Friday, June 5, 2009

Gazebos: How to Find a Time Portal

Welcome to my entry in the Classic Romance Revival Blog Carnival. The theme is SETTINGS - SIMPLY SCENIC OR SPECIALLY SIGNIFICANT?

In Lady of the Stars, my Regency time travel, the very scenic setting is vital to the story. The heroine, Caroline, while staying at the resort Thornbell Manor in Cheshire, England, steps through the back door of a gazebo into the past.

I modeled both the gazebo and the resort on a real place, Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. Mohonk resides in the Shawangunk Mountains in the Hudson River valley, north of New York City. In the picture, the Catskill Mountains of Rip Van Winkle fame rise to the west

behind the House.

Mohonk is a beautiful place, from the mountain lake that fronts the house, to wooded paths, extensive gardens, and Skytop, the tower on the summit of the ridge.

My husband comes from the area, and we were married in the rose garden. In this picture, which my husband took, the rose garden is in the foreground. And before you ask, no, Mohonk did not pay me for the plug.

Mohonk's symbol is a gazebo-like structure called a summerhouse. Dozens of these little open-air structures with wooden tiled roofs and one entry dot the extensive grounds. Nailed to the lintel on the inside of the door is a metal plate with the summerhouse's number. My husband and I made a game of finding all the summerhouses and recording their numbers.

The fictitious Thornbell Manor has dozens of gazebos on its grounds, with number plates on the door lintels, and Caroline plays a game of recording their numbers (sound familiar?) until she finds that one gazebo with the back door.

There fiction diverges from real life, for none of Mohonk's summerhouses has a back door, much less with a metal lintel plate bearing the number "1817", which is the year she is transported to. That special gazebo exists only in Lady of the Stars, for Caroline's back door is a time portal, which whisks our heroine to the past, and her destiny.

The CRR festival is giving away prizes. I've contributed a PDF copy of Lady of the Stars. Note, this is a Classic Romance Revival group event. You must comment on each and every blog, leaving your name and email address, in order to qualify for a prize. For more information, see the CRR blog.

Thank you all,



Kaye Manro said...

This is a fantastic post, Linda! I'll try to get to the other links you have listed.

Kathleen O said...

I love your Gazebo with the back door theme.. Your book sounds great.
What a lovely place to get married. You must have just wonderful memories of that day..

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Linda! First of all, I'm not sure I ever told you how much I enjoyed Lady of the Stars. It was wonderful ;). I love all your gorgeous photos. I've never written a time travel, but the idea of a time portal is very intriguing. Wonderful post!


lainey bancroft said...

Beautiful pictures, Linda. They certainly conjure all the mood and romance for a romantic time portal. Very interesting premise.

lastnerve said...

I love Gazebos and I loved your blog!


Linda Banche said...

Hi Kaye, thanks. I've already read several of the festival blogs, myself. Lots of great ones.

Kathleen, we got married in the month of September, so there were still quite a few roses left.

Helen, I'm glad you liked my story. Congrats on your latest release "Thai'd Up".

Hi Lainey, thanks. The pictures reflect the place. All romances should be beautiful.

Hey Val, gazebos are fun, even if they're not time portals.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Beautiful post, Linda!! And a very original idea for a time portal.

Jacquie Rogers said...

I love gazebos! And I'd love to visit this beautiful place. What a nice opportunity you've given readers--to visit such a place through your story.


I like book sat in a real place because you can go there and relive the story.

Mary Ricksen said...

I'm not sure if I told you how wonderful Lady of the Star's was to me.
The gazebo idea is perfect. What a great way to time travel! Your imagery was so wonderful that I pictured just what your photos show. I truly enjoyed see the pictures and reading the blog!

Babyblue22 said...

What a great Post Linda, what a place to get married...Have you and your husband ever gone back??

And great photos. I live in NYC and I had no idea that there was such a beautiful getaway so close to home :-D


She said...

What beautiful photographs. I like that you used a back door as a portal. It makes it more realistic than a person walking through a time vortex. You get the feeling when opening the door that something wonderful could be waiting for you out there (of course, something scary could also but that's the stuff horror movies are made of ;)

MAGGI said...

What a lovely place to get married! It must have been a great inspiration for your book. Congrats on a great blogpost.

Zene said...

what breath taking pictures i can tell you had a wonderful time and what great fun the game of finding all the summer houses was I have yet to read any of your work im new to alot of different genras but most deff will love to check out your books

mortalsinn @

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Lindsay. The original time portal was a garden gate. "Lady of the Stars" was a contest loser, and the editor told me to change the contest-specific information if she was to conseider publishing it on its own. For all the gory details, see

Jacquie, ah, another gazebo lover. I love descriptions. Part of the fun of a story is to "see" another place via words.

Loretta, how right you are. The next time I go to Mohonk, I know I'll think of Caroline.

Mary, I know you liked my story because you gave me a great review. I have it on my website. Thank you again.

Afshan, we've returned to Mohonk several times, but not in the past few years. We'll have to go back sometime soon. As for not knowing about Mohonk, I'm from Connecticut, and I had never heard of it, either.

She, of course, some bad things can happen when you take a chance. But this is a romance! Happily Ever After guaranteed!

Hi Maggi, thanks. Some real life does sneak into our books.

Hi Zene, thanks, Yes, the summerhouses are fun. Have a good time looking through all the new books. I know I did!

MarthaE said...

Linda, that looks like a beautiful resort! Pretty neat that you got married there AND it inspired the time portal for your book- makes that an extra special setting! I like gazebos and summerhouses: they have such a relaxed air about them...but could hold secrets too!

Linda Banche said...

Hi Martha, Mohonk is a gorgeous place. Since I had to find a time portal, why not use something I'm familiar with? As they say, art imitates life.

Danielle Thorne said...

A gazebo is a wonderful idea to use for a time travel device. And very romantic!

Monya Clayton said...

Lovely setting for a wedding, Linda. No wonder it inspired you to write a book.


Linda Banche said...

Hi Danielle, time portals can either be obvious or not. An unobvious one, like a gazebo, lures someone in, which is what I wanted.

Monya, thanks for coming over. Mohonk is definitely a place that stays in your mind.

PhyllisC said...

I love gazebos. I think they are very romantic settings. I've always wanted one of my own. The back door portal is one of the more interesting links to another time that I've read about.

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Phyllis. I had no idea I was doing something a little unusual when I made the time portal a gazebo.

Gina Marie Pettitt said...

Gazebos seem to have that romantic otherworldly effect on so many people. When my sister got married we drove around for 2 hours trying to find the perfect one, the one that she had all picked out for her pictures. It appeared to have disappeared. This reminded me of something funny and different about my sister's wedding day I had forgotten. Thank you.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Gina, glad my post brought back happy memories of your sister's wedding.

Sandra Kay said...

Linda, I love your post depicting Gazebos. Obviously this setting is "Specially Significant" to you.

Beautiful pictures!

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Sandra. I liked the descriptions in your blog post and the picture of autumn trees.

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Linda, I love that your story setting was based on a real place, and such a beautiful place!

Linda Banche said...

Hi Loraine, thanks. Mohonk is quite a lovely place. I'm glad my husband knew of it.

E.A. West said...

What gorgeous pictures! They definitely inspire the romantic in me. And I love the idea of going back in time by passing through the back door of a gazebo.

pams00 said...

Linda, what beautiful photos! I will have to go check out the link for Mohonk.

I have loved gazebos since I was a little girl, sharing the fondness with my mom.

These certainly set the romantic mood in motion.

Pam S

Linda Banche said...

E. A. and Pam, the pictures are beautiful because Mohonk is. I've been there, I know. I showed only two summerhouse pictures, but Mohonk is full of them, and they're all gorgeous and romantic.