Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Giveaway & Guest Post by Lauren Clark

Please help me welcome author Lauren Clark to A Buckeye Girl Reads! She's here today talking abotu the Top Ten places to visit in Upstate New York, where the setting of her newest release, Stardust Summer. At the end of the Top Ten list see what cool things Lauren is giving away!

Title: Stardust Summer
Author: Lauren Clark
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Number of Pages: 280

Single mom Grace Mason doesn’t believe in miracles, magic, or love at first sight. She likes the quiet life, complete with her eight-year-old son, their tiny house, and her teaching job. For Grace, happiness means that nothing much ever changes in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Then, one thousand miles away, tragedy strikes. A massive heart attack leaves Grace’s estranged father comatose in an Upstate New York hospital. While a team of doctors fight to keep Henry Mason alive, Grace and Evan rush to his bedside to say their final goodbyes.

Henry’s passing brings little closure for Grace, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her new surroundings. What begins as a short trip results in an entire summer spent with Henry’s second wife, Kathleen, and her next-door neighbor, Ryan Gordon, the town doctor. When a series of unlikely events lead to Evan’s disappearance, Grace must face her worst fears to find her son and bring him back home.

Stardust Summer explores the complexities of forgiveness, what it means to be a family, and the fabulous possibility of falling in love—again.

 TOP TEN LIST               Must-Do Adventures in Upstate New York

The setting for Stardust Summer is my favorite vacation spot in the whole world; Keuka Lake in Upstate New York the place where I spent my happiest childhood days and the getaway that my children and I can't wait to come back to every year in July.

As you can tell from the novel's cover, the story involves a gorgeous freshwater lake, which means many favorite summertime pursuits are involved—including boating, swimming, and fishing. But Keuka Lake and the Finger Lakes region are so much more than that! It's a magical place to explore history and experience local treasures.

If you ever have an opportunity to venture to Upstate New York and find yourself in the breathtaking Finger Lake region, here is my TOP TEN list of must-do adventures:

1.  New York State Wineries - More than 100 wineries are now open around the region’s four main lakes: Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, and Canandaigua. These wineries yield an amazing 90% of the total wine produced in New York each year! The area is home to three wine trails, each offering wine and food pairings each year—ranging in theme from chocolate, barbeque, and holiday. Click here for more information:

2.  Corning Museum of Glass - This fascinating museum located in Corning, New York is open all year and offers something for all ages. From hot glass working, to flame working and sandblasting—you and your family can do just about anything with glass, with the help of our experienced glassworkers. A variety of hands-on classes are offered for adults and children alike. My children LOVED this museum!

3. Walk the Gorge - Located in the village of Watkins Glen, at the southern tip of Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen State Park offers a two-mile Gorge trail hike. The State Park contains several small waterfalls, a campground, a large picnic area, and swimming pool. Stone walkways and bridges built in the 1930's add to the charm.

4. The Windmill - You'll find the Windmill Market halfway between Penn Yan and Dundee in Upstate New York. The open air attraction is the first and friendliest farm and craft market located in the center of the Finger Lakes Wine Region. Since its inception, the Windmill has become a premier tourist spot, attracting 8,000 - 10,000 people each week.

5. The National Soaring Museum - For those of you who love aviation and the miracle of flight, the National Soaring Museum is a must-see attraction. The huge, 37,000 square-foot facility is located on the top of Harris Hill, New York. The museum now boasts an additional eight-thousand square-foot Heritage Hangar, a large archive area and a gift shop which sells aviation-related items.

6. Watkins Glen International - After hours of shopping and winery trail visits, treat your husband or main squeeze to a day at the races!  The legendary Watkins Glen road course hosts the top series in motorsports including NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide, and the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Watkins Glen International is considered one of the premier road racing facilities in America. 

7. The Smith Center for the Arts - Located in historic Geneva, New York on the shores of Seneca Lake, the Smith Center for the Arts is one of many jewels of the Finger Lakes region. Attend a live concert or see a movie with your main squeeze at the magnificently renovated Smith Opera House.

8. Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion/State Historic Park - An amazing 40-room Queen Anne-style mansion sits atop “Sonnenberg” Gardens and is a must-see for visitors to the Upstate New York region. (Sonnenberg is German for “sunny hill”). The original farmhouse property was purchased in 1863 by New York City bank financier Frederick Ferris Thompson. Much of the floral design and landscaping seen at Sonnenberg today are due to Thompson's wife, Mary Clark, influenced by her many trips to European and Asian locales.

9. Mark Twain Exhibits - Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, vacationed many summers with his family in Elmira, New York. It was at Quarry Farm overlooking the Chemung Valley that Clemens contemplated his childhood on the Mississippi River, which inspired him to write such classics as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Explore more about this author’s legacy at the Chemung Valley History Museum in downtown Elmira. Visit MarkTwainCountry for more information.

10. Shopping! - Perfect for whiling away a rainy day, there's much to discover in the Finger Lakes' historic shopping districts. One of my favorites is located on a quaint village square in Corning’s Gaffer District. Places to see include Market Street Coffee & Tea, Bottles & Corks, and Imagine That! (All pictured below). Unique shops also abound in Hammondsport, Penn Yan, Watkins Glen and Elmira.

Have you ever visited Upstate New York? Which of the TOP TEN must-do adventures sounds like the most fun for you?

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February 20 Chick Lit Goddess Guest Post
February 22  I Am A Reader, Not A Writer  Author Interview
February 23 Hanging With Bells  top ten list
February 24 Reflections Of A Bookworm Review
February 25  Book Reviews by Dee Guest Post
February 26 The Book Bag Review
February 27 A Buckeye Girl Reads Top Ten List
February 28  Chick Lit Cafe Author Interview
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