Thursday, May 10, 2007

EAST COAST SWING - Part 2

April 22, 2007

Brian and I left D.C. in the early afternoon on the 22st of April and headed NE into Maryland – going through (or should I say around) Baltimore. One of the first things I noticed while traveling in the car was how “flat” the landscape appeared. Without the coast range or the Cascades, I was unable to tell exactly what direction we were going in!

Another interesting thing about the east coast is the toll fees on the highway. The first toll we encountered was in Baltimore at the Ft. McHenry Tunnel for $2.00.
As we drove north further into Maryland, the next toll we encountered ($5.00) was upon crossing the Susquehanna River Bridge named in honor of Millard E. Tydings, a longtime Congressman and Senator who died in 1961. The bridge, a multi-span girder connecting Havre de Grace, MD with Perryville, MD has to be the SCARIEST bridge I have ever crossed in my life! I made Brian drive in the center lane as I was fairly certain we would go over the edge (although no one ever has according to Brian’s brother, Kerry)!

Just north of the bridge you drive past Aberdeen, MD home to Brian’s hero, Cal Ripkin Jr. who retired from baseball in 2001 and paid for a new stadium in his home town (it’s sits right off the highway).

Another interesting fact about the Delaware Turnpike - On November 15, 1963, just one week before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy opened the 49 miles of the Northeast Expressway and the 11 miles of the Delaware Turnpike at the Delaware-Maryland border. The border is more popularly known as the Mason-Dixon Line.

As we crossed into Delaware (about 2 hours after we left D.C.), we handed over another $3.00 toll fee – making our toll total for the day $10.00. Next stop – Newark (sounds like New Ark), Brian’s hometown.

Meeting Brian’s Mom, Ann was so special. She cooked us a homemade “Sunday” spaghetti dinner along with salad and fresh bread that was YUMM-O! As the sun set, we made our way north to Wilmington, DE to Brian’s brother Kerry and sister-in-law, Julie’s home where we watched Sunday night baseball (it’s starts at 8PM on the east coast) and talked about our D.C. adventures.

April 23rd

Our first full day in Delaware started with an eating adventure – scrapple. Scrapple is a savory (whatever) mush in which cornmeal and flour, often buckwheat flour, are simmered with pork scraps and trimmings, and then formed into a loaf. Small scraps of meat left over from butchering, too small to be used or sold elsewhere, were made into scrapple to avoid waste, a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.

We picked up Brian’s Mom and headed to the small town of Stanton, DE – home of Mary’s Café for my first (and last) taste of scrapple. When it arrived on my plate, it appeared gray in color - a rectangular crispy slice. Thank goodness for the fried potatoes and eggs, because the “gamey” taste of the scrapple (it’s often spiced with sage and thyme) was not at all good (and I eat everything). I joked to Ann that I would be back to Delaware, but not for the scrapple.

The most poignant part of our day was a visit to Brian’s Dad – Allen K. Lee’s gravesite. Al died in January 2007 after a long illness. He was laid to rest in a beautiful military cemetery outside of Newark – surrounded by poplar trees and lush farmland.

We ran various errands in Newark and took a quick loop around the downtown and University of Delaware area before returning to Kerry and Julie’s in the afternoon for an evening BBQ. Day three of our vacation in the books.
Stace