Fans of summer beach reading don’t have to wait until summer for the good times to get rolling. This cold, chilly month brings what might be every beach-read lover’s dream — a chance to hang out with fellow fans in a spectacular spot (one featured in a favorite book). What’s more, chefs whip up dishes based on your top book themes, and the wine and bubbly flow.
Can this get any better? How about the author of those fave books joining her fans?
It’s happening: The Boston Wine and Food Festival (boswineandfoodfestival.com) launches a Boston Harbor Hotel “Golden Girl” weekend that puts you up close and personal with Elin Hilderbrand, aka the queen of the beach read.
Hilderbrand, author of 27 (and counting) books, will be in house at the BHH the weekend of Feb. 26-27 for a slate of cool events from a “Blue Bistro” wine dinner based on her book by that name to a Bubbly Brunch Sunday, a tribute to her love of champagne.
They’re going for a big book group vibe, filled with folks who love beach reads, great food and the harborfront setting — a spot Hilderbrand calls one of her favorites in all of Boston (and one she’s featured in her latest “Golden Girl”).
Hilderbrand told the Boston Herald she may be as excited about the event — or more so — than her readers.
“Who doesn’t want to break bread with their readers,” the author said on a phone call from a warm island where she was focused on rewrites for her next beach book.
“I really bond with Boston,” she said. “The geography, the Patriots, Nantucket, the Vineyard; I love it all. This is going to be so fun.”
Hilderbrand built the weekend schedule along with the Wine Festival team and one of her favorite Nantucket chefs, Erin Zircher.
For BHH chef David Daniels, it’s a dream lineup.
“The first time that I went to Nantucket, I dreamt of working and living there. A few years later it became true. Nantucket provided me with 10 years of the most creative and fulfilling days of honing my culinary craft, while also forming some of my forever friends. The opportunity to bring this event to this year’s festival in partnership with Elin and chef Erin Zircher excites me, while its menu will reflect that breathtaking natural surrounding and quietness of the island that will always be special to me,” he said.
Hilderbrand has called Nantucket home for more than 25 years, but Boston is no stranger to her. Each year, she settles into a spot on Beacon Hill for six weeks of book revisions.
While there, she takes in the city via walks and outings between work hours.
“The Boston Harbor Hotel is one of my favorite in the city,” she said. She set an important scene in the hotel and its bar for that reason.
And as much as the setting — and food and wine — is a draw, she said, more so are her readers, people who tend to connect in a real way, and in whom she sees herself.
“I am my own demographic,” the busy working mother of teens said. “Most of my readers are just like me.”
What can one expect from the weekend? First, the setup:
The Saturday night wine dinner is inspired by the menu from her best-selling novel “The Blue Bistro” and will feature signature dishes and wines paired with storytelling.
You’ll learn firsthand about Hilderbrand’s life and inspirations for her many novels. Hilderbrand said she likes it to be more of a conversation: She encourages guests to bring their questions, thoughts and ideas, as is always the case at her many book signings and in-person events.
“All I ask people is to come with an open mind,” she said. “It’s not all about me. It starts that way, but it evolves to being all about us.”
Hilderbrand said she sees it happen even in lines at book signings: Bonded by their loves of reading, storytelling, the beach and more, her readers strike up conversations in line and often leave as new friends.
Sunday features the Sunday Bubbles and Brunch With Elin, at high noon in the Atlantic Room of the hotel. There you’ll have more of a chance to ask questions, share thoughts and, of course, have your favorite books signed.
She encourages guests to come with questions — but warns them that when you’re welcomed into her life, you might just find yourself in a future plot.
“Every conversation and experience I have is always in danger,” she said, laughing. “People drink wine and they start to tell you things … and sometimes they just fit.”
What a souvenir that would be.
For more details and to register, go to boswineandfoodfestival.com.