36 Hours with ONE GOAL in Spartanburg
Putting together a book tour is a crazy thing. It's a combination of who you know, where your public relations folks want to send you, and who invites you to come. Wearing a double hat -- academic and writer -- means I have kept an eclectic schedule for the last several months, bopping around from some of the country's great independent bookstores (RJ Julia! An Unlikely Story!) to fantastic library events (Norwalk's "AuthorSpeak" series!) to lectures at colleges like Cornell and Kutztown and Swarthmore.
An invitation from the city of Spartanburg, South Carolina took me a bit by surprise. Through a twist of Bates College alumni magic, a non-profit writers co-op, and the good folks at Visit Spartanburg, I found myself -- my sister in tow -- flying with ONE GOAL to the South this past weekend, scheduled for a talk at Hub City writers and a whirlwind few days of food, music, and some sightseeing in a part of the country I don't spend a lot of time in.
Driving past by the famous giant peach (see below) that dots the skyline of Gaffney en route to Spartanburg, we had no idea the degree of Southern hospitality that was coming our way. Many thanks to everyone who had a hand in showing us a good time. Spartanburg was not, I will be the first to admit, first on my bucket list of places to visit. But I appreciated getting to to know the city and its people (especially its chefs!), reminding me that sometimes it is a weekend well spent exploring a new place, from walking the Cottonwood Trail to hearing music at the Fr8yard, from the craft brews at The Silo to the small plates at The Kennedy, from the crispy avocado at Willy Taco to the Cuban coffee at Le Spice, from the bright red car at the Railroad Museum to the factories of BMW, from the views of Level 10 to all of the beautiful public art murals that we discovered as we wandered around.
Hub City -- you did right by us. Thanks for welcoming the story of ONE GOAL, and us with it, to your town. We miss Willy Taco already.