After experiencing hellacious traffic getting through Atlanta, we had a quiet night’s stay in Norcross, GA (The Peach State). The Tour continued through South Carolina (Home of The Gamecocks) on our way to Durham, NC (The Tarheel State), where we stopped to see our daughter Sara and meet the newest member of the family.
Say “hi” to our new grand dog, rescued Lady Jane, LJ for short, who Sara (right) recently adopted.
Sara made us THE BEST EVER slow cooked pork loin dinner. Her recipe was from a web site called Gonna Want Seconds. Bart wanted (and had) thirds. OMG. Here’s a link to the recipe. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE: http://bit.ly/2gufusr
The next morning we made tracks through VA (Virginia is for Lovers), the Nation’s Capital and on to the small town of Aberdeen, MD (Maryland is for Crabs). The town is home to baseball legends Billy and Cal Ripken, and former resident and musician Frank Zappa.
Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the record for consecutive games played (2,632), surpassing Lou Gehrig’s 56 year run of 2,130 that many believed was unbreakable.
Aberdeen (pop. 15,130) is also notable for the presence of the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, where Bart’s career Army Uncle Joe Harrington was stationed for several years. It’s also where ballistics tests were carried out on the bullets that killed President Kennedy.
Our hotel for the night was located in a most unusual – and cool – location…attached to Ripken Stadium. The Stadium is home to the Aberdeen IronBirds, Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The team has sold out every home game since it began playing there in 2002.
This is the view from our room.
After checking into our hotel, we dropped our luggage and then immediately headed out again to explore the nearby town of Havre De Grace, MD (pop. 12,952). Positioned on the Susquehanna River and at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, the city was named one of America’s 20 best small towns to visit in 2014 by Smithsonian Magazine. If Smithsonian says to visit…we go.
There is so much history here, ranging from the British invasion during the War of 1812 to the town’s role as a primary stop for escaped slaves on the Eastern Route of the Underground Railroad.
Walking along the waterfront boardwalk (or as they call it…a promenade) we passed what was once the stately brick Bayou Hotel, now condos.
Continuing on, we passed the Decoy Museum, (duck hunting and artisan carved decoys are still big business here) and the historic Concord Point Lighthouse, which marks the mouth of the river.
The Chesapeake Bay views along the Promenade Walkway were spectacular. It was dusk, there was nearly a full moon and this kayaker had “the joint” all to himself. Very serene.
What a great spot to sit and take a load off.
We can’t think of single boat lover who wouldn’t want this gig – Havre de Grace Harbor Patrol.
Driving out of the waterfront downtown area, we passed gracious inns decked out for Christmas, and restaurants and shops overlooking the bay. Havre De Grace is a very cool, old-fashioned town where the surrounding river and bay draw folks to enjoy coastal living.
The Vandiver Inn, a charming Victorian-style B&B near the banks of the Susquehanna River.
After our waterfront walk in the brisk (okay cold) air, we definitely worked up an appetite and knew just the place to go…Georgia’s Carry Out, a local mom and pop Greek restaurant we read about.
The minute we walked in we knew we made a great choice. Nick, who owns the restaurant with his beautiful wife, greeted us, asked us if we’ve had his home made soups, and when we said no, he immediately brought each of us 3 samples of the best soup ever.
A couple at a neighboring table, Tim and Sandy Brooks, really helped us decide what to order. Thanks for the great suggestions.
This is a small Greek Salad which could have fed at least 3 people. The stuffed grape leaf melted in our mouths. The feta cheese was fresh and creamy, and all the veggies were perfectly ripe and crisp. But wait, there’s more.
Owner Nick ladled our “sample” soups. Bart loved the homemade pea soup so much he ordered what they call “a bowl”. Had to be a quart of that liquid deliciousness in his “trough”.
Rorie got a gyro (pronounced “YEE-roh” Nick insisted). As the old saying goes, “It takes two hands to handle a whopper”. This was a whopper and it was delicious!
Tim and Sandy told us about another small town eatery they thought we should take a look at, even if only for the kitschy decorations. It’s called Mamie’s Cafe (http://www.mamiescafewithlove.com). This is what ABC News had to say about the place: “The hand written sign spells out Mamie’s…and underneath you see, ‘With Love.’ When you go inside, its like your family album came to life…While waiting for your pot roast, shrimp salad, or free desert, take a look up on the wall and you will see a history of East Baltimore.” Did someone say free dessert?
Mamie’s walls are covered with old pots, pans, washboards and nostalgic photos from years gone by…
Full beyond words, we headed back to our place of rest for what we hoped would be a great night’s sleep.
This was the reading on our odometer when we left Georgia. We’ve put quite a few miles on our buggy, under our belts and on our buns, with 2,000 more to go.
The next stop on the second to last leg of our coast-to-coast, round trip Tour: Connecticut. Time to bundle up.