From Boston, we opted to drive the next leg of the tour, rather than hazard the horrors that are the modern American airport. (In Seattle, my laptop actually flew out of the security bins and clanked to the floor near the metal detector; none of the TSA agents seemed concerned about it… ) We wanted a small economy car, but fell to the mercy of what we would be allowed to drop off in our final destination, Philadelphia. This is what they gave us – a big-ass muscle Mustang. We headed south to Madison, Connecticut, taking in the just-starting-to-turn autumn leaves along I-95, arriving just an hour ahead of my reading at the venerable RJ Julia bookstore.
OK, so one of the tortures of doing a book tour is that you stop at amazing bookstores like this one but you can’t spend hours browsing the remarkable, hand-selected inventory. In this case, it’s all attractively merchandized in gorgeous dark wood shelves. We had a crowd of about 20 in an intimate setting – no microphone, no podium, just standing up and talking. They were quite possibly the most inquisitive audience on the tour. More than half of the crowd had spent some time in France, most were knowledgeable cooks and they clearly read a lot. Perhaps it also rubbed off that Jacques Pepin lives nearby. A lovely evening, topped off with a glass of wine across the street at a small Italian café that smelled heavenly of garlic.
In the morning, we had breakfast as part of our stay at the Tidewater Bed & Breakfast. Somehow, we all ended up talking about why we were in town. I ended up doing a mini reading right there over our baked apples with cinnamon and pumpkin pancakes. And I sent all of them straight out to RJ Julia. A girl’s got make a sale when she can.