edited by Lavinia Spalding

The Best Women’s Travel Writing, Volume 12

I'm so happy to announce that the newest volume of the anthology I edit, The Best Women's Travel Writing, is available now! You can find it at all the usual places--including directly from the publishers, Travelers' Tale (at the link below), and also from your favorite local independent bookstore! Here are some details...

“In story after story,” wrote Andrew McCarthy for The New York Times (about Volume 11), “the refreshing absence of bluster and bravado, coupled with the optimism necessary for bold travel, create a unifying narrative that testifies to the personal value and cultural import of leaving the perceived safety of home and setting out into the wider world.”

The essays in Volume 12 are equally refreshing and bold, exploring diverse themes and locations. The 34 contributors—who include Susan Orlean, Peggy Orenstein, Faith Adiele, Sally Kohn, Ann Leary, Rahawa Haile, Mathangi Subramanian, and Alison Singh Gee—tell of places like Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Colombia, Finland, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Spain, and Tanzania, with stories compelling and complicated, adventurous and quiet, somber and hilarious, heartbreaking and heartwarming.

The Best Women’s Travel Writing, Volume 12, edited by Lavinia Spalding and illustrated by Colette Hannahan, celebrates the transformative truths that emerge when we cross borders, embrace the unfamiliar, create connections, and learn more about ourselves.

In this anthology, you’ll …

• Learn to survive in the polar regions of Canada

• Witness an amateur autopsy in Ireland

• Get chloroformed, robbed, read to, and propositioned in Italy

• Ride a donkey named Shakira on the dusty trails of PetraExplain American reality TV to a bewildered bunch in Bolivia

• Fear for your life on a stormy Adriatic Sea

• Settle a thirteen-year debt in Cuba

• Track one of the world’s most elusive animals in India

• Travel the world on stolen plane tickets

…and much more!

Publisher: Travelers’ Tales

Publication Date: November 24, 2020

$19.95, paperback

ISBN-10: 1609521897


This Immeasurable Place: Food and Farming from the Edge of Wilderness

"One of the best books of 2017" (NPR's "On Point")

Recipes from Hell's Backbone Grill

Blake Spalding, Jennifer Castle, and Lavinia Spalding

This Immeasurable Place: Food and Farming from the Edge of Wilderness

Announcing the new cookbook from Hell's Backbone Grill, now available!

This Immeasurable Place, which I co-wrote with my sister Blake Spalding and my soul-sister Jen Castle, is the long-awaited second cookbook from Hell's Backbone Grill and Farm in Boulder, Utah. It continues the inspiring story of how two women—chef-co-owners Spalding and Castle—started their award-winning, Buddhist-based, farm-to-table organic restaurant in a remote, tiny, traditionally Mormon town on the edge of the magnificent, now-threatened Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Filled with seventy-some new recipes, gorgeous images by world-famous photographer Ace Kvale, and stories of the restaurant, organic farm, and town, This Immeasurable Place is much more than a cookbook. It's a food-justice primer, a guide to eating consciously, and a meditation on connecting community to land and table.

Published in late November, This Immeasurable Place was named one of the best books of 2017 on NPR's On Point and immediately sold through its first print run—and now it’s available again!

Here's what people are saying about it.

“The wisdom found in the pages of this beautiful and surprising book is immeasurable. It’s wisdom from the edge, from one of the most glorious hidden kitchens there is.... Land, food, family, stewardship, and spirit all course through these tempting, gorgeous pages. A book that feeds us on so many levels.” -- Davia Nelson, NPR’s Kitchen Sisters

"... Filled with remarkable recipes and essays, it breathed life back into my radical, sometimes flagging hope for humanity, and is as inspiring as it is mouthwatering. We need this book now more than ever.” -- Elissa Altman, author of Poor Man’s Feast

“Blake Spalding and Jen Castle pioneered farm-to-table cooking, creating the Rocky Mountain West’s first women-chef-owned restaurant with full-scale farm. The authors lay out the seasons of the restaurant with humor, gentleness, and joy, but underpin it with their steely, unflinching resolve. Buy this as a cookbook and a keepsake of the truly immeasurable spirit of this community and the land.” -- Cheryl Alters Jamison, four-time James Beard award winner

"Blake Spalding and Jen Castle are alchemists, truly changing the world through their hands, their hearts, their farm, their food. In community, everything is possible.Theirs is a leadership of love." -- Terry Tempest Williams

"As this book shows, horizon and history can’t be separated from the majesty of what we grow and prepare. Among hallowed lands, creators Jen Castle and Blake Spalding channel a culinary spirituality, and through these beautiful pages, the warmth and love abiding at Hell’s Backbone Grill." -- Jacki Lyden, former NPR host

"Written in the shadow of the magnificent, now-threatened Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this book tells of the sanctity of place and the sustenance provided in the tiny, traditionally Mormon town of Boulder, Utah, by Buddhist-principled chef-restaurateurs Blake Spalding and Jen Castle at their award-winning Hell's Backbone Grill. Filled with remarkable recipes and essays, it breathed life back into my radical, sometimes flagging hope for humanity, and is as inspiring as it is mouthwatering. We need this book now more than ever.” ”

-- Elissa Altman, author of Poor Man's Feast

Politics is on the Menu at Hell’s Backbone Grill

By Edith Wharton, introduction by Lavinia Spalding

A Motor-Flight Through France

A trailblazer among American women at the turn of the century, Edith Wharton set out in the newly invented "motor-car" to explore the cities and countryside of France. As the Whartons embark on three separate journeys through the country in 1906 and 1907, accompanied first by Edith’s brother, Harry Jones, and then by Henry James, Edith is enamored by the freedom that this new form of transport has given her. With a keen eye for architecture and art, and the engrossing style that would later earn her a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, Wharton writes about places that she previously “yearned for from the windows of the train."

Now published for the first time as an illustrated eBook with photographs reproduced directly from the 1908 first edition, and newly introduced by travel writer Lavinia Spalding, the Restless Books edition of A Motor-Flight Through France will inspire current and future generations of readers and adventurers.

"Those who have been charmed with Mrs. Wharton's novels will not be disappointed by her venture into the unfamiliar role of a travel writer." ”

New York Times, 1908


Writing Away

Named one of the best travel books of 2009 (Los Angeles Times)

A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler

Writing Away

“Whenever we travel, all that we experience vanishes far too easily, a victim of flawed memory. In WRITING AWAY, Lavinia Spalding has given travelers a witty, profound, and accessible exploration of the hows and whys of keeping a journal. Novices and veterans alike will find inspiration and fresh ideas on every page, along with practical suggestions to bring out the best writer in anyone. Spalding seems to have read everybody who set pen to paper while on the move, and her narrative is laced with their wisdom and her own hardheaded yet searching advice. Best of all, she knows that the “memoir” has grown ever more diverse wings. At once a worthy addition to the literature of travel and the psychology of writing, it is also a handy, encouraging toolbox. Buy two copies—one to meditate on at home, and another to dogear, underline, and carry alongside your own journal en route.”

— Anthony Weller, author of The Siege of Salt Cove and Days and Nights on the Grand Trunk Road: Calcutta to Khyber

“Spalding doesn’t just give you ideas for keeping a travel journal— she makes a convincing case for why keeping a travel journal is important, and how this personal writing ritual can deepen your journey in unexpected ways. I recommend this book for anyone who loves travel and endeavors to do it mindfully.”

— Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding and Marco Polo Didn’t Go There

“Writing is a sacred and an irreverent art. As such, Spalding reminds us to journey conscientiously, to arrive awakened and to write with all our hearts. This is a beautifully vital antidote to the frenetic buzz of blogging and texting, to be savored and shared.”

— Alexandra Fuller, author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and The Legend of Colton H. Bryant


With a Measure of Grace

Now in its fourth printing

The Stories and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant

With a Measure of Grace

With a Measure of Grace recounts with sensitivity and wit the tale of a women-owned, Buddhist-based restaurant becoming a community anchor in a small Mormon town. Within the book's 176 beautiful, color-photographed pages, former backcountry caterers and professional river chefs Blake Spalding and Jen Castle share their struggles and successes as the co-owners of Hell's Backbone Grill. Spalding and Castle began with the goal to meld their ideas of place-based, seasonally appropriate cuisine, right livelihood, environmental ethics and social and community responsibility into a restaurant they would operate with compassion, generosity, loving kindness and grace. They were unaware at the time that given the unusual circumstances of their venture, this plan would be the restaurant's only chance of survival.

Located in the heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Boulder, Utah, was the last town in the nation to receive year-round mail by mule train. Today it has no stoplight, cell phone service, ATM, grocery store or medical facilities. But it has Zagat-rated Hell's Backbone Grill which, despite all odds, has won the acclaim of national and international media. Sixty-five favorite recipes accompany charming anecdotes, old-fashioned rural wisdom and introductions to captivating local characters, making With a Measure of Grace a warm, earthy, and unforgettable read.

A remarkable book that celebrates a remarkable restaurant in a scenically stunning area of Utah. Few restaurants reflect a sense of place and purpose as fully as this, and even fewer can capture that spirit on the pages of a book. Read their extraordinary story, come to know the farmers and friends who help them succeed, and then recreate and share their simply inspiring food at home”

Bill Jamison, three-time James Beard award-winning cookbook author

Flavor of Fall