New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
Shelley Shepard Gray

Tour Memories

Posted Nov 21 2011, 7:28 am

I woke up in my own bed today, and made a pot of coffee in our coffee maker. I’ve got a load of laundry going, and watched some of the morning news from my usual spot in our living room. My little dachshund Suzy is sitting beside me, happily taking the stuffing out of one of her many toys.

I’m home again!

It feels great to be home. It really does. But I have to admit that there is a part of me that wishes we were still back on the Amish Country Tour. The whole time, there had been a sense that all of us were a part of something pretty special. Hmm…-maybe because we were?

Publishers don’t send authors out on book tours much any more. I’m no financial wizard, but I have to imagine it would be hard to justify the expense. Even avid readers have busy lives-maybe even too busy to make the time to see a favorite author?

But, boy did we get to see so many readers! We met future readers of Amish fiction, too. And visited with a lot of Amish, spending hours talking with them about books and their culture. Amy and Vannetta and Alica must have taken a 1000 photographs of buggies and the countryside. I know we’ll talk about this tour for the rest of our lives. It was a such a gift to all of us.

On Saturday after Lancaster’s book signing, we had one last meal together. And with this blog in mind, I passed around an old sheet of paper I had stuck in my purse. On it, I asked everyone to write down a couple of ‘Amish Tour Memories’.

Of course, one of the biggest highlights were meeting readers! But besides that, I asked everyone to think of the ‘Funniest’ experience, the ‘Most Embarrassing’, and ‘The Best’. Our answers are below.

The rest of the week, I’ll be answering the 500 emails I never got to answering last week, writing Found, and getting ready for Thanksgiving. I hope y’all will have a wonderful week, too!

So..Drum Roll, please! Here is our ‘Amish Tour Wrap-Up’ :

Funniest Experience:

Shelley Shepard Gray: Getting lost and then lost again on the way to Shipshewana. Never again did I attempt to ‘help’ navigate!

Vannetta Chapman: Meeting some of Shipshewana’s Finest.

Amy Clipston: Listening to some of the funny comments at the Parade in Shipshe.

Alicia May (senior marketing director, Zondervan): Vannetta’s Wikipedia/Jay Leno Commentary about, oh, everything. (Vannetta really is a walking encyclopedia!)

Sue Brower (Editor for Zondervan): Amy mailing her clothes back home so she could bring home presents in her suitcases!

The Most Embarrassing Moment:

Shelley: Would have to be either when I forgot my purse in a restaurant or when my suitcase handle injured the woman sitting across from me at the airport. (oh, she was so mad!)

Vannetta: When my bittersweet story made Shelley cry. (from shelley: I think that would be more my embarrassment, yes?)

Amy:  Having the airport attendant tell me that my suitcase was 7lbs overweight. Before I even began the trip!

Alicia: Being ‘walked in on’ at a Subway

Sue:  Getting lost in rural Pennsylvania while following GPS instructions.

Katie Broaddus (our extraordinary publicist!):  My Traffic ‘stops’

The Best Moment:

Shelley: Taking Amy and Vannetta to breakfast with Clara, her daughter, and her granddaughter.

Vannetta: Buying quilts from Mary

Amy: Having ice cream with Sally, and listening to her daughters’ beautiful song

Alicia: The Cheese Factory Tour in Berlin

Sue:  Having ice cream with Sally, and that beautiful song!

Katie: Sitting in each other’s rooms, talking all night.

Happy Monday, everyone!

with blessings,




13 responses to “Tour Memories”

  1. Jeanette Styer says:

    Shelley, I just love your blog this morning. Amy mailing her clothes home is just too funny! Reading about it was an LOL moment.

    Getting lost while following the GPS. Well, those aren’t always correct. My daughter and son-in-law were driving down a divided four lane once and it told them they were in a field and to get back on the road as soon as possible!

    I can just just imagine how embarrasssed you were about the suitcase handle incident. But I would have thought forgetting your purse would have been more frightening than embarrassing. Unless someone reminded you before you got away from the table. I left my purse in a grocery cart in a parking lot once and was scared someone would steal it before I could get back. Luckily the cart boy found it.

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with your readers. It sounds wonderful! All of you must have had such a great time.


    • Jeanette,

      Thanks for the comment! Unfortunately, I remembered my purse just as we were getting on the toll road in PA. 16 miles until an exit! We called the restaurant and they put my purse at the hostess station, so it was safe and sound. But I tell you what, it felt like forever until we got there. I cost everyone a whole hour of traveling time, too! So embarrassing. I hate to be so much trouble.

      Not a person was mad though. I really was blessed to travel with such sweet women!

  2. Shelley, I can’t stop talking about you. My husband is going to muzzle me! As we were falling asleep last night, I was telling Bob about your grand-dog, RUDY! What a precious person you are … and I really did enjoy our 9 days together. : )

  3. Kim Ferland says:

    Thanks for sharing some of your private thoughts from the trip – sounds like you all had such a great bonding time. I certainly enjoyed the intimate setting we had to get to know you at Plain and Fancy.

  4. Kathie Small says:

    Love your blog and I have enjoyed reading all your post and seeing all the pictures on facebook. I’m now asking my husband to please take us up to the Amish country for a visit now.

  5. Judy Burgi says:

    Shelley, I truly enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing with all of us a bit of your adventures. It made me wish I was a writer so I could have been along for the ride with y’all. Such great and fun memories! I had to laugh when you told about Amy mailing her clothes home…my Daugher does that!!

  6. Will Carpenter says:

    Three things stand out…

    First, when I came over to help with the boxes….then

    When I asked the woman if she would like for me to take her picture with y’all. In that moment it was about touching one life and making a difference.

    And finally all of the exchange between us (yourself Vannetta and Amy) when you were opening up my old manuscript. That shall stay with me..

    Thank You

  7. Janie Freeman says:

    Shelley, thank you for sharing all the “moments”, some made me smile, some made me laugh, but all of them made feel so appreciative of you, Vannetta, and Amy!
    I admire that though you are an established author, you sharing these “moments” with us the readers,makes us/me (JUST-a reader like anyone else)- feel Very Special!

  8. Katie S. says:

    So glad you came to Tuscarawas County. Enjoying Christmas in Sugarcreek right now.

  9. What wonderful stories and oh the memories you all have made. Makes me wish I could have been right in the middle of all ya’lls fun.

  10. […] Shelley also mentions some behind-the-scenes tour tidbits. During their last meal together, Shelley, Amy and Vannetta took turns sharing their picks for Funniest Moment, Best Moment, and Most Embarrassing Moment from the tour. You can read their picks in Shelley’s blog post: read more of Shelley’s post. […]

  11. Angela Terry says:

    Shelley, So nice meeting you in Sugarcreek,Ohio.I am so glad you all had a great trip. Wish I could have stay longer that day in Sugarcreek to talk more to you, Amy and Vannetta.

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