Travel Journal: East Coast Road Trip Part 1

IMG_3275Since I’ve been feeling awfully homesick lately, I thought I’d share an awesome trip I took with my sisters (the hooligans pictured above) last summer. Don’t think of it as a guide—simply inspiration for a trip of your own! The most fun parts were the spontaneous stops we made along the way.

So we had decided to do a road trip down the East Coast as a last blast before I moved to Bermuda and Molly (the youngest, on the left above) moved to Atlanta. The idea had been bopping around my brain for years—mostly because I wanted to eat all the awesome food in the region (hello, crabs and cheese steaks and barbeque and soul food!). Have I mentioned I usually plan my vacations around culinary adventures?

Anyway, we started just north of New York City for the sole reason that we could get a cheap direct flight early in the morning. We hopped in our rental car and navigated our way to Staten Island. That’s right people—I drove through NYC on a late weekday afternoon. It wasn’t even that bad! Amy wanted to take the ferry back in to the City so we could get a good look at the Statue of Liberty. We got a pretty great view of the skyline as well!

IMG_3284After a couple hours of walking around, we hopped back on the ferry, back in our car and headed to Philadelphia for the night.

First thing in the morning (ok, it was like 11), we hit up Reading Terminal Market for coffee and ended up buying lots of locally made snacks. Then it was time for lunch and my first must-do: Getting famous cheese steaks from both Gino’s and Pat’s to see which was better. As a group we were split, but I would like to mix them together (one had better bread, one better meat… we obviously got cheese wiz on both) for the best cheese steak sandwich known to man! Maybe in my next life…

IMG_3301We took our time moseying back to our car so we could explore some of the neighborhoods. We ended up wandering through several blocks of Asian markets where one of the proprietors saw us commenting on the lychee and offered a taste test. Also, how beautiful are these crabs?

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Speaking of beautiful, Amy had done a little research and found a cooky last stop before we left the city (her specialty). Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a house and adjacent lot that artist Isaiah Zagar began covering in mosaic tile in the late ’60s. Literally surface of the home (bathroom included) and the two-story maze outdoors is covered in shards of glass, dishware and who-knows-what-else.

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We of course made the obligatory stop in the historic part of town to see some of the most historic places in America, but didn’t stay long. After sweating all day in the hot sun, we were glad to pile back into the air conditioned car for the two-hour drive to Baltimore, just in time for dinner and then beers at what we were told is America’s oldest continuously operating tavern, The Horse you Came in On. We didn’t verify whether this was actually factual… but we had a great time anyway!

IMG_3344The next day, we decided to skip exploring much more of Baltimore in favor of spending the gorgeous day in Ocean City. The original plan had been to spend the night in Richmond, but then Amy discovered a bridge that went under the ocean, so obviously plans needed to change!

IMG_3379Ocean City was so cute—great boardwalk with trashy little beach shops (where we obviously made a matching sisters tank purchase). And on the way out we stopped at a crab shack! Finally!

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That night we stayed in the middle-of-nowhere, MD… or maybe we were in Delaware by then, I really can’t remember. The beauty of this trip is that we didn’t book anything in advance—we just found a hotel online an hour or two before we were ready to call it a night and took everything day by day.

The next morning we drove the rest of the way down Delaware and over/under the crazy bridge that leads to Virginia Beach. I didn’t take any photos because I was driving, but let me tell you… it was pretty cool. After spending much the day in Virginia Beach (which was just like Ocean City, on steroids), we put in some serious miles. We wanted to make sure we had plenty of time in Charleston and Savannah, which I’ll tell you about next Friday! Stay tuned!

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