Tag Archives: Montgomery

Day 13, Part 1: Alabama & F.Scott Fitzgerald

16 May

ROAD TRIP

After saying goodbye to The Smith Bryd House and its thoughtful innkeepers, David and Beth, we packed up the car to explore Montgomery before making the drive to Georgia.

Our first stop was the F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum which happens to be located in their old home in Montgomery. This experience was a fascinating look into their love affair as well as a look into F. Scott’s creative world (which for me as a writer was such a treat).

There was so much I didn’t know!

Rachel and I arranged to meet Willie, the gentleman who runs the museum for a guided tour. From all our email correspondences with Willie I imagined him to be an older gentleman but instead he ended up being a young and cute guy with a boyish grin, a southern accent and an easy-going energy. What a seriously cool southern gentleman!

I learned later that Willie and his wife are both writers, which made me immediately feel like we would all be friends if I lived in Alabama and talk about writing over long dinners (please tell me you guys imagine a pretend life sometimes too??). He is also a bit of a Fitzgerald nut. I mean, the man knows everything about F.Scott and Zelda’s life!

My favorite stories were the ones from the early years…

F.Scott was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota to an upper middle class Irish Catholic family- he was bright, ambitious and handsome. He attended St. Paul Academy for school and when he was 13 he published his first piece of writing in the school newspaper. Fitzgerald went on to go to Princeton where he pursued his writing. Sadly, his writing came at the expense of his schoolwork and he was placed on academic probation. In 1917 he dropped out of Princeton to join the army. Afraid that he would die in World War I with never having his literary dreams come true, he quickly wrote a novel called The Romantic Egotist in the weeks before reporting to duty.

He sent it to a publisher and was…rejected, although he was told to submit again in the future because they saw something in his work.

Fitzgerald ended up being assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama. It was there that he met and fell in love with a beautiful 18-year-old girl named Zelda Sayre at a dance. She was the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge, was considered “blue blood” and way out of his league. But he liked her and didn’t care and instead decided to fill up her dancing card for the night to get her attention. Ballsy huh? I just love that story.

That was the beginning of their wild romance although there were still some road blocks in the way, the major one being “poor boys didn’t marry rich girls” at that time and Zelda and her family expected a lot.

In 1919 the war ended before Fitzgerald was ever deployed and he was discharged. He went straight to New York city hoping he could launch a lucrative career in advertising and prove to Zelda he was worth marrying. But after a short time trying to build his career in NY he returned to his parents house in Saint Paul, Minnesota to rewrite his novel. He couldn’t stay away from his dream. He spent 4 months in their attic working on the book that would become his first hit, This Side Of Paradise.

I just loved this story.

He couldn’t deny his love for Zelda nor could he deny his love of writing.

and he got both.

Shortly after re-writing his book, it was published and he and Zelda were married. This Side Of Paradise went on to become a hit and turned the 24-year-old Fitzgerald into a star.

And the rest is history…

Since the afternoon I spent in F.Scott’s house, you could say that I am having a bit of a love affair with him. He’s such a complicated and inspired soul. Being in his space made me fall in love being a writer all over again.

And then I came across this quote…

“This is part of the beauty of literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely or isolated from anyone. You belong.”

and I thought…isn’t that the truth and in that moment I felt so thankful for this year and 365 til 30 because it has taught me this very lesson…my longings are universal longings and I’m not lonely or isolated from anyone.

so thanks, guys.

(me at the house)

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Day 12, Part 2: Arriving in Montgomery, Alabama

14 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 12, Part 2

Alabama the beautiful, the world of B & B’s and black hole beds

After spending the morning at Graceland we hit the road to drive to our next destination…Alabama!

On our drive from Memphis to Montgomery we had two goals- eat lunch at The Whistle Stop Cafe (restaurant from one of my favorite movies Fried Green Tomatoes) and stop for peaches at Durbin farms, where there are supposed to be amazing peaches.

Sadly, one of these goals did not happen.

We spent hours, (yes hours) driving around Birmingham, Alabama in search of The Whistle Stop Cafe. It was maddening. My only explanation for this is that our iPhone’s have a funny sense of humor because the GPS systems took us on quite a wild goose chase. If I were to try to find the silver lining in the situation I would say at least I got to see Birmingham, but in the moment I was starving, irritated and hot. It’s just so frustrating to be lost in a foreign city!

When we finally found it…it was closed. Hysterical, right?

 After the disappointment of The Whistle Stop Cafe, we decided to just skip lunch and continue on our way to the famous peach stand where Rachel proceeded to get peaches and I got peanut butter ice cream (did I mention that I am eating my way across America?? I can’t seem to be stopped).

This was not the most nutritious meal, but both were lovely and helped turn around our moods. After the peach stand stop, we proceeded to The Smith Byrd House, our adorable new home for the night. When I was researching places to stay in Montgomery, I came across this B&B and knew it was where I wanted to stay. There was something so very sweet about the look of it and its innkeepers, Beth and David. After reaching out to them about possibly staying with them I received a welcoming note back saying they would love to have us and I felt like I already had friends in Montgomery!

I have to be honest about something though- I have never actually stayed at B&B before and I was worried I wasn’t going to like it. The scene from the movie, “Flirting With Disaster”, where Ben Stiller’s character goes on and on about why he hates B&B’s, kept replaying in my head.

….

– Oh I hate B & B’s.

– Why do you hate B&B’s?

– Well, first of all, there’s no privacy and you have to make chitchat…with the boring old lady who runs the place.

– That’s kind of the fun, isn’t it?

– and there’s always the little cat…you have to pretend like you like the cat.

…..

This scene always made me laugh and now it was making me a little worried.

When we  arrived at The Smith Bryd House, it was after dark and we were both in need of a bed. As we got out of the car, Dave, the innkeeper, greeted us warmly with a big smile and offered to help us with our bags…and he seemed totally normal! PHEW. He brought us into the house and the first thing I noticed was it smelled like chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon and spice. I love when a house smells like a bakery. It makes me feel all cozy and warm. He showed us to our room and it was perfect- a big cushy bed, a clawfoot tub and clean towels.  After 11 nights in hotel beds it was so nice to be in a home. I felt cozy and taken care of- like I was staying with family.

After saying our hello’s and chatting for a bit Rachel and I excused ourselves to get some sleep. The bed at the Smith Bryd house was the best bed of the trip… hands down. It was like sleeping in a cloud. A cloud that caused me to over-sleep and almost miss the amazing breakfast they made for us. We were greeted by a gorgeous table (with enviable china on it) and a big breakfast of fruit, eggs and bacon and oh, homemade scones accompanied by lemon curd and clotted cream (Beth’s Specialty).

We spent the morning chatting with them about life, Montgomery and scone recipes while eating our  breakfast. If this is what the world of B&B’s is like than I may be a B&B kinda girl after all…

Thank you Beth and David for making our night in Montgomery so special!!

(bottom three pictures by One Part Gypsy)

Our day in Montgomery up next!!

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109

21 Mar

ROAD TRIP

{photo by One Part Gypsy}

I had no idea that simply planning this across-the-country road trip would be so much fun! Rachel and I are both equally obsessed with every little detail, taking great pride in finding the perfect hotel, restaurant and activity in each city we stop. It’s definitely been a process reaching out to local businesses across the US but we have been over-whelmed  by the support we have received from each city- people are so welcoming!  It’s making me even more excited (if that’s possible) to get on the road and connect with people and learn about the history of each city.

This process has reaffirmed my belief in manifesting my dreams, because this 365 til 30 goal is manifesting in a huge, exciting way and I am very thankful for it all!

Los Angeles-> Tucson-> White Sands -> Santa Fe -> Abiquiu -> Austin -> New Orleans -> Jackson -> Memphis -> Montgomery->

Saint Mary’s -> Savannah -> Charleston -> Wilmington

Here we come!