So, I embraced both the exhilaration and oddity of visiting Lewes, Delaware for the first time on business last month — after only having been there for fun and family in the past. But it turned to pleasure too. I snuck in to scout out an event that I can recommend — the History Book Festival held annually in a town steeped in its own history.
On a cold, blustery night, not a room was to be had at the inn, so to speak — even and especially on an early fall weekend in that getaway location that has become so popular. Instead, I took refuge in my favorite outdoor place in the world, Cape Henlopen State Park (location of the former WWII base Fort Miles). No, not sleeping in the dunes but car camping in the only state park campground I know where, amidst the lingering scent of campfires, you can hear the ocean waves breaking in the distance at night.
CSPAN was on hand that evening to cover the festival’s keynote address by Buzz Bissinger (to be aired tentatively on Veteran’s Day). Between his book (nonfiction) and Steven Hartov’s (historical fiction), World War II was certainly well represented in the author talks.
Decamping that desert of loblolly pines Saturday morning, I caught most of the presentations that took festival attendees on journeys from medieval heraldry to the origins of the French and Indian War to the French Revolution to the Barbary pirates to the Gilded Age in America to the 1933 World’s Fair to civil rights in the American South. Lots of reliving history in the historic small-town setting of my historic novel (coming in 2023). It all seemed so apropos!
And apparently, it just keeps getting better. Plan to attend next year, if you can. Why? Because when we delve into history, we all become historians!