Brookside Gardens

Brookside Gardens is a fifty-acre horticultural garden located inside Wheaton Regional Park in Maryland. It’s one of my favorite spots to visit in the area. Flowers, ponds, and wooded trails make for a pleasant escape from urban congestion. We met our niece there for some quality time together.
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Bethesda has its fans. We headed on foot to the shopping district nearest the Hyatt Regency. Here are some landmark businesses.
If you have a car and some free time while you’re in the area, Brookside Gardens is worth the visit. Also look for the Nature Center nearby. Wear your walking shoes and a hat.
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Maryland and D.C.

Besides attending Malice Domestic, we visited relatives in Maryland and got to see some new sites. My husband and I toured the National Building Museum in downtown D.C. We rode the Metro, which is easy to figure out and still a thrill for us tourists. The National Building Museum is a majestic building, with a Great Hall filled with tall (75 feet high) marbleized columns and high ceilings. Constructed in the late 1800’s, it has served as the seat of eighteen inaugural balls including Barack Obama. A small café and a fun gift shop reside here as well.

National Building Museum  National Building Museum in D.C.

Columns in Museum   Gallery in Museum

We saw an interesting exhibit called House & Home which explained the difference between the two terms and showed replicas of housing construction from the early days to now. Objects on display recalled simpler living and took us through various eras. Museum admission is free but the exhibits have a fee.

We ate lunch one day at Spices Asian Restaurant with my cousin. This was one of our best meals.

Spice Restaurant

We visited Brookside Gardens at the conclusion of Malice. What a delight! Behold the colorful blooms. It was perfect weather to stroll among the flowers.

Flowers  Flowers

Flowers  White Flowers

Flowers  Flowers

We walked into the rear section by a tranquil lake where you can sit and watch the ducks. I’ll remember the peace and tranquility with fond memories.

Lake  Lake

Turtles  Duck

Our trip took us back to Orlando, where we spent a couple of days at Disney’s Epcot and Hollywood Studios. We noticed the Norway pavilion’s museum now has scenes relevant to Frozen. We saw an extended preview in 3D for the upcoming film, Maleficent. Angelina Jolie looks evil in the role of the nasty witch. This live-active film is a sure winner.

And finally, I spoke on a panel and at an MWA-sponsored breakfast at the Florida Library Association Convention. Here I am with fellow panelists Miriam Auerbach, S.L. Menear, H. Terrell Griffin and Joanna Campbell Slan.

FLA Con  FLA Con2

This trip was a perfect combination of business and pleasure. And now it’s back to work. I hope you enjoyed journeying with me on my latest travel adventure!


Have you been following my blog tour? Here are the sites if you want to catch up:

May 13, Tuesday, Socrates’ Book Reviews – Guest Post “Plotter, Pantser, or Prepper?”
May 14, Wednesday, Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Interview
May 15, Thursday, Thoughts in Progress – Review, Interview
May 16, Friday, Author Expressions – Interview
May 16, Friday, Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Review
May 17, Saturday, Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview and Giveaway
May 19, Monday, Queen of All She Reads – Guest Post “The Mystique of Bones”
May 20, Tuesday, Books-n-Kisses – Review
May 21, Wednesday, The Kill Zone – Post on “Discovering Story”
June 3, Tuesday, Cats, Books…and More Cats! – Interview


Weddings as Inspiration

We recently attended a family wedding, and it reminded me why I used a wedding as my setting in Shear Murder, book ten in the Bad Hair Day mystery series. The sheer sentimentality, the joy of the married couple, the suspension of family conflict for one evening, lend themselves to an outburst of passion that can have good or bad results. In my story, it ends in the matron of honor’s death, her body found by my hairdresser sleuth under the cake table.

This particular wedding took place at a magnificent site in Mitchellville, Maryland: the Newton White Mansion. Surrounded by beautiful acreage, this historic house is the perfect setting for a nuptial ceremony.

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Mansion View (800x600)   Mansion View2 (800x600)

The processional began to the music of violinists. A more beautiful bride couldn’t be found. A traditional Jewish wedding followed, with all of the customs described in my earlier blog. The wedding program explained each ritual in detail. At the breaking of the glass, cheers erupted.

Bride (800x600)

After the bridal party exited and slipped away to take photos, we entered a separate smaller room for cocktails and appetizers.

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Dinner and dancing followed with live, pulse-pounding music. Young people might like it that loud, but we couldn’t be heard over the noise. I prefer quieter, romantic dance music for a wedding or at least rock decibels that don’t beat through your head. Anyway, the dinner was delicious. Stuffed lobster tail and filet mignon followed a mixed greens salad. I was most impressed by the magnificent flower arrangements. The centerpieces were exquisite. Again, my writer’s brain erupted with ideas. I remembered an unpublished story of mine wherein floral wiring was used as a method of murder. I can’t help it; we writers are unable to turn off our storytelling mind. And I’d also had the foresight to bring business cards in my beaded clutch purse.

Those treats that look like lollipops are cake pops, all the rage in the dessert stores these days. I thought they were the dessert and ate two. Chocolate covered strawberries accompanied them. Then wedding cake got passed around. Oy! I was too full to eat another bite.

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Dinner (800x600)   Cake Pops (800x600)

Cake (630x800)   Cake Cutting (800x653)

We left the mansion feeling happy, sated, and tired. We spent the rest of our time in Maryland eating meals with family, touring downtown D.C., and strolling around Bethesda. So much time, money, and planning go into a wedding, and it goes by so fast! But such is life, and these events live on in my stories and in my heart.