bbottle of Old Bay seasoning


Animated-Flag-Maryland pub domain wikiI’m launching book 5 in my mystery series this Thursday, and to celebrate I’m doing a Tour of 5’s. I’ll be posting here and around the blogosphere this month, talking about 5 of something. Here are some of my upcoming topics: 5 Things My Mother Used to Say (That I Didn’t Get At the Time), 5 Motives For Murder and 5 Reasons I Fell in Love With Writing Fiction at 57 (this Sat. at Debra Eve’s Later Bloomer).

Today I’m honoring my home state of Maryland (where my books are set). I love Florida –the palm trees, sunshine, sandy beaches and mild winters–but there are certain things we don’t have down here.

Five Things I Miss About Maryland

1.  Crabcakes!  Whenever we go back to Maryland to visit I order crabcakes everywhere we go. There is absolutely nothing as tasty as a Maryland crabcake. And don’t let those Maryland-style cakes you see advertised elsewhere fool you. They are usually not true Maryland crabcakes.

The secret’s in the Old Bay, hon!

bbottle of Old Bay seasoning

(photo by Beeblebrox, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

2.  Lilacs and dogwood trees!  Florida is lush with flora. We’re in the sub-tropics after all. There’s something blooming in my backyard year round!

But in the springtime, when my Maryland friends post pics on Facebook of their lilac bushes blooming… Oh how I miss the heavenly scent of lilacs!

purple lilacs

(photo-public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

My all-time favorite tree is the dogwood. I used to have one in every color in my front yard (white, pink and red). Theoretically one should be able to grow them down here, but… I’ve planted three of them at various times. One is still alive, sort of, but it’s never bloomed and I doubt it ever will.

(Oops, just went out to take a picture of my sad dogwood tree and it’s deader than a doornail. I’m now three for three.)

3.  Indian summer!  Maybe not the most politically correct terminology these days, but that’s what we called it when I was a kid. Somewhere around the first or second week of September the humidity breaks and the days cool off a bit. Then there will be two to three weeks of gorgeous mid-70’s, low humidity days.

Those weeks always felt like a special gift from Mother Nature, sandwiched between the oppressive heat of August and the crisp chill of October.

4.  Brilliant fall colors!  Yes, we have deciduous trees here in north-central Florida and their leaves change and then drop off. But they change to a rather jaundiced pale yellow at best. And a lot of the trees go right from green to brown, without even bothering with the jaundiced stage. Every once in awhile, you’ll see a touch of red or orange, but just a touch. Nothing like up north!

trees and fallen leaves in red and orange

(photo by liz west, CC-BY-2.0, Wikimedia Common)

5.  Diversity!  Maryland is nicknamed Little America. Despite its relatively small size, it has some of every region of the country represented within its borders. Western Maryland is hill country, with the Allegheny Mountains, and one of the nicest sections of the Appalachian trail (according to a hiker friend of mine).

The Baltimore-Washington corridor in the center of the state has everything a modern urbanite could want–bright lights, theaters, symphonies, fine restaurants, congested traffic and crime.

In Southern Maryland there’s still a lot of farmland and it has quite a southern flavor. It’s not quite warm enough for long enough to grow cotton, but tobacco used to be a major crop. And the Eastern Shore is sprinkled with waterfront towns where tourists and boaters rub elbows with people who make their living off the Bay–fishing, crabbing and harvesting oysters.

I do love living in Florida, but I sometimes miss good old Maryland, My Maryland!!

(Speaking of diversity, the state song was written by a Confederate supporter during the Civil War. He was trying to get his fellow Marylanders to join the South. Listen to the rather gory lyrics. It’s one of the more controversial state songs in the country.)

book cover


(Psst, even though the book isn’t officially launched yet, it is live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and it’s on sale for just $1.99 thru June 12th! Shhh, don’t tell anybody, but go ahead and grab yourself a copy.)


Do you live somewhere other than where you grew up? What do you miss most about your home state?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics and sometimes just for fun.

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  • Reply
    Kristy K. James
    June 3, 2013 at 1:05 am

    The closest I’ve ever been to Maryland was when I went to Washington D.C. with Girl Scouts. Sounds like we should have made a side trip. 🙂

    I feel that same way about Michigan, but will likely never move away. I’m a long time summer hater. Even though I freeze most of every winter, I still feel better from October through April. So you enjoy the tropics there, for me…and eat some yummy, fresh off the tree big, fat, juicy oranges for me please. The ones we get up here are nowhere near that good.

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      June 3, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Ha! Winters are what chased us south! Mainly because I get depressed.

      Unfortunately the best of the oranges down here get boxed up to sell to the tourists, so unless you have your own tree… I’ll buy you a box next time I pass a produce stand and ship it up there, Kristy. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 3, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I’m from Minnesota originally, now been in Texas. I LOVE lilacs, and miss them, the Northern Lights, all the lakes, rivers, but not the mosquitoes, and Autumn with all its beautiful colors.

    Maryland sounds a little like Minnesota, minus the crab cakes and the state song. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      June 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Yes, it does sound like our home states have some things in common, Jennette.

      I don’t have to miss the mosquitoes though, because we’ve got plenty of them down here in Florida as well. I think they’re actually bigger on the Eastern Shore in Maryland though. Maybe because they have to be tougher to deal with the cold. 😉

  • Reply
    Catie Rhodes
    June 3, 2013 at 9:06 am

    My mother’s mother was from West Virginia–Martinsburg. When I was a kid, we’d go visit. I remember going to see a lot of stuff in Maryland because it wasn’t that far of a drive. One thing that fascinated me (being from Texas) is that it wasn’t as hellishly hot in the summer months as Texas. Then, my brother-in-law lived in Maryland for a while. Visiting him always meant a lot of looking around at historical stuff. That is such a neat area of the US. So much history there.

    I’ve lived in Texas all my life, but I moved from the country to the city as an adult. Imagine going from a city of 25,000–and it was the largest city for miles and miles–to Houston, which is the 4th largest city in the US. Talk about culture shock. One thing I miss about East Texas is the spirit of independence and self-sufficiency. I also miss the no-nonense common sense of the people there. During the ten years we’ve lived in the suburbs of Houston, I’ve shaken my head in disbelief more times than I can count. But the biggest thing I miss is the country itself–the miles and miles of thick pine forest, the endless ribbon of two lane blacktop snaking through the middle of nowhere, and the way you can see the stars after dark.

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      June 3, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Ah, Catie, I miss the country, too. We lived out in the boonies most of my adult life. Never realized there were that many stars when I was a kid in the suburbs.

      Here we live in a medium-sized city, but by comparison to Baltimore (where I grew up) it feels like a small one.

  • Reply
    shannon esposito
    June 3, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Yum, crabcakes! Sounds like those alone would be worth a visit. Well, NC isn’t my hometown, but I lived there for a few years and the one thing I miss is the ice storms. They didn’t happen often, but when they did it was spectacular. Everything was coated, every branch, leaf, blade of grass. When the morning sun came up and everything would be glistening and glittering it took my breath away. I would walk around–carefully–with my camera capturing the things incased like glass.

    ps. I grabbed a copy 🙂

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      June 3, 2013 at 11:25 am

      LOL I guess you did walk carefully, Shannon. The after-effects of ice storms can be beautiful, from your front window! Pretty treacherous to go outside though.

      Wish I could get those crabcakes down here. Even the frozen ones you can get flown in from Maryland are not quite the same as when they’re fresh (and they’re really expensive).

  • Reply
    Karen McFarland
    June 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Kassandra, I have never had the opportunity to visit Maryland. Sounds wonderful. I was born in Hollywood. True. And raise in L.A. and south Orange County until I married and moved away. Hubby took pity on me and moved me back a couple of years ago and I am so happy! You cannot beat SoCal’s weather, expecially along the beach. But the second time around, since we moved from Phoenix, we both really appreciate living here this time. 🙂

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      June 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      I love California, Karen! It was on our short list of places to retire to. One of the main reasons it never made it to the top was that it would be too hard to get back to Maryland to visit. Since our son still lived there at the time that we moved that was a major issue. Now he’s in Pennsylvania, but still only a couple hours from our summer home.

  • Reply
    Beverly Diehl
    June 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I spent my teen years in York, PA – if you’re from Maryland then we were neighbors!

    Yes, tree leaves shriveling to brown and dropping off ain’t the same thing. And the one time I ventured crabcakes on the West Coast, I got SOOOO sick. Never again.

    No lilacs in SoCal, either, but we DO have jacaranda, which are purple and lightly fragrant, plus other nice plants and shrubs.

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      June 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      York, PA! You were right up the road from us!! So you know about gorgeous fall colors too.

      But SoCal is also beautiful. Just stay away from the crabcakes! 😉

  • Reply
    JoAnn Bassett
    June 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Hi Kassandra, Love the post! I just downloaded Collateral Casualties and am eager to get reading about Kate’s latest adventure.
    I miss the green of my home state, Washington. We’re down here in the sun of Southern Arizona and although the weather is fabulous most of the time, in summer it’s just brown and really, really hot! (But it’s a DRY heat, they say…)
    I’ve never been to Maryland but the entire Eastern Seaboard is on the bucket list and hopefully within a year or two we’ll get out that way. Crab cakes are calling!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      June 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Cool! Hope you enjoy the book, JoAnn.

      I love Arizona although I haven’t been there in years (may show up on your doorstep one of these days!) It is very brown in the summer, though. I noticed in Phoenix that a lot of people just put pebbles in their front yards with a few cactii. Can’t do that in Maryland or Florida; you’d be weeding the pebbles constantly.

      The crabcakes are well worth the trip to Maryland all by themselves.

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