Dark Drive to Florida

Posted on November 12, 2008
Filed Under Travel | Leave a Comment

             Michelle and I set out very early Saturday morning, November 1, with plans to stop in Woodstock for brunch at Bragdon’s with son Colin and the Wilsons. A party broke out at brunch and we did not leave Woodstock until after breakfast at Wilson’s Sunday.

            We made the obligatory liquor stop in New Hampshire. Arriving in Boston about four p.m., we found it too late to go to the Museum of Fine Arts and too early to stop. We forged on to Framingham, Mass, for dinner at Legal Seafoods, another New England must. Legal Seafoods is a regional chain of amazing restaurants. It is hard to imagine how a chain can put out such consistently memorable meals.

            From there we continued to Meridien, just south of Hartford and spent the night.

            Monday, we took Highway 15 instead of I95. It is a twinned, four-lane highway but with no paved shoulder. It winds through Connecticut woodlands, making a canopy over the road, and still in leaf with brilliant colours. It passes Yale University and we saw a deer browsing along the verge.

            We skirted New York City via New Jersey, watching for the Badda Bing and Tony Soprano’s commute. It certainly looked familiar but we didn’t see Tony.

            New Jersey, “The Garden State,” ususally gets a bad rap. It seems only fair to point out that it also has some lovely woodland and peaceful, rural, countryside.

            As we moved south, around New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore, we ran into dark, rainy weather.

            We cut over to the east, down through Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia to see some coastal territory. Unfortunately, the beautiful beaches I had been anxious for Michelle to see were all dulled by gray skies and rain. We paid a quick visit to Ocean City in Maryland. Imagine Bay du Vin Island ringed with resort hotels and condominium buildings. Apparently Maritimers are not the only people who like a day at the beach. There are blessings to being off the main trails.

            From there we went down the peninsula to Cape Charles, Virginia, just before the spectacular Chesapeake Bay bridge and tunnels. Wanting to cross in daylight, we planned to stay there. It turns out Cape Charles is a tiny, old community. Its streets are not even mapped on GPS. Our screen showed the car drifting around but not on any roads.

            With my luck, Shore Stay Suites had just opened a couple of months ago on the highway. We got a lovely housekeeping unit with the kind of bed you need a step stool to get up on. We had dinner at the Sting Ray gas bar and restaurant and convenience store. To our surprise, we were introduced to southern cooking that would attract bears anywhere. I had crab cakes and Michelle had catfish. The portions were huge and included large slabs of corn bread, collard greens, garlic mashed potatoes and gravy.

            There was a large Sting Ray on the wall like the one that killed Steve Irwin the Australian crocodile naturalist.

            It being the only restaurant we could see, we had breakfast there the next morning too. Again the servings were huge and accompanied by a bowl of grits. Grits are a bit like cream of wheat cereal – bland, and tasteless. I don’t know why southerners seem to like them so much.

            The next post will deal with US election night in Charleston, South Carolina.



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