Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Eastern Shore Adventures

After a long winter of busy schedules and bad weather, I decided a GIRLS LUNCH was long overdue!  So, I called mom, told her to grab her camera and I would pick her up early! We two girls were off on an adventure!  She had no idea, and that is what makes these treks so fun! Today’s surprise would be on Virginia’s Eastern Shore!

Our travels today would take us over the beautiful Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel! This spans across the bay for 17.6 miles, and has two tunnels, two man-made islands and one high bridge. In the 1930s a ferry operated this route delivering passenger cars and train cars across the Chesapeake Bay from Virginia's Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach. In 1964 the bridge-tunnel opened. There are two one-mile long tunnels beneath the two navigational channels in the bay and you often see huge tankers and Navy ships on the waters there. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is considered one of the seven man-made wonders of the world. And you can truly see why!

When I was young, my father was head of communications aboard the USS Boxer stationed in Norfolk. He would be out to sea for months, then mom would get the call from the ‘officer wives phone tree’ that the ship would be returning! One of my favorite memories was getting dressed up to meet the ship as it came in to port. And now, I wonder what he must have felt, being gone so long, and passing through the Bay Bridge channel turning toward home.

Once on Virginia's Eastern Shore, we were amazed at the untamed and natural surroundings - water to your left (the Bay), and the right (the Atlantic Ocean)! You are immediately greeted by a Welcome Center and we proceeded our way up the highway enjoying the views.

We were headed to the Historic Cape Charles Harbor today to The Shanty, a restaurant that made the “Top 10 Virginia Restaurants With A View” List. We twisted around the town, laughing at our GPS which was obviously sending us on a sightseeing path rather than a direct one! Finally we turned on an oyster shell parking lot with nautical decor pieces everywhere. We had arrived! Mom and I both needed seafood today! And, you can’t come to the Eastern Shore and NOT EAT seafood!

The restaurant was charming! With three walls of windows facing the Bay, their Marina and the Coast Guard Station there was plenty to view!

 I immediately spied a Fresh Shrimp Basket served with Old Bay Fries. Mom selected her favorite, a Crab Cake Sandwich with the Old Bay Fries as well! The restaurant prides itself on serving local ingredients and this food was amazing! My shrimp were big, juicy and had a great exterior crunch. Fries were lightly seasoned. Moms Crabcake was filled with lumps of crabmeat and not a lot of filler. We loved our meal! 

As we walked down their Marina’s pier, mom spied an Osprey. She is a budding photographer and loves to chase down birds to capture ‘just the right shot’! She also uses her zoom lens to identify things out of view!

 We learned that the town of Cape Charles served as the terminal for ferry service years ago. Rail barges still depart from Cape Charles, transporting railcars over the open waters to Norfolk. Trains drive down the Eastern Shores peninsula, detach, load onto the rail barges and make their way across the bay to be reattached to another engine, and continue their travels west. There were a lot of tracks- coming in, and heading straight to the bay, then stopping! Mom and I even walked across a few of them.

Neither of us had been to Cape Charles before so we took a drive around this quaint town. The road we entered was lined with small shops. Its water tower is a creative sight! I even pulled over so we could get a few good pics!

There were several blocks of older homes, definitely from an era long ago. The Cape Charles Beach hosts hundreds during the summer months, but today it was quiet and calm. On the way out of town, I spied a small flower stand and pulled in. I announced, “We each HAD TO buy one plant, so pick a pretty one”! We jumped out and made our selection, and both, of course, selected the same flower! Like mother- like daughter! We laughed.

We had tons of fun but it was time to head home. This time, as we crossed the Bay Bridge, we spied something unusual on the water making its way to the bridge. I asked mom if it was on fire. Or was it smoking. No. It was spraying water all around it as it made its way up the Bay. As we approached, mom had her camera perched, trying to get a better look. Note: Peering through a zoom lens on a bridge in a moving car is not a great idea! But, we soon were on it. Or rather, it was on us! The craft passed over as we went down through the tunnel. I pulled over after we cleared the tunnel and mom quickly took pictures! It was “31 LCAC” ! (hovercraft) Used as a landing craft by the US Navy-Little Creek. Only 91 have ever been built and at a max speed of 70 knots this thing was spraying water everywhere!

It was a great outing! A long one, but oh, so worth it! I love spending time with her, and we have such a great time out exploring the countryside and great restaurants together.
Can’t wait til the next one! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Saucy's Bar-be-que

Today’s surprise destination would take us to Old Towne Petersburg, where I  heard  The Brickhouse Run Restaurant served British/American cuisine.  So I set the cars GPS and headed north. Mom had no clue!

Once in Petersburg, we wound our way around the exits and old roads!  The Old Towne area is being revitalized and parts are simply beautiful- and some are not. We drove through both! Along our way, we noticed a cute small building (actually a refurbished shipping container) on the corner with a smoker, a stack of fire wood, and a sign for BBQ. It was adorable, and cars were parking at their curb to pick up their lunch.

We continued on, passing huge warehouses with new signs of ‘Loft’ apartments. The roads were bumpy with old cobblestone and bricks. Since we were in the area of the old train station, we also passed displays of train engines, some dating back to the early 1900’s.

We finally pulled up to The Brickhouse Run Restaurant only to find it was CLOSED on Mondays. Oh No! We just laughed. Then, at the same time we said….”HEY… feel like BBQ?”  And we turned the car around!

Soon we found the old smoker, and realized that it also had a ‘sit-down’ restaurant nearby, perfect! Mom and I went on inside, stopping once to ask a patron to please take our picture. Everyone was so nice!

 Wow, the building was decorated in industrial lighting and even the tables were made of pipes and poured concrete. Very interesting and I loved it! We enjoyed viewing the old car lift, remnants of the old Nash Rambler Car Business that once occupied this building long ago!

Jessica, our waitress, greeted us and handed our paper menus which proudly displays that Southern Living Magazine named them “The South’s Best Butt” and a varied menu of everything BBQ’d!

  I ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich, and so did mom. Over the speakers I could hear the Allman Brothers Band playing  ‘Midnight Rider’, followed by The Eagles with “Hotel California”. Nope, not our usual stopping spot.

Our meal arrived on a metal tray, topped with brown paper. Eclectic! I asked our waitress if they were ¼ bun pans and she explained that they were actually surplus surgical instrument trays. Metal- fitting with this industrial décor.  It was fun! And very different! So glad we stopped here today!

This BBQ is sweet BBQ , my favorite! And the meat – although it was listed as ‘pulled pork’ melted in my mouth! Delicious! Fries were dusted with a sweet bbq seasoning, and were crunchy. My meal was perfect! 

The restaurant certainly has a variety of customers, from soldiers (Ft Lee is nearby) to business men and women, friends visiting Old Towne Shops , to construction workers. Today, we all had one thing in common…we all LOVE BBQ!  

Next stop, Michaels, our favorite craft store!  Mom has been painting, and needed some frames. I was given a gift of an Audubon lithograph and wanted to get it framed. Mom found exactly what she needed. Me? Well, my lithograph is an odd size and so it was harder to locate one. I did get a quote on having a frame made, then decided promptly that hubbie might be able to create one for me in his workshop!  We stopped by the fall décor and Halloween items and shopped a bit! Such fun! 

We had eaten, we shopped, and now it was time to head home. Both of us still full from BBQ, but there is always room for ice cream! I stopped at Wendys for Frostys….the cups were so small (but honestly all I needed!)  I laughed and said it looked like an ice cream SHOT glass. Mom upended her cup! I took a  photo and we laughed!
(No she didn’t down it! No brain freezes today!)  

Great food and service at Saucy's in Old Towne Petersburg, fun shopping at the craft store with mom, and finished the day with a ‘shot’ of ice cream, the day was simply PERFECT 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Egg Bistro Adventure

I decided today’s ‘Lunch Adventure’ would take us to northern Suffolk, (aka Harbor View) so I asked mom to meet me along the route. As she stepped from her car I noticed that she was wearing…an orange top and white pants! Oh My Gosh, we did it AGAIN!!! I had on almost the same ensemble!  This is getting crazy! It was certainly going to be a ‘peachy’ day today!

We met earlier than usual today and I was craving ‘brunch’! The Egg Bistro at Harbor View offers a great one! So, she jumped into my car and the two of us headed in that direction!

The Bistro offers breakfast items as well as lunch and dinner fare. Today, I was interested in one thing, breakfast! Oh… make that two things…breakfast AND a mimosa! So naughty! But when you treat yourself out, shouldn’t you have fun? (And, mimosas are so fun!) Mom had ‘fun’ too, hers was strawberry!  I ordered the mango one! So good!

Scanning over the menu, I spied  ‘cronuts’ , and being a baker (and never having one before) I decided I would try them along with a hearty breakfast. Oh My God! They are amazing.  They remind me of French toast, flaky light interior, with a crunchy exterior, dusted in cinnamon and drizzled with honey. 

Along with my cronuts, I ordered traditional eggs, bacon, and hash browns! Mom tried a creative omelet of Havarti cheese, peppers and onions with a side of hash browns. She couldn’t finish it all! But, she DID manage to finish her mimosa! 

One of my mother’s many hobbies is Quilting, and she is amazing at it! She has dozens and dozens of them completed. But lately, it is proving more difficult for her to sit at her sewing machine for hours at a time, and even to just hand sew them. So she stopped quilting. Way back in the 70s, she created one by piecing together the history of hers and dads life story on to a quilt. Each square depicted their journey through marriage, each place they had lived, and where each child was born.  

Mom felt sure that with four children, there might be a scuffle to claim that quilt after she was gone! (I felt certain I could get my hands on it faster than the other three kids so I never worried about it!) But, she decided she would replicate that quilt so each of us could have one. Today’s side stop would be a cute quilt shop called Bellas. I helped her select the fabric to use on her project. The store has a sea of specialized fabrics and rows of thread! I can see why quilters love this store! There is even an adjoining room with machines stitching away!   

Fabric in hand we headed back to her car. Our journey continued, and we laughed and talked about sewing, and projects. Then… I realized that we were near a cute donut shop called O’Doodle Doo’s.

Now, we definitely DID NOT need any more to eat, but this stop wasn’t for us. This stop was for our fellas that we left at home today! I picked out a few for my husband. But when I turned around, mom had selected a dozen! I asked her WHY she needed a full dozen and she told me she “was going to make the men at the apartment complex happy”. Uh mom, you might want to re-word that!  She laughed and said, “ Oh dear, I meant…I want to visit the guys, and give them one.” She tried ‘rewording’ her sentence over and over, but it simply got worse! The clerk and I were in stitches! 
 There simply was NO WAY she was going to be able to fix this!

So we bought the donuts and I told her “Under NO circumstance, do I want to know what you do with those donuts!” 

It is great to laugh! It is even better, when you get to do it over and over again!

I love being silly with you, mom!