A missing stained-glass window? Why, it must be in Charlottesville! And so the Nancy Drew Sleuths convened in Charlottesville, VA for their 11th annual convention from March 30 – April 3rd. They searched high and low for stained-glass windows, peacocks, and even a ghost or two. Did they solve any mysteries? Would they battle rain and snow? Read on for a few clues to this puzzler…
Wednesday, March 30: Meet & Greet
With nearly 70 goody bags to be “found” in my hotel room later that evening, I headed down to the hotel’s dining room for our meet and greet dinner at 7:30pm. Sleuths had begun arriving and I greeted them with welcome packets and everyone began taking their seats at tables for the dinner.
Following dinner, we began several meet and greet games designed by some our Sleuth Chum Ambassadors. Sleuth Amanda put together a great Bingo game that got everyone in the spirit. We gave away some prizes and then Gina, Mary, and Kelly started an internals game that had everyone having to go around and pair up with all the matching internal illustrations from a classic Nancy Drew book. Once matched, they got a clue to go find their goody bags. The answer to the code was my hotel room number. Clever!
Peacock printed goody bags included Girl Detective books from Simon & Schuster, notepads from Chronicle Books, 20% off cards from Out of Print Clothing, mini Hidden Window books by Lorraine Rogers, a peacock feather, a peacock charm, and a guide to sleuthing in Charlottesville based on Nancy’s adventure there.
Thursday, March 31: Historic Sites
Bright and early, we headed off on our bus to visit some sights that Nancy and her chums visited in The Hidden Window Mystery. First stop was Monticello, home of President Thomas Jefferson. It was a sight to behold and the setting was so apropos—very foggy and spooky. While we didn’t find any old secret passageways, there were some dumbwaiters—for wine! And the bed that Bess marveled at set between two rooms was an interesting conversation piece. We went through the home in two tours and then had some time to visit the grounds, see the gardens, and even the gravesite of Jefferson. Of course, it wouldn’t be a tour without a visit to the gift shop for souvenirs, just like Nancy! One interesting find was a clever coded wheel replica that Jefferson invented to use for sending codes during the Revolutionary War.
Our second stop was Michie Tavern, an old-time tavern where we had a delicious fried chicken lunch with all the trimmings and then toured the place. Sleuths even got a dance lesson! Video of the dancing can be seen at our Facebook page.
Our third stop took us to nearby Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of President James Monroe and what a treat—we were greeted by Monroe himself who gave a grand talk to our group before we toured the home and then the grounds. While touring the grounds, we got to see the peacocks kept at Ash Lawn-Highland. Sleuth Lea had put together a neat booklet about all the places that Nancy visits in the book that we could follow along with as we toured. There was also a clues hunt too. The gift show was overflowing with peacock items and the line to check out was impressive! Also found were old tea bricks—the kind they actually threw overboard at the Boston Party—loose tea leaves were too expensive back then!
After Monroe’s, we visited Seven Oaks—now on the market but owned by the manager of the Dave Matthews band. The Realtor, Ross Stevens, met us there and gave us a great tour and historical background on the property and nearby Mirador which was the inspiration for Cumberland Manor in the book. Dinner was at a nearby buffet to our hotel and then we met up back at the hotel for some activities and book selling and swapping.
To Be Continued...