When I first became an author and spoke in a place I'd never been, I always stayed an extra day to check out the town. The school or library hosting me would pay for the hotel nights needed for my visit, and I paid for the extra night. It didn't matter how small the town, I always found something beautiful and unique on my Days of Exploration.
Eventually, especially with a young son at home, I stopped staying those extra days. While I've absolutely loved every town I've visited, I leave some places kicking myself that I didn't stay that extra day.
Lake Placid, in New York, is one of those towns. The downtown was so quaint, and the surrounding area was so beautiful!
I flew into Albany and then had a 2.5 hour drive to Lake Placid. When I need to rent a car, I usually pick something small and fuel efficient. But I checked the weather the night before I left sunny California, and I thankfully was able to upgrade to something a bit heavier because it snowed the entire drive.
Entering Lake Placid at night was kind of eerie. I knew the Winter Olympics were held there in 1980, but I didn't know most of the structures built for that event were still up. So when two ginormous silhouetted "things" appeared above the trees, it freaked me out! It didn't look like a factory. It looked like where you'd launch something into space. But as a NASA buff, I knew there wasn't a launch site in Lake Placid.
Turns out...they were ski jumps.
I spoke to the students of Lake Placid High in the morning, and they were a lot of fun!
I spent the rest of the day in the school library, where students and classes came throughout the day for informal chatting. We discussed books, writing, my teen years, and I may have leaked some Thirteen Reasons Why info that I wasn't supposed to leak yet. Thankfully, those students promised not to tweet anything. And they haven't!
When I was in high school, I took two semesters of Creative Writing. I wasn't any good at it, and I'm thankful I didn't know that at the time. Sadly, most schools have cut their elective writing classes. So I'm always thrilled to find schools like L.P.H.S. that found ways to keep those classes. In fact, one of the classes that joined me in the library studies nothing but Crime Noir literature. How specific and awesome is that!?!?
In the evening, I spoke on a panel about suicide prevention. The CYC helped bring me to Lake Placid, and any community that has a group like that is extremely fortunate.
The Bookstore Plus sold my books during my events. In the little downtime I had, I made my way over there and I picked up three books: a novel set in Lake Placid, Sugar and Ice, by nearby author Kate Messner; a book about the Miracle on Ice, The Boys of Winter, which took place in the hockey arena built right next to the high school (and I mean, right next to it!); and Champ, about America's own Loch Ness-type monster. So that's one fiction book, one non-fiction, and one non-fiction about something fictitious...or is it?