride) and it was getting pretty crowded. We left the park between 2-3 pm and went back to the hotel, which had a large swimming pool with bar and food service. I love that.

      • July 24, 2012 3:03 pm

        Oh, and because we were warned about no bags on the Harry Potter castle ride, we came with only a few things in our pockets. After the ride, I bought a Ministry of Magic bag in the gift shop and used it to accumulate things like empty souvenir butterbeer mugs and postcards.

  2. freshhell permalink
    July 23, 2012 9:17 am

    We go to the beach every year and the only thing that comes close to literary is the selection of trashy fiction in the house. This year’s house was a disappointment in that respect. Well, in many respects but esp its books.

    • July 24, 2012 8:14 am

      We had a good selection of trashy fiction in the house, which everybody ignored except that I really wanted to finish the old duplicate copy of a SF book I’d brought with me to re-read, Babel 17 by Delany, so I could leave it there. I didn’t finish it, though, so brought it back with me.

  3. July 23, 2012 9:45 am

    We do all our vacating in August. I do my best to avoid the sun, but at least one of us will get one of those weird geometrical sunburns from missing a spot with sunscreen. We will avoid literary things, because we are slacker English majors. I do love reading about your literary adventures, though!

    • July 24, 2012 8:19 am

      What with working at a college and having one kid at another college and one still in high school, July is the best time for us to get away. In August, we’re all preparing for the start of school which seems to move earlier every year.

  4. July 23, 2012 10:06 am

    It sounds like you had a fun vacation. I would have enjoyed seeing Mercer House too.
    My vacation this year was more historical than literary. My sister, (adult) son, and I went to Washington DC and Gettysburg (right after school got out and before summer school started for me). No suspicious tans but we did put in some miles walking and ate well.

    • July 24, 2012 8:23 am

      Washington DC is a fun place in the summer. We did the 4th of July on the mall once, and that took some planning, but if you’re up to the walking, there’s always lots to see.

  5. July 23, 2012 5:29 pm

    Our vacation is coming at the end of September this year — our first family trip to Disneyland!

    Can’t wait for the days when we can listen to an audiobook all together. At this point, it’d be too frequently interrupted. 🙂

    • July 24, 2012 8:25 am

      We started out with audiobooks from the library on individual devices with earphones for the kids (those kind that have a sound when it’s time to turn the page). Then we would listen to a children’s book all together–one of our favorites was The Cricket in Times Square.

  6. July 23, 2012 7:24 pm

    No vacation–hopefully in January though. And not a literary one either. We are fond of the “lie around on the beach and do nothing but sip refreshing adult beverages while watching the ocean.” I’ll read a lot, so does that count?

    • July 24, 2012 8:27 am

      I did a lot of lying around on the beach talking to friends and watching the ocean–that’s why I didn’t get my SF book re-read. And yes, reading a lot always counts for something.

  7. July 23, 2012 7:33 pm

    How was Savannah? I’d love to go there, sometime when it is not too hot, so presumably the dead of winter. My parents went on a vacation there once but due to circumstances beyond Savannah’s control it was a highly miserable vacation. So I’d like to go sometime and enjoy its charms, of which it presumably has many.

    • July 24, 2012 8:31 am

      Savannah was lovely. We walked through the squares slowly and enjoyed the misty, moisty air in the morning and evening. We spent some time sitting on some of the many benches and around the fountains, watching the other people stroll around and walk their dogs. Our three touristy things were the tour of Mercer House, a “haunted house” tour of the Sorrell-Weed House, and a horse-drawn carriage ride. We also happened upon a lovely book-filled tea house called Gryphon, staffed by the Savannah College of Art and Design, and had interesting sandwiches and tea cakes.

      • July 24, 2012 11:39 am

        Incidentally, the Sorrell-Weed tour was good because they did not fake any ghosts, we did not see any “real” ones, we all got to play with an EMF detector (great fun for fans of Supernatural), and we got several lasting jokes out of it, most particularly the one about what gives us a feeling of “deep, deep sadness” (which the tour guide attributes to the presence of a ghost but we attribute to everything else we can think ofincluding the price of the tour).

  8. July 23, 2012 9:33 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful (but long) vacation … and I’m glad the Harry Potter world lives up to the books!

    • July 24, 2012 11:16 am

      The only thing we didn’t love about Harry Potter world is that there should be more of it. There should be an entire park.

  9. July 23, 2012 10:17 pm

    Sounded like a great time, Jeanne. I read The Birth of Venus right after visiting Florence a while back and just having been there and seeing some of the places in the book was a great way to enhance the reading!

    • July 24, 2012 11:19 am

      Denise, yes, I think many of us readers like to try to pair our reading and travel. We didn’t realize that our kids, who read the book, hadn’t yet seen the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, so we watched it when we got home, and had the pleasure of seeing the squares and the rooms in Mercer House. Forrest Gump also shows parts of Savannah, but we haven’t watched that again, at least not yet.

  10. Karen D permalink
    July 23, 2012 11:41 pm

    So glad that you had a good vacation! We generally don’t do anything more literary than reading on the beach or at the pool or in the condo. Your trip sounds great, though.

  11. July 24, 2012 11:23 am

    We spend our time between books talking about how to save up (both time and money) to go to another place we’ve read about. Walker and I were just talking about longing to return to Hawaii, but Eleanor short-circuited that discussion with four little (LOTR-movie-related) words: “what about New Zealand”? And we’re off. At least in imagination.

  12. July 25, 2012 7:26 am

    I so admire your family for all enjoying the same quirky entertainment! We went to Block Island and as lovely as it was, it was rather uneventful. I didn’t even read much. I am not even sure what I did other than drink some beer and walk the dogs. (not at the same time…)

    I have to keep reading my HP book; nothing you describe other than the Hogwarts castle sounds familiar. I am in the middle of book 2.

    DO have a LOVELY day today. 🙂

    • July 25, 2012 8:07 am

      You think our entertainment is quirky? We have the impression that it’s quite mainstream, because of all the other people clamoring to do it, too!

      You do have to keep reading. Some of the best is yet to come.

  13. July 26, 2012 2:00 pm

    I loved visiting the Mercer house! I’m curious what on-site hotel you stayed at while you were in Orlando and would you recommend it? I was just talking to Sandy about visiting HP world and she said the on-site hotels were a great idea. We’re talking about going next fall and if we do I’ll have to pick your brain for tips!

  14. July 26, 2012 6:42 pm

    The place we stayed is called Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando and we loved it (aside from the strangeness of a Florida hotel pretending to be Hawaiian). We only stayed two nights and went to one park–the Islands of Adventure is where you find Harry Potter world.

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