Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town with Kate Collins

5 Top Places to Visit in New Chapel, Indiana
by Kate Collins

Abby Knight is the main character in the Flower Shop Mysteries and knows her home town of New Chapel, Indiana, better than I do, so I’m going to let her take you on a quick tour around the town square, where her flower shop is located. Here’s Abby.

It’s no surprise that the first stop will be Bloomers, my cozy little flower shop situated across from the big limestone courthouse in the middle of the town square. At Bloomers we sell not only floral arrangements and gift items but also coffee, tea, and the best scones in the northern hemisphere right from the coffee shop within Bloomers.

With its two big bay windows displaying a colorful array of flowers, and its old-fashioned yellow frame door with beveled glass center, Bloomers is my paradise. It occupies the entire first floor of a turn-of-the-century narrow, three-story, redbrick building, running from Franklin Street in front to the alley in back. The left side of the shop houses our flowers and the right side is our coffee and tea parlor, where customers sit at white wrought iron tables and watched the happenings on the square. People who work downtown line up every morning for our gourmet coffee and scones, made by our very own British expert and woman-of-all-trades, Grace Bingham.

A typical day for me goes like this: Callas, roses, daisies, murder, carnations, mums, kidnappings, corsages, bouquets, mayhem . . . So, even though my town square is as typical as a Midwest town can be, I’m not your typical florist.

Two doors down Franklin Street is the Down the Hatch Bar and Grill, owned by the hottest male in town, Marco Salvare, Army Ranger Special Ops-turned-PI. Lucky me, he’s all mine, but what a journey we’ve had. (FYI: My nickname is Trouble Magnet).

Marco’s bar is the local watering hole, a meeting place for the judges and attorneys from the courthouse across the street, as well as a hang out for college students from New Chapel University, located five blocks off the square. Decorated in a corny fishing theme -- complete with a fake carp mounted above the long, dark wood bar, a bright blue plastic anchor on the wall above the row of booths opposite the bar, a big brass bell near the cash register, and a fisherman’s net hanging from the beamed ceiling – Down the Hatch screams for a rehab. Unfortunately, Marco is afraid to touch it for fear of an uprising among his faithful patrons.

Another popular place just off the town square is The Daily Grind, a small, eclectically decorated coffee shop with soft lighting and jazz playing in the background and a comfy sofa against the back wall. Chairs are tables are in soft pastel colors and none of them match. Yes, they are somewhat of a rival, but I do like their almond milk chai lattes.

Windows on the Square is a popular women’s boutique located on Lincoln Street, facing the big limestone courthouse. Windows looks like a place where my mom would shop, but the owner does a great job of appealing to the younger set. Like most businesses on the square, Windows has been renovated to keep its old-world charm but with modern amenities. The clothes are a bit pricey, so I just wait for their fantastic sales.

A visit to New Chapel wouldn’t be complete without a dinner at the elegant Adagio, our one and only cosmopolitan restaurant, set with real china, white linen tablecloth and napkins, and a votive candle in a crystal goblet. Adagio is special to me because it’s where Marco and I had a few really special romantic dinners.

If you were a florist, I’d add one extra stop to the tour, Happy Dreams Funeral Home, a huge, Victorian, cream-colored clapboard house with dark green and light green trim and accents of mauve - a style commonly known as a Painted Lady. But you really don’t want to go there unless you have to. And just so you know, although I’ve helped solve a number of murder cases involving citizens of New Chapel, I promise you’ll be completely safe with Marco and me as your guides.

Please come back and see us again. I’ll even give you a discount on flowers. If you want a murder solved, however, it’ll be a bit extra.

Kate Collins is the author of the national best-selling Flower Shop Mystery series. Her latest mystery, SEED NO EVIL, #14 in the series, hits the shelves on August 6, 2013.Her books have made the New York Times Extended Bestseller List, Barnes & Noble best-seller lists, the Independent Booksellers lists, as well as lists in Australia and England. All of Kate’s mysteries are available in print, digital, and large-print editions both in the U.S. and in the UK. Kate’s historical romances are also available in digital format at Amazon, B&N, and other e-book sellers. For more information visit Kate at: Kate loves for fans to visit her on her Facebook page, too.

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