Last week I learned that I won two awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association. If you had told me 20 years ago that anyone anywhere would actually pay me real American dollars to write about traveling — perhaps the single greatest pursuit of human kind outside of love, family, and music — and that I'd actually win an award for such a thing, well... I'd have laughed you right out of the pub. And yet, here we are. Here are the winning stories:
Kid County, Ireland (Gold Winner, Family Travel category)
It’s no Orlando (and thank God for that), but Ireland doesn’t need the Disney touch to feel like a magical playground for your own little leprechauns.
Road Trip, Meet Field Trip (Honorable Mention, Family Travel category)
Sometimes the best souvenir isn’t what you buy, but what you learn.
I should probably also tell you that last June, I won a handful of awards in the National Association of Real Estate Editors' 69th annual journalism contest -- including:
- President's Gold Award, Best Freelance Collection
- Silver Winner, Best Collection of Work by an Individual Covering Residential Real Estate (for Borderline Behavior: How Fear, Feuds, and Blunders Gave Massachusetts Towns Such Strange Shapes and When Romances Fail, Real Estate Gets Ugly)
- Silver Winner, Best Real Estate Blog (for House & Hammer)
- Bronze Winner, Best Architecture Story (for Tax Shelters: As the Filing Deadline Looms, a Look at How Taxes Have Shaped Our Architecture)
- Honorable Mention, Best Magazine Real Estate Story (for A Beginner’s Guide to Buying an Old House)
But I think my favorite thing I've written in the past year was this piece — about busking in beautiful Asheville, N.C.
There’s a lot to love about Asheville, from the local-first food scene to its Brooklyn-in-the-mountains sense of style to the warm welcome you receive in a city that loves you back. But art comes especially easy here; it’s everywhere. Music fills the bars, but also the streets, where buskers entertain tourists and lunch-hour diners. There’s art on the walls of its galleries, working studios, coffee shops, and a lot of the building exteriors, too. And in autumn, nature is doing her part, painting the surrounding mountains in Impressionistic blots of red, orange, and gold.
Finally, on another musical note, I'll be singing Irish and other tunes at the Monument Tavern in Charlestown on Saint Patrick's Day (Tuesday, March 17th) from 6pm-9pm. Come hoist a pint if you're in the area!