Books, mostly. I've also had the pleasure of writing a few articles that have appeared in the Miami Herald, Southern Maryland This Is Living, Recreation News, Montgomery magazine, and Hotline. Mostly, though, I spent the better part of the past two years writing and updating a couple of travel guide books and two history books (so much fun!). I've traveled a little bit in the past few months, visiting Arlington, Virginia; Southern Maryland, and Atlantic City.
Of course, I'm always eager for new assignments ... I've compiled two booklets about historic hotels (the old Washington Statler and the Shoreham Hotel) and I love bringing history to life in that kind of assignment. I also enjoy writing about marketing and anything to do with the hospitality and travel industry.
As I've said over the past few years, I think I want to sail the Seven Seas for a year or two, using this water-based lifestyle to visit foreign and domestic ports and writing slice-of-life and human interest articles (and photographing them, too). Yes, assignments are accepted.
If you have an issue that makes travel difficult, whether you are blind, deaf, use a wheelchair, have an organ transplant, or if you travel with someone who has one or more of these problems, www.TravelDisabled.info is dedicated to you. Its intent is to help you find whatever information you need—or point you in the right direction—to make your travel easier.
As this TravelDisabled.info site grows, it will focus on several things. First and foremost, it is a resource guide. For example, it will tell you which cruise ships allow service dogs. When possible, a phone number, Web site URL, and mailing address will be provided. In time, it will include the actual cabin numbers of the accessible cabins as well as how many and in what category they are. You’ll find attractions that have braille brochures or signs and also which braille language is used, so you will know if a museum in Poland uses Polish, English, or unified braille. Also, you’ll be able to find which countries have braille designation on their currency.
The second part covers attractions, restaurants, hotels, public transportation and other points of interest as a regular travel guide would. However, it will also tell you where the wheelchair entrance is to the Lincoln Memorial, about a Smithsonian Institution garden with raised flower beds for people using wheelchairs, and where you can find an arboretum with a great sensory garden outside of Minneapolis.
A third area will highlight products that will or should make your traveling life easier, including special clothing, the best electronics (GPS, phone, tablet, etc.) to the best apps, plus a lot more.
Every entry will be dated so you know how current it is. The world changes. What was accurate last year may need updating this year. Who knew on August 22, 2011, that the Washington Monument in Washington, DC would incur enough damage the next day from a 5.8 (Mercalli intensity scale) earthquake in Louisa County, Virginia, that it would be closed for repairs for more than two years? (The scaffolding is coming down and the projected opening is sometime in spring.)
Most of all, TravelDisabled.info will be an interactive community for sharing tips and asking questions—general or specific—so it can be researched and answered. Post your suggestions and recommendations so others may benefit from your experience. This site is for you and your traveling companions.
Chesapeake Bay Crabs cookbook
Fall, 2011, Pelican Publishing
I had fun with this one. I know, I have fun with all my books or I wouldn't write them. This, however, is a collection of recipes featuring the every tasty and ever versatile Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab. You'll find appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, and even dessert. Yes, a crab creme brulee, thank you. I talked to a couple of people who had made crab ice cream and besides the fact that it was expensive (using lump meat), people were sort of turned off by the name. Someone from England said that frozen crab bisque probably would sell better, but it's still expensive.
I've also included stories about crabs, an interview with Bernie Fowler, and instructions on how to buy, cook, and eat these delectable goodies.
Peaceful Places Washington, DC
Winter, 2011, Menasha Ridge Publishing
With co-author Denis Collins, this book lists 114 peaceful places for a few minutes respite or hours or days in and around our Nation's Capital. They're in such categories as reading spaces, museums, gardens, urban surprises, etc. My favorite probably is the labyrinth on a rooftop near Union Station. Another favorite is the sixth-floor terrace at the Newseum. Yes, you have to pay to enter and the museum is almost always filled and nearly rowdy, but it's magically serene out on the terrace, overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue.
While this guide (and the other cities in the series) is good for visitors, about 80% of the audience has proven to be locals looking for that special place for lunch, a book, or just a thought or two.
It Happened in Maryland
September 4, 2012, Globe Pequot Press
It Happened in Maryland covers twenty-five events that happened in the Free State that shaped history. Sometimes it's local history, sometimes it's more wide-ranging. Among the subjects covered are the first bookmobile in Hagerstown, the Great Baltimore Fire that caused fire companies to start working toward universal sizes for hydrants and hoses, and finding a way around the Dutch Elm disease that killed so many gorgeous elm trees.
As I was constantly saying when I researched this, "I didn't know that." I'm hoping you will, too.
It Happened in Delaware
It Happened in Delaware covers twenty-five events that happened in the First State that shaped history. Among the subjects covered are the space suits worn by our astronauts, the creation of the study-abroad program, and the influence of the Stone Balloon bar in Newark.
As with the Maryland book, I was constantly saying, "I didn't know that." I'm hoping you will, too.
Released June, 2013, Globe Pequot Press
Virginia Off the Beaten Path
Released October, 2011, Globe Pequot Press
The 11th edition of my Virginia Off the Beaten Path guidebook has been updated with information about a lot of my favorite places and some wonderful new things to see and do, off the Interstate. Note to foodies, the Route 11 Potato Chip factory moved a few miles south to Mount Jackson. The viewing room should be open later this year, so you'll once again (or for Also, Maj. (ret.) Rich Spooner and his wife, Gloria, moved their famed Globe and Laurel restaurant from the Triangle location (road widening) to a Stafford location. As expected, it's been a huge success--equal to its huge new home.
Scenic Routes and Byways Virginia
December, 2013, Globe Pequot Press
I've been traveling through the Old Dominion State since childhood, visiting friends and family in Tidewater and beyond. This book highlights twenty-five scenic drives that feature nature's beauty, vineyards, barn quilts (see route 6), Skyline Drive, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The chapters include route directions, interesting things to see along the way, and historical tidbits. Have fun! Safe travels!