26 October 2011

Literary-Inspired Travels: Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

Back in June 2009 I reviewed Gary D. Schmidt's prize-winning Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. I would have missed this beautifully written novel if it weren' t for the review I read by Kathy on BermudaOnion's Weblog. This photo-ladden post assumes you are familiar with the novel or have read either my review or Kathy's.

Before I read Lizzie Bright I had never heard of Malaga Island. I had, however, heard of Phippsburg, Maine, where the story takes place. In fact, I had been there several times. This past summer, Mr. BFR and I revisited Phippsburg and tracked down both Malaga Island and the church at which Turner Buckminster's father was minister.

To get in the mood for our Phippsburg adventure, we listened to the audiobook on the drive up from Pennsylvania. It was Mr. BFR's first time reading about Lizzie and Turner, and he loved the book. I was just as engrossed the second time through as I had been the first.

On our second day in Maine we drove over to Phippsburg. The first thing we looked for was Malaga Island. This was no easy job because much of the land on the coast across from the island is privately owned. We persevered and, after running into a few dead-end roads, finally found a spot where we could get photos from the mainland. From the left, you'll see the southern end of the island, the middle of the island, and the north end (click to enlarge).

Although the island is open to visitors, there is no access, except via boat. Unfortunately, the day we were there was quite windy, and neither Mr. BFR nor I was up for a cold and difficult trip in a rowboat or canoe. The good news is that we just so happened to be parked next to a small cafe. We went inside to warm up and eat some fabulous lobster rolls. Our table was next to a window overlooking the island.

Once fortified, we were ready to see if we could find the Phippsburg Congregational Church. The church, it turns out, is on the other side of the peninsula. So we set off to explore. Although we could have asked directions or looked up an address in a phone book, we opted to drive down many a small unmarked road, stopping to take pictures, until we finally found the church. (One of the joys of not having GPS.)

It was pretty clear after we discovered the church that Schmidt had combined a number of locations in and around Phippsburg when he created the town for his novel. We didn't find Mrs. Cobb's house but we did note this tree in the churchyard. The second sign gave us a little thrill.

I'll leave you with a shot of the graveyard fence and the seaside just across the street from the church.

We had a great day in Phippsburg and hope to return on a warmer, calmer day so we can row across the channel and hike around Malaga Island itself.

Thanks again to Kathy for introducing me to such a wonderful novel. Mr. BFR and I had a great time imagining Turner and Lizzie running down the beaches and enjoying the same sights we did.

Have you ever taken a literary-inspired adventure?


bermudaonion 10/26/11, 7:20 AM  

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see these photos! I loved that book and still think about it. I discovered it when a teen who volunteers at our library recommended it to me. The audio is fantastic!

Mary (Bookfan) 10/26/11, 7:26 AM  

I love visiting an actual setting of a book I've read. Great post - love the pics. Hope you can make it to the island next year!

Meg @ write meg! 10/26/11, 10:14 AM  

How awesome to see in person a place you'd only read about -- that must have been such fun! Love, love it, and definitely want to see Maine someday.

Daryl 10/26/11, 10:47 AM  

No, but you make me want to ...

Zibilee 10/26/11, 11:24 AM  

I love it when people take literary trips and then share them with me! I haven't been exposed to this book yet, but it sounds like something I should check out. I loved the photos that you shared with us today, and the trip sounds like it was a lot of fun!

Julie P. 10/26/11, 12:23 PM  

I love this post! I need to take some literary trips! Heck, I just need to take some trips.

cessie 10/26/11, 3:57 PM  

Great post!
I love exploring places I have read about!
BTW the photo in your header, was that taken in Belgium? It looks familiar.

Beth F 10/26/11, 4:02 PM  

@From one: Yes, indeed. In Brugge.

kikifitz 10/26/11, 4:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
caite 10/26/11, 4:09 PM  

wow, that is very cool.
i don't think i have ever had one, but i need a literary-inspired adventure!

Leovi 10/27/11, 3:42 AM  

Nice book, sounds interesting.

Karen White 10/27/11, 9:56 AM  

What a fun post! I don't think I've made any literary inspired trips, just food inspired ones.

Harvey Burgess 10/27/11, 4:44 PM  

What a great trip idea! I'm sure Schmidt would be honored to know he inspired your trip.

I was just thinking that if my readers were to take a trip based on my latest book, they would have an awful lot of flying to do! Charlotte, NC to Atlanta, GA to Las Vegas, NV, to Malibu, CA. What a trip that would be!

Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post 10/28/11, 7:06 AM  

Thanks for sharing your trip Beth! My library has this book and We go to Maine quite often on vacation as it is my favorite place. Maybe we can see these places too! A great idea for a trip, basing it on a book!

Margot 10/28/11, 1:17 PM  

How great to have such a lovely literary adventure. I like your non-GPS roaming too.

Michelle 10/29/11, 6:35 PM  

Seeing your photos make me miss my childhood in New England. The architecture and surroundings are so beautiful.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 11/4/11, 4:13 PM  

Oh, how fun to tie your trip to Maine to an enjoyable book in this way!

Alice 11/24/11, 10:50 AM  

What a neat experience! I love it when literature is brought to life. I am experiencing something similar as I read THE GIFT OF RAIN by Tan Twan Eng. I'm loving Penang more and more each day.

Kathleen 1/31/12, 6:43 PM  

Thank you so much for posting these photos. I'm an elementary library goddess and we are studying Lizze Bright for our Battle of the Books. Visuals are SO important!

Thanks for stopping by. I read all comments and may respond here, via e-mail, or on your blog. I visit everyone who comments, but not necessarily right away.

I cannot turn off word verification, but if you are logged into Blogger you can ignore the captcha. I have set posts older than 14 days to be on moderation. I can no longer accept anonymous comments. I'm so sorry if this means you have to register or if you have trouble commenting.


All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2020. All rights reserved.



To The Blogger Guide, Blogger Buster, Tips Blogger, Our Blogger Templates, BlogU, and Exploding Boy for the code for customizing my blog. To Old Book Illustrations for my ID photo. To SEO for meta-tag analysis. To Blogger Widgets for the avatars in my comments and sidebar gadgets. To Review of the Web for more gadgets. To SuziQ from Whimpulsive for help with my comments section. To Cool Tricks N Tips for my Google +1 button.

Quick Linker



  © Blogger template Coozie by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP