In the first half of the book, Jeff and the Professor live in the big city of Baltimore, Maryland, within walking distance of a major university where the Professor teaches and Jeff goes to school. During the summers, Jeff travels 600 miles to the south through the states of Virginia and North Carolina to visit Melody in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is a colorful southern city, largely undeveloped, with an abundance of historical sites dating to the Civil War. In the second half of the book, Jeff and the Professor move 150 miles south of Baltimore to a small house near Crisfield, a rural town across the Chesapeake Bay. Their new home is in an area of creeks and marshland.