Last night, my college roommate and dear friend, Elizabeth, and I took to the streets of Annapolis for the annual Parade of Lights. Our husbands were engaged otherwise, and so we were on our own. A resident of Shady Side, south of Annapolis her whole adult life, she had never been to see the boats parade in and out of City Dock and Ego Alley, and so we decided it was the proper thing to do, seeing as how we watch a helluva lot of Hallmark movies and love the quaintness of the towns featured in them. As someone who grew up and still lives in the area, I had been several times before, but we knew it was time to get off our duff and not watch from afar the fictional happenings in these towns and cities, but to actually be a part of it: to be a Hallmark movie.
After a delightful dinner at Middleton’s Tavern, a historic landmark and restaurant near the City Dock, we bundled up in our coats, hats, scarves, and gloves for the Eastport Yacht Club’s annual event. The streets were crowded, the city was lit up with Christmas spirit, as the boats proudly showed off their decorations to adoring Annapolitans and visitors alike. We found a spot along the dock and planted ourselves in order to have the best vantage point of the boats. Some blared Christmas music, some had timed lights to the music, and some toasted us with Champagne as they floated by.
We had dropped ourselves into a Hallmark movie right there on the streets of Annapolis.
Having fun with strangers on the street, listening to the live music played by musicians, and going in and out of shops was all we needed to get into the Christmas spirit, and to realize that wherever you live, there are Hallmark moments just waiting for you to partake in to get you in the holiday spirit.
As I stood there taking it all in, I realized how happy I am that I set my first novel, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, in my hometown, and much of it takes place during the Christmas season. It is a special place filled with tons of memories for me. In that novel, I did my best to bring Annapolis to life, to let readers feel its magic, and hopefully, to make readers want to visit if you have not done so yet. Voted over and over again as one of the best small cities in the United States, and particularly on the East Coast, Annapolis sparkled last night, and made me proud of its never-ending charm, worthy of novels full of love, romance, and family.