Last week, we were away visiting family in Pennsylvania, and my husband and I got to sneak away for the night to celebrate our anniversary a little early. After much debate on where to go, we decided on an inn in New Jersey, not too far from where we grew up.
As we walked around the surrounding town and reveled in our (very rare) alone time, I couldn't help but notice a sign. It was an insignificant sign really, just a street sign, that said the name of the township we were in, "West --" I pointed it out to my husband, who had no idea why I was pointing it out to him.
"You know what's in 'East --!" I told him. He still had no idea, and then I told him, it was where a portion of the book I'd just finished writing had taken place. A real, historical portion, and it hit me, standing there, that we must not be too far away.
And thus began the portion of our romantic getaway where I dragged my husband through the backwoods of New Jersey, in search of this place I'd written about, lived, and breathed for nearly the last year and a half of my life, and had thus far witnessed only through old pictures and Google Earth. It didn't seem to matter that the book was already written, revised, and that I'd already begun to think about writing something entirely new. I had to see it! Luckily, my husband had heard enough about the book and the research and had read enough drafts, that he wanted to see it too. Or at least, he knew enough to pretend for my sake.
Only about 20 minutes from the inn, we ended up on the smallest most wooded road I've ever seen, complete with a one lane bridge, six or seven deer wandering right into the road to eat off the trees, and a path so windy, I couldn't imagine it had changed all that much in the past 80 or so years since the time I'd been writing about. "These are the woods I wrote about," I told him. "And they look just like I described them!" My husband pointed out that they looked like. . . woods. But that didn't lessen my excitement at seeing them.
Then we arrived at the specific location. These days it's owned by the state of New Jersey, and there was a large sign in front telling us if we went any further we'd be trespassing and violating laws. So I took a picture of what we could see from the road. It's small and a little hard to decipher, but I felt satisfied in having been there, in that exact same place where my characters end up in the past and the present portions of my book.
Can you figure out where we are? If you can, send me an e-mail with your guess (jill(at)jilliancantor.com), and if you're right, I'll send you a signed copy of one of my first three books (your choice which one!)