Even though I was in Coastal City for less than 48 hours, it was a welcome break from the February weather of Snowstorm Region. The temperatures may have been chilly, but the sun shone brightly both days, and I could see the ground. “It feels like spring,” I kept saying to everyone.
In the harbor, we saw boats still in the water, sails still furled tightly to booms. Some were decorated with Christmas lights. A bunch of teenagers were skateboarding on the pier, doing fancy jumps and turns. We wandered around the town, looking at the cute little houses and buildings from centuries past. The streets were fairly empty without the usual summer tourists, although the ice cream shop was still open for business despite the cold.
A couple of friends joined us for lunch in a café that served a spicy tea that smelled like mulled cider. We ate a leisurely meal while we talked about book projects and children, and soon it was time to go back to the college auditorium for my reading. The college I was visiting was a model for what the community college experience should be: the young people I met were excited and engaged, the man in the very front row was 89 years old.
That evening, my friend Ocean Breeze and I went to a Thai restaurant, where we ate crispy squares of tofu with sweet and sour sauce, and vegetables with garlic sauce over rice. Trying to squeeze every moment out of my short visit, we made plans to visit at least one museum in Nation’s Capital the next day before I got back on my plane and headed home.