Road Trip Ramblings

As you know, Chris and I love to travel. And when we are close enough to our destination to make it a road trip, we prefer to drive (and the roads we prefer to drive on do not involve the interstate!).

Even if it takes an extra hour or two to take the route that “avoids highways” on the map app (do you use that feature?) we greatly prefer it ~ we see small towns, farms, and countryside. The roads are often still divided highways, just much less congested (and less white-knuckled) than the interstate.

A few weeks ago, we motored up to North Carolina to meet up with my retail “mastermind” group. We are fearlessly led by our coach and mentor, Wendy Batten, who lives in Nova Scotia, and we have group members from all over North America and a few who hail from as far away as Scotland and New Zealand. We meet ongoing (and often) over Zoom, but every year or so, we get together in person for a business retreat led by Wendy.

This year, we met up in the town of Mount Holly, on the outskirts of Charlotte. Chris and I stayed in a cute Airbnb in neighboring Belmont, which has an adorable downtown to match that of Mount Holly's.


Why there (besides all the cute shops and yummy restaurants)?Well, one of our members is Jeff Lee, who owns an amazing store called The Vintage Nest in the heart of Mount Holly. What a joy to see his shop and immerse ourselves in exciting topics in person ~ these creative entrepreneurs are so inspiring to me and have also become great friends! (Click here to get a taste of our time together.)

If you find yourself in the Charlotte area, I highly recommend jumping over to Mount Holly and Belmont. We met some of Jeff’s fellow merchants, including Cleary's Bookstore, and Awaken Gallery. And we ate at some great spots, including Nellie’s Southern Kitchen, which is owned by the Jonas Brothers’ parents and based on their great grandmother’s recipes. (Seriously, who knew?)

This latest road trip got me thinking about what we choose to listen to.

On this trip, we made it about halfway through The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan Housel. Not a business book, but an easy and entertaining listen about exactly what it says: a treatise on money and how we think about it. Highly recommend!

Some other favorites the past couple of years have been a few by Bill Bryson (of A Walk in the Woods fame). First, One Summer: America, 1927, which explores a pivotal season in history: it was the year of Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth and the Yankees, and the advent of “talking pictures” in Hollywood (I learned a lot about Clara Bow!), among too many other influential events to mention here. You'll have to read/listen to it!

And second, At Home: A Short History of Private Life, a book inspired by another pivotal year, but this time in England ~ 1851, the year Bryson’s house was built (coincidentally, our house here in Thomasville was built around then).

Domesticity + England = Right up Amy's Alley!

In At Home, Bryson takes you through the old rectory house and digresses into a history of each particular room and how domestic life throughout history has shaped commerce, architecture, technology, and geography. For instance, in the chapter about the dining room, he asks (and answers) why we settled on salt and pepper out of all the spices and flavorings available. “Why not pepper and cardamom, say, or salt and cinnamon?” Hmmm… something I never thought of!

Okay, okay – I know these sound like books your high school social studies teacher would assign! But I promise you, Bill Bryson’s humorous and quirky (yet well-researched) take on historical events that have shaped our lives makes you hungry for more (if you’ve read A Walk in the Woods, you know!)

I prefer to listen to Bryson's books rather than read them, because they are “read by the author” so you get his dry humor, complete with his emphases and whimsical tone.

I would love to hear back from you to learn your favorite audiobooks of late ~ we will keep a list to listen to on future trips! So do please kindly email me at amy@thehareandthehart with your suggestions!