Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day One - Driving the "Back Way" from Villanova to Cary, NC

(Photos wouldn't post today...will try tomorrow...please check back)

We are tired of the 95 through Baltimore and DC, so being willing to trade-off boredom and traffic and potential traffic jams for a more scenic if slightly slower road, we headed off down the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake. We turned off the 95 in the vicinity of Newark, DE and headed down 13/1/113 (depending on where we were). It was a clear blue sky day and we had the top down on Diva56 (yes, with hats and SPF55 on). Drove by the NASCAR track in Dover (where there were thousands and thousands of RVs at least ½ with American flags flying tall). We were happy the NASCAR loving RVers had apparently gotten there the day before to start all that NASCAR revelry, otherwise that section of the 13 would have been a gauntlet! We did pass the “Red Bull” team (our first indication of serious party making ahead) (photo).

Having eaten early we were hungry for lunch early. As we were traveling down the “Blue Crab Highway” our thoughts naturally turned to…yes…crab for lunch. We first stopped at Susan’s Seafood with hopes of fresh crab. We did find an eye popping array of fresh crabs and fish but for take-away only…no benches, no cookers.

Appetites whetted we turned off 113 and headed for Chincoteague about 10 miles east. The last time we were there was on a cold, blustery, gray day about 23 years ago (off-season, in search of ponies). The weather was markedly better this day and we found Don’s Seafood Restaurant with fresh, fresh, off the boat, blue crab steamed up nicely. It was so sweet that I didn’t even use the clarified butter (and since I think crab is sometimes just a good excuse to eat butter that statement says A LOT). Jerry had oysters. Wild oysters are out of season in the Chesapeake, but the restaurant owner Tom, (…yes I know I said the restaurant is named Don…but he is long gone…it’s Tom now)., anyway Tom raises oysters in temperature controlled conditions which means he can sell them if the “off season” and we can eat them all year long. So Tom’s Coves oysters were served to Jerry and it was all I could do to keep from eating just the one allotted to me, the crab eater. They were great…reminded me of northern oysters (sweet, firm, a little metallic) more than the southern Gulf oysters we get in Florida. The tray of 6 blue crabs was $15 bucks. Jerry’s oysters were 11 for a dozen. Oh, and Jerry also had great fish and chips (8 bucks). It was a very reasonable meal for such fabulous food. Don’s is located on the main drag in Chincoteague. Come off the bridge and make a left, about ½ mile on your left. (Unless you come after the new bridge is done…then make a right about ½ mile on your right).

Before lunch we scouted out the local farmer’s markets (a 6 tent affair with locals selling jams/preserves, fresh baked bread, Tom Cove’s clams (he apparently does clams too), herbs, etc. ) It was set in the parking lot of Don’s restaurant overlooking the water.

After lunch we drove back over the intercoastal waters and marshlands and stopped to figure out what the tall, dark birds in the marsh were. Glossy Ibis! About 20 of them feeding in the tall marsh grass. There were also HUNDREDS of laughing gulls (black heads, very garrulous, hence the name) feeding, socializing, and apparently nesting in the marsh waters (we saw birds flying with nesting material in their talons). We drove by the large NASA facility Wallops Island Flight Facility. Wallops participate in tracking of space shuttle missions, suborbital flight research (including test missiles, high altitude balloons etc). There is a visitor center but we didn’t have time, put it on the “next time” list..

With full bellies (and really wanting to nap and not drive) we pointed Diva56 southward with about 4 hours of driving yet. Crossed the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge, managed to thread our way through Norfolk/Southhampton without missing a turn (and heading back the way we came) and then got hungry. So it was BLIZZARD time! Stopped at the Dairy Queen in Courtland, VA (butterfinger/oreo mix for anyone interested) and then wandered next door to the “Peanut Patch” which sells Feridies Roasted Virginia Peanuts fixed all so many ways. Family run and local, we had fun taste testing and buying. Check them out if you have a need for crunchy fresh roasted Virginia peanuts

Then it was straight to Cary, NC where we arrived about 6pm at the home of our long time friends from Issaquah, WA, Bruce and Karen. As always they warmly opened their home to us and make us feel at home. We sat and talked and played with the cats, Ginger, Tank, and Annie. We caught up on things with son Eric. Then we headed for Danny’s BBQ a local, non-chain establishment off of Tyron in Cary. Great BBQ both North Carolina style as well as other styles more familiar (to us) styles. Grilled corn. Hush puppies. Good coleslaw and beans. VERY tender Baby Back Ribs. Afterwards we went to Goodberry’s a “custard style” ice cream stand (which we visited several years ago on our last trip through Cary). Hot Fudge with roasted almonds…yummy!

After the early start, long drive and big dinner, we could barely keep our eyes open long enough to mount the stairs to our cozy bedroom. We slept well and deeply.


Jennie said...

Fun eating! I'm looking forward to the time when I get to do this!

Keri said...

I love all your descriptions of places and food...maybe someday I can take trips like yours! :)