Almost Normal: Visiting with Author Barbara Walsh & Checking out The Art Walk Shop and Studio

For a over a year, Clif and I have lived an isolated life. Just as most of you have. The pandemic has dictated that socializing must be done outside, and in Maine, where the weather is cold from November through April, gathering outdoors has been pretty limited for the past six months.

All of our holidays have been spent alone. There have been no gatherings around the dining room table, no friends over for tea and muffins. Nobody dropping by for wine and appetizers.

Outings have been limited, too. A trip to get ice cream now and then. Take-out on rare occasions. Overall, Clif and I have been extremely cautious. Perhaps too cautious, but Covid-19 is unpredictable, and being of a certain age, we didn’t want to risk catching it.

However, May has brought us two wonderful things—warmer weather and our second vaccine. Suddenly the world seems more open to us. With our masks, we now feel safer going out and about. When we heard that Barbara Walsh, a local writer, was going to be in downtown Winthrop selling books on Saturday, we decided to visit her. Barbara is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who writes books for both children and adults. (Full disclosure: Clif is helpingΒ  to format Barbara’s current children’s book, The Goose Lady, so that it can be offered on Amazon.)

Saturday was sunny, and Barbara was set up outside The Art Walk Shop & Studio, where her books are also available. Relatively new to town, The Art Walk opened shortly before the pandemic hit and has managed to make a go of it. Barbara encouraged us to go inside and check out the shop. She suggested that The Art Walk might be interested in carrying the books my Great Library series. Shameless promotion time for new readers: The books in my Great Library series are Maya and the Book of Everything, Library Lost, and Out of Time.

After buying one of Barbara’s books, in we went to meet potter Nick Shelton, the owner, and his mother Terry. Nick and Terry are warm and friendly, and the shop is an absolute delight, filled with crafts and art made by local folks. I spotted several items that would be just perfect for certain special people in my life. Readers, if you live in the area, stop by and check out this nifty shop. The Art Walk is open Thursday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5 p.m.

Nick Shelton is indeed interested in carrying my books. Soon Maya and the gang will be available at The Art Walk.

After buying books and talking with Nick and Terry, we walked up the street to the Winthrop Historical Society, which was having a plant sale. We chatted with more folks that we knew, and even though mostly everyone was wearing a mask, it seemed almost like normal times. (Did I buy some plants? I certainly did.)

Even though Clif and I have coped well with the social isolation brought about by the pandemic, it felt oh so good to be out and about on a sunny May day, meeting new people as well as old friends. Saturday reminded me of how much I missed this simple pleasure.

This summer is certainly looking better than last summer.


Simple pleasures from blogging friends near and far.

From New Zealand, Thistles and Kiwis rejoices in food and ballet.

From Singapore, Ju-Lyn of Touring My Backyard features fried delights from “doughstick heaven.” Oh, my!

For sheer garden fun, you can’t beat Susan Ruston’s tall find in northern England.

May 8 was Birding Big Day, where bird lovers were encouraged to watch and count birds and report the results to ebird. In Colorado, Tanya Briton went birding with a friend, and they logged over 100 birds. And that, blogging friends, is enough to set any bird lover’s heart aflutter.

Closer to home,in northern New England, Eliza Waters features an astonishing dose of tulip beauty.


63 thoughts on “Almost Normal: Visiting with Author Barbara Walsh & Checking out The Art Walk Shop and Studio”

  1. The pandemic sure has changed the way we look at simple pleasures like socializing. Your day out sounded almost normal! So what plants did you buy? πŸ™‚
    Cool that Art Walk will be carrying your books – congrats!
    And thanks for the link. I love that apricot tulip, it’s a winner!

    1. It sure has. I don’t think I will ever take those simple pleasures for granted again. That tulip surely is a winner. I bought three six packs of violas and a pot of parsley. Planting time is coming!

  2. A musical I once saw in New York had a title that comes to mind with a whole new meaning as we take baby steps out into the world. It was called “Next to Normal.”

  3. Hi, Laurie – Congratulations on your new, well-earned, freedoms. Our current restrictions end after next weekend. Fingers crossed that they will not be fully extended further.
    And thank you for introducing us to Barbara!

  4. I am so pleased you’ve had your second vaccine, Laurie! Warmer weather and an outing sounds almost decadent in these restricted times! Good luck with your book sales in The Art Walk and best wishes to Barbara and her new book, too.

  5. This is so wonderful. The conjunction of spring and increased freedom because of vaccines and etc. must have you smiling and smiling. Talk of books and plants and chatting with others sounds perfectly wonderful — and a new home for your books, too. What could be better?

  6. Thank you for the special mention, Laurie.
    I’m glad you and Clif were able to get out and socialize. Let’s hope we will be able to continue to do so safely.

  7. What a turn up for the books – both literally and figuratively! I feel sure that you both had a mental and spiritual boost after getting out and mingling with ‘real’ people again! I passed a friend in the street while I was out walking – we haven’t seen each other for over a year now – and she didn’t recognise me. Perhaps it was because I was wearing a hat, sunglasses and a mask: we had a good laugh about that.

    1. We certainly did. Felt so good. And I know just what you mean about not recognizing folks you know. At the plant sale, the same thing happened to me with someone I have known for 36 years. The hat, sunglasses, and mask really do disguise a person.

  8. The Art Walk sounds just the sort of place I like to browse in. Congratulations for finding another outlet for your books.

  9. I’m looking forward to the world opening back up, and being able to visit second hand bookshops once again. They have often been my happy place.

  10. I too have had my second vaccine and am loving being able to have friends over and to go out. Being alone at home hasn’t been a problem but this is much nicer!

  11. I can so relate to the feeling of freedom after such a long period of isolation. The pandemic has certainly made me appreciate the little things in life and socializing (a little). I have another ten days before my 2nd injection but even having one coupled with the fact the infection rates have significantly decreased has made me feel less anxious.

    The Art Walk Shop & Studio sounds my type of place.

    1. Yes, the little things in life seem extra precious now. You are coming down the homestretch with your second injection. Wonderful to read that the infection rates in Portugal have significantly decreased.

      1. I feel more like a three-legged, one-eyed mule than a race horse LoL … we’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I just hope the B tourists follow the rules. They are arriving in their 1000s every day. I swear if I see just one of them not wearing their mask when and where they should be, I’ll eat them alive πŸ™‚

  12. Yay Laurie, I’m glad to hear things are slowly going back to normal. This post makes me want to visit Winthrop (though from where I am very unlikely, ha ha).

    1. Well, it’s a tiny town that was once on the skids and is on the process of picking itself up. Like many towns in Maine. But Winthrop is in a lovely area with lots of lakes and ponds.

  13. Your happy day out reminded me of how we felt when we could see and talk to people again for the first time… if you add browsing through books and art works and buying plants… that is my kind of day! 🌞🌿☘️I hope you enjoy many more such days..

  14. Great post Laurie and thanks for including me. It is lovely to feel some progress is being made back towards a more open life. I am glad I waited until I had a little free time to read it. Your links all seem to link to other tempting links – a rabbit warren of food, fun and flowers. πŸ™‚

  15. It was so much fun reading about your wonderful day out enjoying books, plants and feeling safe!! Great news that the bookstore was able to make it through this last year and that Maya and the gang will soon be available there!!

  16. Laurie, I know just how you feel. We have been so good and so cautious. And we have left so many things go away. Little gatherings and outings and trips to the store were all pushed aside for a year or more. And it is hard, even being vaccinated, to figure out how to reintroduce these necessary pleasures back into our lives.

    But this spring feels like heaven and I am ready to try again – just as you are. I’ve met a few relatives and friends and I will soon ATTEND A SOCIAL EVENT (outdoors – but all day) with family members I would have seen 20 times in a normal year, and who I miss so much.

    Yay us!

  17. I am so pleased that you were able to enjoy an outing to enjoy such wonderful diversions in town! Hurray for the vaccine! Hurray for warner weather!

    To be able to be around people again, to pop into shops, to have conversation …. lovely!

  18. Laurie, I’m so happy to hear that you’ve ventured out and had a nice time doing it. Life does suddenly feel more open. Like you, we’re now fully vaccinated, but also like you, the mask is staying put when I’m out and about. Congratulations on finding another vendor for your Maya series. That must have really added to your day. I hope to visit Maine for more than two hours one day. You live in such a quaint part of the US.

      1. Same! Another blogging friend is making plans to visit Maine in the fall, and we will be making lunch for him and his wife. Alas, the gardens will be way past their best, but how great it will be to meet them.

  19. We haven’t had our second vaccination yet, so we are being very careful. And how I enjoyed the Art Walk with you! I look forward to doing this and other things soon.

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