Category Archives: This 'N That
A couple of weeks ago, when the weather was still quite frigid, my friend Rose suggested a visit to Chesapeake City, MD. Chesapeake City is located in the far northeast corner of the state. We made a date for May 2nd. If you take the scenic route on US 1, you will cross the Susquehanna River at the Conowingo Dam. When completed in 1928 it was the second largest hydroelectric project by power output in the United States, behind only Niagara Falls. The road across the dam is very narrow but the views of the mighty Susquehanna are magnificent. Bird watchers descend on the area in droves to watch the eagles nesting in the dead trees along the banks.
As you approach the city, the St. Georges Bridge dominates the skyline. This bridge was completed in 1949 and it is at the base that the historic town of Chesapeake City lies. Chesapeake City is the only town in the U.S. that lies directly on a working canal. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was completed in 1829 and river traffic is still brisk. Barges navigate the canal on a regular basis, working their way down the 14 mile passageway.
Many of the original 19th century homes are still intact, with some dating to the 1700′s. The multi-colored homes are so tiny that one has to marvel at how the residents manage to conduct their daily lives in such small spaces. The tiny back yards are enclosed in white picket fences and many feature brick patios and small ponds.
One of the more well-known restaurants in town is the Bayard House. Rose and I chose a table in a sunny section of their patio and settled in to watch the barges float past. As you can see, our meal was top-notch. Rose chose the Stuffed Anaheim Peppers and I opted for the Lobster Salad Croissant. The waitress offered dessert but we decided to take our chances in town.
The Canal Creamery and Sweet Shoppe serving gelato, sorbet, coffee, and gourmet cookies was not open for business. The owner was preparing for his opening the next day and had an inspector coming in for the final approval. We walked around the building to the canal side and found a delightful patio with picnic tables. What a great place to enjoy an ice cream cone! Alas, it wasn’t meant to be…
Undaunted, we strolled around town, admiring the architecture and the shops. Shelia allowed me to photograph the antique cash register in the Mercantile. Dropping into the bakery, we discovered that it was more diner than bakery so we continued our quest for dessert. Lo and behold! What to my wondering eyes should appear but Vulcan’s Rest Fibers! Now here was a yarn shop! Rose and I managed to handle a variety of soft and delicious yarns before I caved in and bought a skein of Scrumptious Lace and a cake of Painted Desert. Of course I joined their mailing list, never mind that it took us 1 1/2 hours to get there!
We finally said good-bye to Chesapeake City and headed over the line to Delaware to Winbak Farm. Winback Farm specializes in breeding thoroughbred racehorses. My friend Rose loves horses and indeed, has been around them most of her life. She now lives in a developement and must limit her contact to the occasional visit to a farm. On a recent vacation, she investigated where she might be able to see some horses and found Winbak Farm. The ladies in the office were very gracious and seemed delighted that we requested leave to walk along the fence line and observe the new-born foals. They told us that the red collars indicated foals that were the result of studding and the mares who were with them had been implanted. The tiny foals looked very awkward as they galloped around on their spindly legs. A mare and foal came trotting over to the fence to greet us but after a few minutes, their curiosity satisfied, they wandered away.
We still hadn’t found dessert so we headed home. But while driving through Elkton, MD, we spotted Sweet Cowolines! Quickly Rose made a sharp right turn and we finally enjoyed our dessert! What a fantastic day it had been! The weather was gorgeous, in the low 70′s. At last we both managed to dispel the cabin fever that had taken hold of us during this long winter.
Oh! And last but not least…here is the yarn I bought. Stay tuned for the next post which will be back on topic. I finished a couple of beautiful scarves and managed to use up some of the sock yarn I had in my stash.
Each morning I walk my pooch Frazier around my neighborhood. I usually try to leave the house as soon as light hits the eastern sky. Frazier is an excitable dog and the sight of any other creature will set him off into paroxysms of high-pitched screeching. So to avoid the impression that I am abusing my dog, I walk before anyone else gets the idea to go outside.
I live in a rural small town. However, this small town has been growing since the 1980′s. New developments are nestled in amidst horse farms and corn fields. My development was built in 1998. If I walk a half block and make a left, I leave the neighborhood behind. From then on, only farms, fields, and woods surround me.
New Freedom was once an important stop on the B&O Railroad line. Summit Grove Camp and Conference Center, a Christian organization, was a huge destination during the 1800′s and 1900′s. The camp is located directly next to the tracks and old photos depict Methodists dressed in their finest arriving by train from the city. Summit Grove is still in full swing today. The front doors of the houses on the opposite side open right onto the tracks!
The York County Heritage Rail Trail has replaced the B&O Railroad. If you are ambitious enough, you can get onto your bike and ride from York, PA to Annapolis, MD. Most of the track has been damaged or neglected. In some places along the trail, it has been completely removed. However, the Steam into History train is scheduled to begin operating in 2013, in time to mark the 150th anniversary of the Confederate invasion of York and the Battle of Gettysburg. It will operate a Civil War era steam train on the former Northern Central Railway between New Freedom and Hanover Junction PA. I have heard that an on-board lunch will be served.
But back to that walk…
Many of the trees on my street are still bare but the ornamentals are in full bloom! Walking downhill past the horse farm, I notice that hurricane Sandy has washed out a small section of pavement near the drainage pipe. Once I reach the bottom of the hill, cornfields are before me as far as the eye can see so I make a right turn and continue along the edge of a wood. Off in the distance I can see the horse farm and the remaining homes in the development.
Now it is time to turn around and go back. Frazier is entranced by the smells emanating from the woods and pulls hard to get me to stop. I don’t mind resting a bit because the rest of the walk is straight up hill! the hill begins at the New Freedom sign and continues steeply until I reach my street. Both Frazier and I are tired but always enjoy our morning walk!
I know, the name conjures up a terrible image in your mind. I was looking for a meatless dinner idea and this recipe was featured in my “Recipe of the Day” newsletter from Allrecipes. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to make it for dinner so I added the ingredients to my shopping list. I thought I would pair it with perogies and include some mixed vegetables for color and nutrition.
Wow! I couldn’t have been more wrong in my expectations! This meatless loaf was delicious! Although the recipe name suggests that cottage cheese is the main ingredient, the ground walnuts are what really give it the flavor. It also includes an envelope of dry onion soup mix so it can’t really be considered vegetarian. Some corn flakes, a bit of vegetable oil, and 4 eggs complete the list.
Paul was VERY skeptical when I told him what I had cooked for dinner. Paul first put ketchup on his portion. Then he pushed the slice around his plate a few times but finally decided to take a bite. And he loved it! The author of this recipe states that one slice is 282 calories and that leftovers make great sandwiches. We will have this again tonight and then I will use the remainder for sandwiches. What a find! The recipe is here.
If there is one thing you learn when you are an RVer it is that you can never anticipate what will happen next! You make all kinds of plans and keep your fingers crossed but every once in a while all the plans go out the window. I had posted previously that the battery light had come on in our truck. Paul went out at 4:30 PM to get diesel and the truck died at the service station. The alternator was the culprit. It took about an hour to get the battery recharged so that he could get back to the RV.
The storms were fierce that night but we did not have any tornadoes. That’s the one thing I don’t miss about traveling in an RV. The weather issues we faced as we toured the country sometimes left me feeling very stressed and anxious.
The next morning, we were lucky enough to get a lead on a mechanic who worked on Saturdays and had an opening for us. The alternator was replaced and we were on our way by 9:15 AM. We thought we would have to spend another night in Selma but as it worked out, we had only lost about an hour of travel time.
I finally managed to start a scarf from a ball of sock yarn. I don’t like the color pooling so I am not at all sure that I will finish this. The pattern is beautiful but this yarn is really not made for anything but socks! The pattern is free on Ravelry here.
We arrived at home at 5:30 PM. After 2 weeks in the RV, my modest little house seemed enormous! Our good neighbors, Kim and Bob, invited us out to dinner since they knew we didn’t have anything in the house to eat. We spent a very nice evening with them and their two daughters and then got back to work. The sheets and blankets all had to be laundered before we could go to bed. All the food had to be removed from the RV and the freezer defrosted.
Today we will unpack the remaining items, thoroughly clean and restock the RV, and finally, take it back to its place at the storage facility. Paul promised me a steak dinner at Hoss’s tonight. Now let’s see…how long can I put off that grocery shopping!
I don’t think that anybody who takes a road trip and stops at the rest areas along the highway can appreciate the conditions that exist on the truck/trailer side of the area. While the people who arrive in cars can enjoy a leisurely stop, those of us who are in RVs must wedge ourselves in next to the tractor-trailers that occupy the other side. At certain times, these spaces are at such a premium that trucks line the roadway in and out of the rest area. Every once in a while we will see a passenger car parked in one of the long spaces and we wish that the rest area guards would shoo those folks away. The truckers let their engines idle while they are there. More often than not, we raise our blinds to be greeted by the walls of commercial trailers on both sides. The noise is deafening and the fumes are terrible. But the worst part of stopping at the rest area is the horrible stench of all the cattle trucks and horse trailers that have been there before us. The ground is black with livestock urine and oil.
A much happier situation is the stop at a Cracker Barrel or Wal-Mart. These are not always easy to access but on occasion, we’ve managed to pull our big rig into one of their parking lots. We did this yesterday on the way north and had a nice quiet lunch under a canopy of trees.
Hilton Head Island
The day didn’t start off well. Frazier must have eaten something at one of the rest areas and was throwing up after every meal. He was lethargic and finally wouldn’t eat at all. Then Paul noticed that the slide-out cables had dropped below the slide-out. The strap that held them to the underside of the body had broken. Add just enough rain to turn the sand in the campground into a black mess and you have a clear picture of what our morning was like when we departed New Smyrna Beach Campground. The campground itself is cute. It is family owned and very shady, but the miserable internet service has prompted us to pass this place by in future trips down I-95.
Once we solved the cable problem with a bungee, we packed up our sick dog and headed north. We were going to stay in a beautiful RV resort on Hilton Head Island called Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort. We managed to back into a nice site, tend to Frazier, take showers, and be ready when our friends came to pick us up at 5 PM. Our friends Karon and Bob live on the island and we try to meet them whenever we are in the area. They took us to a popular restaurant on the water called Skull Creek Boathouse. Paul and I enjoyed the first soft crabs of the season!
Happily, Frazier only had one more incident of throwing up and felt much better this morning. Unhappily, the battery light in the truck came on when we were about 2 hours from our destination, RVacation RV Park. Our truck, a 2000 Ford F-350 Diesel, has 250,000 miles on it now. We keep it scrupulously maintained but there have been more and more minor malfunctions. We are hoping that we will not have a major problem when we drive around Washington DC tomorrow. Next week it will go into the shop.
In the meantime, here in Selma, NC, the RVs are steadily rolling into the park. The forecast is for strong thunderstorms and tornado watches. This is a sandy place so the sand is already beginning to blow horizontally against the side of the RV. Paul has just gone out to get diesel and a pizza. We will see what the night has to offer…
What a great time we have had in West Palm Beach! We managed to visit all of our favorite places and then some. We spent some real quality time with my family.
Breakfast this morning was at The Sailfish Marina, Paul’s favorite place to visit. The marina has a great restaurant where you can sit on the patio and look out over the boats as they come and go. Fishermen show off their catches and little children are mesmerized by the sea life that swims in the water below the dock. Did I mention the gift shop? This is one place in Palm Beach where you can really stock up on Florida-themed trinkets. Their clothing is nice too but most of it doesn’t translate well to Southern PA!
After breakfast we had to make our semi-annual visit to the John D McArthur Beach State Park. This was our one and only opportunity to see the beach this time. Along the sand, leading to the ocean we spied the tracks of loggerhead sea turtles. They nest between the end of March and the middle of October and burrow out of their holes to the beach at night.
Tomorrow morning we will say good-bye to Vacation Inn Resort. The first leg of our drive North will take us to New Smyrna Beach where we will spend the night. Then on to Bluffton, SC where we will have dinner with some old friends.
Alas! No time for crochet! I haven’t picked up my hook once, not even on the drive down. There’s something about the warm weather that makes me want to put my projects aside for the season. I brought the yoga mat bag project and a few balls of sock yarn. I thought that I would try to learn socks so that when winter comes, I will be able to make them as gifts. But I’m just not in the mood!
Yesterday Karen picked me up early and we went to a flea market. The Florida flea markets have things that you will never see at any other flea market. There is usually a booth in one corner where you can get your eyebrows and eyeliner tattooed onto your face. Then there is the booth that offers padded bras of outrageous proportions. Or the booth where you can try on all styles and colors of wigs and hairpieces. In Florida it is all about trying to look younger.
We also visited a place that I had never heard of in the 20 years that we have been coming to Palm Beach County. The Boys Market in Delray Beach offers gourmet foods at discount prices. When you arrive, you see the rubber pylons that have been placed directly in front of the market doors. It seems that the elderly who visit the market drove their cars through the doors so often that barriers had to be erected for the safety of everyone inside.
What an array of goodies we beheld as we dodged shopping carts and other customers intent on getting a deal! Imported cheeses stacked to the ceiling, exotic chocolates, fancy cuts of meat, and all manner of specialty items overwhelmed our senses. The aromas were simply intoxicating! If you have ever been in a Wegman’s you will have a sense of what I mean, but this place was much smaller, more intimate, and not as professionally designed. But the love of good food was evident in every nook and cranny.
The Girls Market, a bit further down the street, features a strawberry field where you can pick your own fruit. I don’t know the history of these two markets but I imagine that several bothers and sisters went into the food business together resulting in the aptly named “Boys” and “Girls” markets.
Bright and early this morning we were off to breakfast at TooJay’s, a favorite destination in Palm Beach Gardens. Our plan was to drive back down to Delray Beach to the Wakodahatchee Wetlands wildlife preserve. I have blogged about this wonderful natural area before because we always make a point of visiting whenever we are here in Palm Beach County. This time we did not get a close-up photo of an alligator but we did see one from a distance. But we got a real treat when a mother Anhinga fed her chick on the deck railing right in front of us! The chick actually puts his head into the mother’s throat to get his food.
The wetlands here recycle waste water and provide a safe area for waterfowl and wildlife of many descriptions. Many of the Anhinga and Moorhens were nesting. Another avid birder pointed out a nest with tiny green eggs. But the larger birds were camped out in the bare branches of straggly trees.
I’m not sure what tomorrow has in store for us. Paul is meeting with the manager of VIR to get some ideas on how we can improve our landscaping here. He has also been beset with RV repairs, mostly minor things but still necessary. We haven’t spent even a minute sitting out on the patio or walking in the park!
We crossed into Florida without incident and the drive south was uneventful. Finally Blue Heron Blvd appeared on the overhead sign outside our bug-bespattered windshield and at 1:30 the huge slides and funnels of the Rapids Water Park loomed into view. Years ago this attraction was tiny. It consisted of a few slides and a small river. Over time, the owners of this park have expanded aggressively. It is now one of the most popular venues in Palm Beach County.
Why do I mention this you ask? Why is 62-year-old grandmother so interested in water sports? Well, the park just happens to be directly in front of Vacation Inn Resort where we purchased our RV lot in 2006. At the time, we were traveling around the country full-time but we decided to spend the coldest months in Florida near my parents and sister and brother-in-law. The building boom was in full swing and all the campgrounds where we would have stayed were quickly gobbled up for development. We had been staying in a very mediocre park connected to Lion Country Safari which was a 40 minute drive from my relatives. The roars of the lions and the screeches of the chimps woke us each morning. The setting was sublime but the park was not. So we decided to buy ourselves a place to ensure that we would always have a decent site on which to stay when we were in Florida.
We spent several winters here and since the water park is closed during those months it was the perfect solution to our problem. We really enjoyed the Florida lifestyle and made the most of it by visiting the wonderful nature preserves and turtle rescue associations that I have written about in previous posts. It was nice to be near my parents who were still in their home at that time. Our resort also features many amenities and social activities. When we decided to buy a house in PA and Paul went back to work, we have only been back to Vacation Inn Resort a few times.
So it was with much anticipation that we drove through the gates and considered ourselves “home”. The park was still crowded with snowbirds even though, in years past, most of them went home in March. The water park is now open but our lot is far enough away that we don’t hear the noise. It’s really nice to be here again!
My sister Karen hosted a wonderful dinner at her home featuring rice and curry and a lovely ice cream roll for dessert. We had a great time laughing and catching up with my parents and Karen and Ron. But Paul and I were very tired after days of travel and we needed to finish getting set up in the RV so we called it an early night. Back home we turned off the air-conditioner and let the night breezes waft through the RV, What a great way to sleep!