Travel Journal: East Coast Road Trip Part 2

IMG_3389When I left you, we were on the way from Virginia into North Carolina. I thought it would be a good place to pause since it was very much the transition from North to South. Know how I know? WAFFLE HOUSE!

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I seriously love Waffle House. The hashbrowns! The grits! The waffles! Amy and Molly had never been there, so I insisted we stop at the first one we came across. It wasn’t our last.

IMG_3400As I mentioned previously, we plowed through North Carolina in an effort to have more time in Charleston and Savannah. I don’t have much to report except that 1) We saw a lot of rainbows. A lot. 2) Corn nuggets are the best invention ever. An order came with my meal at some restaurant on the side of a country highway and we ended up ordering more for dessert because we liked them so much! Imagine really good (not canned) creamed corn, mixed with cheese, somehow battered and deep fried. Mmmm…

IMG_3447Anyway, back to the trip: we’re finally in South Carolina! We got the day started off right with chicken and waffles at the Early Bird Diner. The place is tiny and there was a wait, but it was so worth it! Molly loves the south and wanted to go on a plantation tour, so after breakfast we trucked out to Magnolia Plantation in Charleston.

IMG_3465To be honest, a big part of me felt like it was an insane thing to take a tour of… the plantation is not a tribute or a memorial to the people whose lives and freedom were taken there and at thousands of other places like it, it was simply billed as a pretty, historic property. And it was beautiful, but it was also hot and buggy and at one point so humid it was miserable to walk around for the hour or two we were there. It’s hard not to consider the misery it must have been to do physical labor there, day in and day out.

IMG_3584Anyway, the plan was to end the afternoon with a swamp tour, but as we got to that area, the humidity I mentioned turned into an all-out downpour. We bucked up and made the attempt—it felt kind of good after the intense heat of the day actually—but only lasted 15 minutes or so, as the rain kept pounding down harder and harder.

After a classic in-car wardrobe change, we headed in to town. We didn’t really do anything but walk around and take it all in… I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how beautiful old Southern towns are. I love the cobblestone streets and tree roots that have grown around the sidewalk, old doors and awesome architecture.

IMG_3524 IMG_3526We spent that night in Beaufort, a teeny little town with cute restaurants and bars… including a tucked-away pub called Hemingway’s whose regulars showed us a great time.

The next morning we drove into Savannah. After grabbing some lunch and checking out the shops in the touristy historic district, we took a carriage tour of the city, which sounds cheesy, but it really was a great way to see a lot of the town and learn a lot in a short period of time.

IMG_3585IMG_3596The shop above was the original Ford showroom—how cool is that? After the tour we did even more shopping (such a great city for reasonably priced, super cute clothes!), and then we decided we wanted to see the ocean one more time before the end of our trip, so we headed out to Tybee Island.

IMG_3624The next morning, we headed to the airport and our trip was officially history. We drove a little more, spent a little more and fought a little more than anticipated, but it was so worth having an adventure with my sisters. Hope you’re inspired to plan (and not plan) a road trip of your own!

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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!

On the Road, Again

Creative types have a reputation—deserved or not—of being flighty. I’d like to introduce you to a couple artists who have spent the past year on the road… but have learned more about the commitment of seeing a project through than anything else.

Madison-based photography studio Paper Antler is about halfway through Fifty Nifty, their effort to shoot a wedding in every state to raise money for She Dances, a non-profit organization that provides holistic restoration for young girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. The Fifty Nifty donation will support a safe home in Honduras for one year. They still have dates available… book your wedding, let them stay at your place or donate directly today!

Power and Light Press, a letterpress studio based in Portland, has spent over 10 months cruising through 47 U.S. states and a few Canadian provinces in The Type Truck—a 1982 Chevy step van equipped with built-in type cabinets and workspace, a mid 20th century sign press and an 1873 Golding Official No. 3 tabletop platen press. The goal was to spread awareness of letterpress, renew interest in the artform and have a great time doing it! Mission accomplished.