While I was writing and researching my debut novel, The Woman on the Painted Horse, I took a trip to Montgomery, Alabama.
Yes, I know the picture say Arkansas, we just didn’t stop for pictures with the Alabama sign. Why I have no idea, since it would have made sense. Hindsight is always 20/20.
I suppose most would consider that a boring vacation, it wasn’t, and my friend and fellow author, Regina Walker and I had a blast enjoying good food, seeing the sites, and a girls road trip all without the kids! We still talk about that trip all the time.
It was March 2011, and I had been scouring the internet for book events when I happened across the announcement for the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery. Having the novel set in that same city, of course, you can bet it intrigued me. My novel was far from done, so visiting as a contributing author was out of the question, but visiting as a spectator surely wasn’t. Can you say, road trip!
At the time my oldest had just turned four years old and I knew spending the days traveling with her would distract me from much-needed research while I was there. I also didn’t want to go alone, so I texted Regina.
I can still remember the text. “Do you think your husband would let you go on a trip for four days with me?” Her reply. “Sure, where are we going.” That was it, the trip was planned.
For the next course of a month, it’s all we talked about. Counting down the days for a girls road trip each day. 20 more days, 10 more days, 5 more days, 48 more hours!
Through the magic of reward points, we scored a rental car and a hotel room for about $25 each and we took a cooler of packed food to cut down on that cost. All in all I think we each spent around $50-$75. We were thrilled.
We did splurge on two of our meals, stopping by Inter-State BBQ on the trip out (I had the ribs, she had BBQ spaghetti—yes, it sounds weird, but let me just tell you it’s divine) and Gus’s World Famous Chicken on the way home.
The first day we got stuck at the rental car place for an hour due to an error, we got lost in Arkansas after missing an highway change, got stuck in traffic somewhere in Alabama, and arrived to our hotel several hours late, but did we care? Nope. And after a few hours sleep, we hit the ground running.
The first day we spent at the First White House of the Confederacy. Although, I know that the history behind this building for some could be a controversy, the house was beautiful, and it was a part of the research for my first novel, and any others I write in that time period. I’m happy that I visited it.
Our second stop for the day was the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Looking at all the old trinkets was amazing, and while I will spare you from the hundreds of pictures I took, I’ll share some.
Our second day was spent in Old Town. I knew we would go back for the book festival the next day, however, I also knew it would be crowded. And getting pictures or talking to people wouldn’t be easy. To our fortunate luck, the day we chose to go was one of their least busiest days and we were practically there by ourselves and got to see bits of the Ordeman House that they usually don’t show visitors because we were the only ones. Unfortunately, they don’t allow cameras inside that house. But I did take some shots of the outside and slaves quarters.
I have to say that looking through all the pictures again makes me want to go back. The book festival is in April every year, so . . . I guess that’s something to think about. I hope you enjoyed the pictures!