Tag Archives: Farm

Scoping out locations for your novel #3: Road Trip! (Contes Farm)

In scoping out locations in South Jersey for my new Novel, I needed a farm that was between point A and an airport.  Last week, we visited the airport, and it was perfect.  Would the farm be that good?

I clicked on the GPS and started driving.  First problem:  It’s too far away.  I need it far away, but not this far.  There is another farm option, but that one is actually too close to its local airport.

Erghhh!  The woes of real-life locations.

As I’m driving though, I figure out a way to make it work.  I just need to tweak something just a little bit.  Yeah, I decided, it will work, and it will be much easier than trying to make the one that’s too close to the airport “fit” into the story.

We headed out into farm country, and I kept repeating:  “Please be surrounded by woods… please be surrounded by woods.”

We turned onto a road, and pulled up to the small farm-stand building. Conte’s Farm.  Hmmm… not as grand as I had expected, but the building is not important.  I dragged all the kids out of the car, and announced we were going out into the fields to pick our own fruit.  Boy, did their faces light up!

It’s funny, with all the things they were guessing as we were driving, I was afraid they would be disappointed.  Wow, were they excited.

We went to the back and got our baskets.  “So, how does this work?” I asked.

“He’ll be there in a minute to bring you out,” she said.

Much to my joy, and my kid’s excitement, a tractor pulled up with a big trailer attached with seats on it.

Perfect, since I’d already written this scene, and there was a tractor in it.  We loaded up and he pulled us out into the fields which were HUGE.  Much bigger than I had written, but that’s fine.  An easy fix.

I shielded my eyes, and scanned the far reaches of the fields.  They were surrounded on three sides with a very thick forest.  Wahooo!  And the woods were even on the correct side, heading toward the airport.

Happiness abounding, we set out to pick our strawberries and had a blast.  “Nice tractor guy” picked us up a while later and dropped us off at the blueberry fields.  The weather was perfect, and we had tons of fun picking fruit.

Note of caution-if everyone in your group has their own buckets, you may be coming home with five pounds of blueberries… Just say’n.

Anyway… next hurdle…

As we checked out, I asked if they have anything fruiting in August (That’s when my novel takes place, and I really didn’t want to change that.)

“Yes, that’s peach season.”

YES!  I’d already written about peaches… and I was worried, because they didn’t mention peaches on their web-site.

Two locations down… the farm and the airport.

Point A would be a little more of a trip… for another day.

My next challenge is to find a hotel within a reasonable distance to this farm.

That, unfortunately, may be the hardest part of all of this.  I might have to make one up.

What do you think of “making up” a location, where all other locations are “real”?  I may be able to fudge it, by being hazy on the address of the hotel.  Whaddya think?

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Scoping out locations for your novel #2: Road Trip! (The Airport)

While I was researching sites in Southern New Jersey, I needed a farm that was close enough to point A and also within 20 miles of an airport.  I found many farms in South Jersey, but one was perfect.  It was right smack dab between the two other locations, and it was surrounded by woods (which I also needed.)

I was alone with the kids that weekend, so I figured we’d make a day-trip out of it.  I didn’t tell them where we were going.  What we did is drive the route that my characters from “Fire in the Woods” would be running. We went in reverse order and visited the airport first.  My oldest son and I jumped out of the car.  At that point, I told him that I was scoping locations for my book.

Yes, the Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer was totally into it.  The two younger ones were already “over it.”

I was a little nervous, because I had already written a lot of my story just from Google Earth and other sky maps.  Would the location be as good in real life?

The first thing that struck me was the chain link fences surrounding the runways.  I guess I should have thought of that.

“No problem,” I whispered.  “The tanks with just run right over those.”

“Tanks?”  my son asked, a big smile on his face.  “What are you gonna do, Mom?”

I just smiled.

He laughed.  “You’re gonna blow it up, aren’t you?”

Yeah, my son knows me pretty well.

I couldn’t get out to the runways, although I probably could have gone inside and asked for a better look, but I didn’t have my business cards or anything.  I could see all I needed, though.  Long runways, surrounded by a thick forest on one side, and a lot of trees on the other… out in the middle of no-where.  It was perfect.

There was something else fun, too.  A big re-fueling tank.  Ah, the joys of hundreds of gallons of gasoline, just sitting there, waiting for me to…

Yeah.  This location was perfect.

We were only there for a few minutes, snapped a few pictures, and then it was off to the farm.  Excited now, I was hoping the farm would be as good.

Have you ever visited a location for your novel?  How did it go?