Alexa Aston here, getting on my history geek today. As a former history teacher, I enjoy visiting historical sites, both in the US and abroad. Recently, I was in Virginia for ten days and alternated my days between writing and playing tourist.
I’d wanted to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home, my entire life—and it didn’t disappoint. In the middle of nowhere, Monticello springs to life. To walk the halls that one of my favorite presidents did and see why he was always drawn back to his beloved estate no matter where he traveled, was a dream come true. I enjoyed our guide’s intimate stories and was thrilled to see the Madison bedroom, named after Jefferson’s friend and frequent visitor.
Madison’s home was another stop on my tour. Montpelier also was in a remote area, surrounded by beautiful views and a lovely graveyard much like the one at Monticello. It was less crowded than Monticello and provided longer, more in-depth tours. If you’re in the area, I would highly recommend dropping by!
I had visited other battlefields within driving distance on previous visits to Virginia, but this time I made the pilgrimage to Antietam, home of the single, bloodiest day of fighting during our American Civil War. To stand and look as far as my eye could see across the landscape, knowing what had occurred on that fateful day, was a humbling experience.
I added another stop before I left the area, however. Antietam is only a few miles from Boonsboro, Maryland. Romance readers will recognize that name instantly because the inimitable Nora Roberts set her Inn Boonsboro trilogy—The Next Always, The Last Boyfriend, & The Perfect Hope—there. The fictional Montgomery brothers renovate their bed & breakfast while finding their soul mates, just as Nora and her husband (who owns the bookstore directly across the street) decided to bring the original hotel from the 1790s situated on Main Street back to life after it had sat empty for many years.
The couple decided to name each suite in the B&B after famous couples. Guests can stay in rooms named Elizabeth & Darcy, Westley & Buttercup, Jane & Rochester, or Nick & Nora, among others. I would love to have the chance to return one day and be a guest at the B&B.
It was exciting seeing the actual inn after having read Nora’s trilogy, as well as eating at Vesta Pizzeria, catty-corner to the inn, and another central player in the trilogy.
While I loved seeing the presidential homes and traipsing the battlefield at Antietam Creek, it was also nice, as a fellow romance writer, getting to see the Inn Boonsboro up close and personal!