Friday, November 4, 2016
My husband's brother Bart (army chaplain) and family (wife Amy and son Ethan) are now stationed in Aberdeen Proving Ground just north of Baltimore, MD. I used this to convince my husband to go on a 15 day road trip to New England area to visit friends and family. I booked all our hotels through Expedia -- criteria other than cost/comfort included workout rooms, location near interstate &/or friend/family, and laundry. The trip turned out to be 3512 miles of driving in my Volvo XC60. In a few places friends or family drove us around their town -- we were ever so grateful for those breaks to just be driven. Yes, the trip included a few snafus but it was way more good than bad. We left a jacket at one hotel (they are mailing it to us), accidentally threw away Brett's Bubba Travel mug, and had to buy two new tires while in Boston area.
Day #1 was our longest drive as we drove from Little Rock, AR to Knoxville, TN (11 hours). The best thing about the Travelodge was that is is a short walk to a gem of a restaurant -- Aubrey's. I saw this photo in Aubrey's. I decided it was Brett and I as we started our trip (see the smiles).
Day #2 we drove to Lovettsville, VA and spent the night at my first Bed & Breakfast which (probably unfairly) turned me off B&B's. In fairness, it was very quiet and the couple running the place were nice but I think they have much to learn about the business. On this stop had dinner at the Coachhouse Grill n' Bar before meeting up with blog friend Dr. Tara Scheck and her family at a Ghost Walk in Harpers Ferry, WV.. I regret that we didn't manage to get any photos of our meeting, but it was fun to meet them. What a great family!
Day #3 we went back to Harpers Ferry to see it in the daylight before going to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in nearby Fredrick, MD. From there we drove the short distance to the Holiday Inn Express in Edgewood, MD. This nice hotel would be our home for all the time we spend in the Aberdeen/Baltimore area (did laundry at this hotel). Bart, Amy, and Ethan picked us up and took us to dinner at Tidewater Grille for some great crab cakes. This is the site where we meet Tara and her family the evening before for the Ghost Walk.
Day #4 my husband Brett spent time with Amy and Ethan (Bart had to leave town for a few days) while I drove into Baltimore to meet my friend Marla who works at John Hopkins's Hospital in the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man department. Marla and I meet when we were both general surgery residents in West Virginia. She went on to get a degree in public health and had a gift for languages (knows French, Spanish, German, and Italian in addition to English). She gave me a short tour of John Hopkins and took me to lunch at Atwater's Cafe (good food/drink). I later meet up with Brett, Ethan, and Amy for a short walk and then dinner at Island Spice (Jamaican cuisine restaurant near our hotel, very good). Marla and I in a self with John Hopkin's bust.
Day #5 Brett and I walked around the nearby town of Bel Air, MD and ate our leftovers from the Jamaican cafe for lunch before Amy and Ethan picked us up and took us down to Ft. McHenry which is a really nice place! Great conversation while we drove and toured the Fort.
Day #6 we drove to Hamden, CT. The afternoon was spent driving by the Eli Whitney Museum (a bit disappointed as it turned out to be geared more towards classroom activities for children) and wandering around an antique shore. We meet up with blog friend Neha (@purpleque), her husband, and daughter for dinner at Tibetan Kitchen (good food).
Day #7 we drove to Waltham/Boston, MA via Springfield, MA. In Springfield we visited the Springfield Museums -- only managed to go through the Dr. Seuss sculptor garden and the history museum. At the history museum we meet a gentleman named Carl who volunteered at the Springfield Armory and walked us up there giving us a history lesson en route of the town. Before leaving Springfield my husband checked the tires and found some odd "bubbling" or "cobbling" effect of the rubber on the front two tires. We decided on the drive that we would replace those two either that afternoon (as it turned out) or the next morning. The tire drama shortened the time we got to spend with our nephew Dallas and his girlfriend Gwen. They drove us to our met up with blog friend Paul Levy (did you know he once worked in Little Rock, AR). Paul treated us to dinner at Legal Seafood. Wonderful conversation and dinner. Enjoyed the evening immensely. The first photo here is of me sitting in one of the Dr. Seuss sculptures.
Paul and I at Legal Seafood
Day #8 we drove to Nashua, NH to see my longtime friend and college roommate Kay. We had a nice walk in the Mine Falls Park before lunching at the Nashua Gardens (great sandwiches). Then came the long drive to Bethlehem, PA to spend the night at the home of another college friend Ben and his family. We arrived late, around 9 pm, but Ben and his wife Vicki welcomed us and visited with us before showing us to our beds. Kay and I in the photo. Loved seeing her.
Day #9 we spent visiting with Ben and Vicki. Nice walk with Ben, his dog Paddy, and a neighbor dog Koa. Vicki make us a nice lunch of butternut squash soup (perfect on the cold damp day). They then gave us a tour of their historic town of Bethlehem, PA. We were back on the road by mid-afternoon to head back to Edgewood Holiday Inn Express. These two could run a B&B. They are gracious hosts.
Day #10 was spent with Bart, Amy, and Ethan -- church on base including after-service donut fellowship where we meet several of their friends, fire starting class at the Anita C. Leight Esturary Center, Ethan trying to show us how to play video games (Brett and I failed miserably), and dinner at Tidewater Grill (as good the second time).
Day #11 was spent with Bart, Amy, and Ethan. Went downtown to the Maryland Historic Society Museum only to find they were closed on Monday. Walked to nearby Ceremony Coffee shop (good coffee) before heading back to their home to play Uno (Ethan didn't have the advantage with this old school card game) and to just talk before having dinner at Dickie's BBQ.
Day #12 we headed to Alexandria, VA to meet up with my old college physics professor Dr. Anderson who dropped us off downtown DC so we could see some of the monuments and museums. There is no way to see them all in half a day. We did see the Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the WW II Memorial, the Washington Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the FDR Memorial up close and drove by the MLK Memorial. We saw some of the exhibits in the Air & Space Museum and the History Museum. We enjoyed visiting with Dr. Anderson and his wife. We had a lovely meal with them at Atlantis.
Day #13 we began our trip home by going through Herndon, VA, then to Uppersville, VA where we stopped for lunch at Hunter's Head Tavern (great place/food) and were waited on by a lovely waitress who's grandmother is from Russellville, AR. We stopped in on a couple of antique shops that day before stopping in Christianburg, VA for the night where we were given a room upgrade.
Day #14 we drove to Franklin, TN. My husband loves Civil War history (so enjoyed Harpers Ferry, Springfield Armory, and this place). We walked the left-flank battlefield, saw the cemetery, and walked downtown. Dinner at Puckett's was great including the live music.
Day #15 we drove home. That evening we went to my colleague/fellow blogger's wedding reception (congratulations and best wishes to her and her new husband).