The setting for the story I'm working on is a small North Carolina town called Shelby. I chose it because it's where my maternal grandmother was from, though I've never been there, and I love the name. The main character of the book lives in a house that has been turned, by her mother, into a bed and breakfast called Sisters.
I decided to look Shelby, NC up on line. I don't necessarily intended to be accurate in the setting of the town, I'm mostly using the name. But I was surprised when I went online and saw a picture of this house on the city of Shelby website. That site's picture was taken in the summer and is so much prettier, but I couldn't download it because it's in a photo loop. I then found out about the house, the Fanning-Washburn house, on this site. I felt like I was looking at Sisters, I was so tickled!
Here's my description of the B&B in the book:
My Mama has a Bed and Breakfast called Sisters; only women are guests there. Ever since Daddy died Sisters has been Mama's pride and joy. It’s a beautiful old house, the color of butter, with a big white porch and gingerbread trimming. There’s a brick pathway lined with purple irises to the street and the house is surrounded by a white picket fence. It’s situated a little back off the main street behind a big live oak that I used to climb when I was little. Back behind the house is a vegetable garden and gazebo where ladies sit and talk. Along the side of the house and in front are flowerbeds.
The yard doesn't quite match the description, no picket fence or irises, but the house is just what I had imagined. I was so pleased to find that there actually is a house in Shelby, NC that I had never seen but envisioned!