When Bookends and Beginnings Owner Dame Nina Barrett was contacted by author Jane Hamilton about a possible event for readers of her new book The Excellent Lombards, Nina knew it would be a great opportunity for readers. She arranged a day trip that included a copy of the book plus a bus ride to Rochester, Wisconsin, where the book is set in a library and family-owned apple orchard and where the author would be present to talk about and sign her book.
The 25 participants, both customers of the bookstore and Dames, were in for a real treat. The weather was perfect, the catered lunch (featuring apples in cider, salad, entrée and dessert) was delicious, the author was full of personality and insight about how she took her town and orchard and made it into a fictionalized version of her own life. And, she led a formal comparative tasting of seven different apples, most of them rare and heirloom varieties.
After lunch, facilitated by several welcoming local Friends of the Library, and the author talk and signing, everyone walked through the orchard to the barn where the cider is made, and apples are sorted and sold. With bags full of apples to take home for eating or making into applesauce and pies, there were smiles all around as the group headed home.
Thanks to Dame Nina Barrett for the plan, Dame Julie Ratowitz for delicious apple dumplings to enjoy on the bus ride, Dame Patty Erd for apple pie spices, and Dame Judith Hines for a pie recipe to take home as inspiration.