Madison, Ga. is one of my favorite places ever. It’s one of those modern rarities–a small town with a soul, a thriving downtown business district, gorgeous historic homes, and a thriving arts community. It has a hometown-owned paper, The Morgan County Citizen which is run by friends Patrick and Dianne Yost, an old-timey hardware store with wooden floors, a real live feed and seed store, a drugstore with a soda fountain–Madison Drug, and yes, thank Gawd, an independent bookstore–Dog-Ear Books. Yesterday I had a great signing for DEEP DISH at Dog-Ear. Of course, I showed up early, to shop at the Madison Antique Market, where the store is located. I bought a wonderful Depression-era quilt, softly faded, it’s patches made from old feed sacks, and a great iron plant stand for my porch. The Madison Antique Market is one of my all-time faves–high quality stuff at reasonable prices, with dealers who go to great pains to put together enticing displays in their booths. I just hate walking into an antique booth where everything’s all dusty and dumped out any old way. Also had lunch at a great restaurant, which has been added onto the back of the antique market since my last visit. I also bought several pots of herbs, which I’ve already arrayed on said plant stand. A wonderful crowd was waiting for me when I arrived–with my purchases tucked under my arms. Several of the Savannah Breezers from Milledgeville, Ga. showed up–including our runner-up Miss Savannah Breeze, who came decked out in her feather boa, toting her trophy for all to admire. What a fun bunch of fans we had–mamas and grandmamas, daughters-in-laws, sisters, best friends. Even a couple of stout-hearted husbands joined the mix. Amanda, who recently bought Dog-Ear Books with her brother, knows how to throw a party–wine, cheese, even slices of the now-famous tomato soup chocolate cake–which her brother actually baked. I signed tons of copies of DEEP DISH and HISSY FIT, which, of course, is set in Madison. Have I mentioned that the folks who put together our Savannah Breeze Weekend at Tybee are also putting together a Hissy Fit Weekend in Madison, the weekend of July 18? Stay tuned to my website for upcoming info on that.
After the signing, my friend Dianne Yost wanted to show off Madison’s newest business, the stunning James Madison Inn and Conference Center. It truly is elegant, and the owners, who live in Madison, have done a great job. All the art is by Madison-area artists, showing local landmarks and people. The bath toiletries are made by a local company–even the fancy hand-made chocolates are made in Madison. As usual, I wished I’d gotten to town earlier, and been able to stay later. As it is, the posse and I are definitely going to go back for a chick field trip later this spring. But in the meantime–it’s back to work again. Tomorrow I’m headed up to Holden Beach, NC, for a writer’s retreat with our Scribbler’s group. Sixty pages or bust! I’ll resurface for air in Charlotte next Sunday at 3pm, when I’ll be at a tea sponsored by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library. Y’all come!