Saturday, August 10, 2013

Small Town Get Away

Small Town Get Away

For our anniversary my husband and I decided to visit one of our
favorite small towns, New Bern, NC population less than 30,000. If you are
looking for a small town full of charm and history, New Bern is the
perfect place. It is also heavily featured in my debut novel A Time to
Say Goodbye.

We have visited New Bern many times over the years to enjoy lazy
Saturday afternoons or check out one of their many annual festivals.
When I was in the formative stages of the novel I could not help but
think that its beauty and historical significance made it the the
perfect setting for May Lynn’s childhood home.

Because the Union Army only skimmed over New Bern while tearing
through the South it still contains many historic houses. Antebellum
middle class homes line the streets of the historic district and many
plantations houses just like Meadow, my main character’s childhood home,
still stand just outside of the city. Today the wealthy still flock
to New Bern as many mansions, including the 35000 square foot home of
novelist Nicholas Sparks, line the Trent River.

We stood at the port that May Lynn and Michael embarked from. New Bern
was the original colonial capital of NC and was a major port town and
shipping center with access to major rivers (the highways of their
day) and train tracks.

The Captain's Stay, the cozy bed and breakfast where we stayed, is
located at the heart of New Bern's historic district and still had
its two hundred year old stove. The former private home could have
easily been one May Lynn would have visited as a young belle.

If you would like to win an ebook copy of A Time to Say Goodbye, drop
a short comment about your favorite small town to visit. I'll draw the winner on Monday and post the winner's name on my facebook. That winner will then need to email me via facebook their email address, so I can send the book to them.

A Time to Say Goodbye can be purchased at

Follow Josette Downey on facebook at


  1. How wonderful to know more about the setting of A Time to Say Goodbye! Thank you for sharing.

    A great little place we like to vist is the village of Salado, TX. Located between Waco and Austin, it was an original stop for the stage lines. The Stagecoach Inn, which includes a restaurant, was orginally built in 1860. It was restored in the 1940s. Surrounding the property are huge pecan and oak trees and the main street is lined with shops and antique stores. You never know what treasure you'll find in Salado!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

    1. Britney, that does sound like a great place to visit. :) Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Josie, your cover turned out beautiful. I love your entire theme and time period. Congratulations!

    I grew up in the busy capitol of Michigan and so for me going up to the thumb area in Michigan was always special. I dreamed of living there, as my grandparents and many cousins did. The small town of Deckverville is like no other to me. There was a noon-time whistle, probably to let the farmers know when the meal was on, they had parades on main street and wonderful dinners put on by the local Lion's Club, which my grandfather was a member. And I recall going to the little store on the corner where we'd buy candy for just a few coins, and grandma bought me a pair of patten leather shoes to wear to my first Mother and Daughter Banquet at the white church on the corner. I was four. Sunsets were beautiful, and although they lived on the main street in town, we could view the country that went on forever behind them, and the beauty each evening. I could go on and on....but this is my favorite place. And since I no longer live in MI, I can only travel through my memeory to it, and I do that time and again.

    1. That place sounds beautiful to visit in person or memory, Diane. I can picture it just from your words. :) Thanks for letting us "see" it with you. :)

  3. Enjoyed your post. My late husband and I enjoyed visiting New Bern frequently. We both love(d) history and always found the neatest antiques and enjoyed learning about the rich history of our great state. I don't "do" ebooks, but I just thought I'd post. I'll have to look up some of your books. Glad to know the history behind this book. I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for sharing your own joys of this place. It sounds like such wonderful fun. :)

  4. Love historical settings like this. Sounds like a fun, interesting place. I'd love to visit! Your book, too sounds great.


  5. Congratulations on your debut, Josette. I remember seeing some chapters of your book in the ACFW's critique group. It sounded great. 30,000 is a big town, though. I grew up in a town of 800. It had one redlight and two streets, but packed in there were a couple of antebellum houses, two churches, an 1840s courthouse, a statue of Jefferson Davis because he camped there running from the union soldiers, school, library, a grocery store, drug store, doctor's office, barber shop, and a wonderful dime store. I lived in the country, so the Saturday trip to town was a treat.

  6. Hi Josette. Congratulations on your debut novel. My favorite small town to visit is Schroon Lake, NY, in the heart of the Adirondack North Country. It is the town where my sister lives, so I get to visit her every year or so. I'm not sure the population, but I know it is small. However, being a tourist town, there is always something going on there and the scenery is amazing.

    Speaking of small towns, though, I live in one here in Colorado. Las Animmas has a population of around 3,000 and is rich in history. Ten miles away is historic Bent's Old Fort, which served as a trading post for the Indians back in the 1840's. Boggsville is down the street from where I live, another historic former community founded by Thomas Boggs, one of the many men who played a major part in the settling of this portion of Colorado.

    Then, of particular interest to me, avid Gunsmoke fan that I am, is the fact that Ken Curtis, who played the legendary Gunsmoke character Festus Haggen, grew up here in Las Animas. His dad, Dan Gates (Ken's real name was Curtis Gates) served the sheriff of Bent County for several years. The 1912 jail where Ken's mom prepared meals for the prisoners and Ken delivered them, still stands.

    Okay, that's probably way more information than you wanted to know.

    Anyway, I'd love to win a copy of your book!


    1. Patti, thanks so much for sharing those historical tidbits. And the one about Festus :D -- that's so awesome. You make me want to hear more, not less. :)

  7. Jodie, looks like a wonderful place to get away to. Congratulations on your anniversary and your book. Your cover looks great. I would love to go visit New Bern. It looks so calm. I love small towns. Well some of them. We traveled to some in Colorado that had fewer people and were rich with history. Some were pert near ghost towns.

  8. This place sounds beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    1. It does make you want to go for a visit, doesn't it? :)