by Karen Rose Smith
When you take a trip or move to a new place, you want to know the best places to visit. My fictional town of Kismet in my Caprice De Luca Home Stager Mystery series is located in South Central Pennsylvania where I was born. This is a beautiful area with farmland, fields, woods and even rolling hills. The area where I've set Kismet is between York and Harrisburg which gives my sleuth Caprice De Luca access to bigger towns and cities, including Lancaster, Baltimore, Philadelphia and D.C.
If you asked a resident of Kismet to answer this question--What are the best five places to visit in Kismet--he or she would probably give you this list!
Since my sleuth Caprice loves animals and takes in strays, PERKY PAWS is one of her favorite business in Kismet to shop in. He shop is animal friendly. The front case carries an assortment of biscuits: peanut butter nuggets, gingerbreadmen-sized ginger biscuits, pumpkin biscuits, and cheese and bacon biscuits. Colorful dog cookies also decorate the case and are adorned with yogurt icing. Her pup, Lady, notices them, too, and stands at the case as if she expects one to jump out at her so she can eat it. At PERKY PAWS, Caprice can pick up anything she needs from a kitty bed to good food for her furry friends to eat.
BLUE MOON GRILLE
The BLUE MOON GRILLE holds memories for Caprice. She shared a romantic date there with Dr. Seth Randolph. The line for seating sometimes stretches through its reception area on the first floor of an arts and crafts mall and practically out the front door. Stairs lead to the second floor dining area and the deck outside. Chatter in the main dining room is loud sometimes around the bar but there is a gas fireplace that makes it cozy on wintry nights. Sliding glass doors open to the outside deck. There is always a vase of wildflowers on the tables. Black wrought iron chairs with rounded backs have cushy cushions tied to the backs and the seats. The glass-topped tables hold white placemats, silverware and crystal. The outside deck is lovely on a moonlit night. On the night Seth and Caprice have dinner there, Seth arranges for a guitarist to play Caprice's favorite music from the 60's and 70's. The restaurant is especially known for its huge soft pretzels with crab and cheese topping.
ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI CHURCH AND GARDENS
The De Lucas are Catholic and Caprice's faith is important to her. The family attends Mass and other services at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Behind the church there is a garden with a statue of St. Francis Assisi, who is considered the patron saint and protector of animals. Caprice's admiration for St. Francis must play a part in her love for animals. Her sister calls her a "stray animal magnet" and she finds homes for the strays she takes in. When Caprice needs to think through a situation, she sometimes sits in the St. Francis garden. The statue always has seasonal flowers planted around it from daffodils and hyacinths in the spring, to geraniums in summer to mums in the fall. It's a peaceful and relaxing spot with a cement bench that fits three.
OLDER AND BETTER ANTIQUES
Caprice is a retro girl. Her house was built in the 1950's. She has decorated her house with 1950's furniture and 1960's colors. Her Nana Celia collected Fostoria crystal through the years and handed it down to Caprice's mom when she moved in with her son and daughter-in-law. Caprice often uses antiques in staging houses which is her profession. One of her favorite shops to peruse--from furniture to antique jewelry is OLDER AND BETTER owned by Isaac Hobbs. Isaac often gives Caprice important gossip and information about collectibles that helps her solve murder cases. In his shop she can weave in and out of primitive cupboards, pie safes and hand carved rockers.
ALL ABOUT YOU
ALL ABOUT YOU is a unique dress shop opened by Caprice's good friend Roz Winslow. In the first book of the series, STAGED TO DEATH, Roz was a suspect in her husband's murder investigation. Once all the dust settled, she decided to use her fashion sense to open a store where all women (not just those who are a size 2) can find fashions they like. In book 3, GILT BY ASSOCIATION, Caprice finds a forties style fuchsia dress for the Valentine's Day dance at ALL ABOUT YOU. In SILENCE OF THE LAMPS she chooses this dress to wear to her high school reunion.
The dress shop is located in what Kismet residents call Restoration Row. It is a street of row houses in an older section of town. Officially a developer named the street Bristol Row when his company refurbished the houses, sand blasting brick, refacing the fronts, putting siding over clapboard, adding black shutters and making the street respectable once again. Roz rented of the houses for ALL ABOUT YOU.
The store has an unusual layout, with two stories and separate rooms for specific types of fashions. The back entrance has an inside stairway with a chairlift for anyone disable who wants to shop there. There is a ramp out back, too, for the first floor as well as limited parking. Roz has gone to a lot of trouble to make this boutique exactly the way she wanted with woman shoppers in mind.
These are just a few of the places to visit in Kismet.
What are your favorite businesses when you read a cozy?