Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Road Trip Highlights

As I mentioned yesterday, we spent some time around the 4th visiting family in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. We drove from Charlotte so that we could pick up a bunch of our wedding gifts (many of them have been sitting in our respective parents' houses since last July and before!) Here are the highlights of our trip:

1. Steamed crabs at L.P. Steamers in Baltimore:

There are two main driving routes from Charlotte to Philly. One includes I-95, and the other totally avoids that mess. I advocated for taking the trafficky-I-95 route on the way to Philadelphia, because this girl wanted some crabs in Baltimore! What a loving husband I have to go along with that plan! I searched Yelp for crab restaurants in Baltimore and quickly found L.P. Steamers. It was ah-mazing! We sat on the roof top deck and enjoyed a half dozen large crabs literally crusted with Old Bay seasoning, corn, and curly fries. Totally worth the longer, more traveled route. Although, crabs are not exactly road trip food...I spent the distance between Baltimore and Philly trying to clean all the Old Bay out from under my nails.

2. Walks in the woods with my dad:
Full disclosure...this picture is from last July. I left my phone at home when we went on our walks this time around.
Philadelphia, while it is the 5th most populated city in the country, is home to one of the largest urban park systems in the world. And when I say park I don't mean a field, basketball court, and picnic pavilion. We're talking wilderness. My parents live about 5-10 minutes from many of the park's entrances, and my dad knows the trails like the back of his hand. A few mornings (when it wasn't beastly hot by 8:00am) we would take walks to explore different areas of the park. The photo above is from a frog pond. You'd never know that you're less than a tenth of a mile from the road/city when sitting on the bench by this frog-infested pond.

3. Lazy dinners in my parents' backyard. No pictures for this one, just great food and relaxing until the fireflies came out.

4. Weekend in NYC - in the middle of our trip, A. had a bachelor party to attend in NYC. I decided to tag along and stay with one of my best friends from college, who lives in Brooklyn. We don't get to see each other nearly enough, and I just love that every time we get together it feels like no time has passed at all. We had a great time visiting and exploring. I also got to see a great friend from high school who lives in the same neighborhood, so it was a great weekend!

5. Watching JAWS on board the USS Intrepid:

This was awesome. When my friend texted me asking if I would like to go to a free(!!) outdoor (!!!) viewing of JAWS, I was in. When she told me it was on the flight deck of the USS Intrepid, I was beyond excited. We walked from Penn Station to the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum and got in line. We grabbed a hot dog at a cart vendor first though, which was delicious (I can't remember the last time I had a hot dog.) We waited about an hour and 15 minutes, and it threatened rain a few times, but we finally got to board and make our way up to the flight deck. Lots of people were smarter than us and brought blankets and delicious looking picnics, but our hot dog and vending machine sourced dinner worked out for us just fine. Plus, it meant we were hungry for late night pizza when we got back to Brooklyn. Apparently they also show Top Gun every summer on the Intrepid, I so wish I was going to be around for that! Aviator sunglasses everywhere, I bet!

6. Dinner at the Knife & Fork Inn in Atlantic City:
The Knife & Fork Inn has been an Atlantic City establishment since 1912. My in-laws have had a beach house about 15 minutes from Atlantic City since 2005, but this was the first time we made it to the K&F. Thanks, Yelp! We've driven by many times, but to be honest, the outside of the building sort of turned me off. It looks old and out of place - almost like a German house. How wrong was I!?! The inside of the building got a major overhaul in the early 2000s after it was purchased by a local restauranteur.  The menu boasts steaks and seafood, and potent drinks. The restaurant, with it's 101 year run, is steeped in history. It started as a men's drinking and dining club, was raided during Prohibition, and was a favorite with Frank Sinatra, local politicians, and other celebrities in the 1940s. In addition to the long history, the food is great! I ordered the Knife & Fork Inn Dinner, which includes Crab & Corn Chowder, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad, Filet Mignon and Lobster Thermidor. It was all delicious! Of course we had to get dessert, too. We got a chocolate and banana burrito with caramel sauce and vanilla gelato. It was an awesome dinner! Can't believe we passed it by so many times.

7. Accidentally stumbling upon the leftover sand sculptures from the World Championship Sand Sculpting Competition:

8. Climbing the Absecon Lighthouse:

Thankfully there are bars at the top, it was seriously windy! I'll spare you the only pictures of us because we look too windblown for the public to see.

Another landmark we hadn't checked out during our summers at the shore. A sunburn for A. on our first beach day meant we really didn't need another day soaking up the sun, so we decided to go check out this lighthouse in Atlantic City. When you get to the top of the 228 steps, a volunteer "lightkeeper" hands you a "I SAW THE LIGHT!" card with the date.

9. Playing in (or near) the ocean with our nephew. The water was freezing (about 60 degrees) thanks to all the rain in June.

10. Fireworks on the beach:
Pictures just don't do fireworks justice. In the lower right you can see the super obnoxious lighted kite that some clown (not actually) decided to fly during the whole fireworks show.

From our spot on the beach we were able to see the fireworks displays of three towns - Ocean City, Margate, and Atlantic all of the random fireworks that people on the beach were setting off on their own. The Atlantic City display was definitely the most impressive - they set off over 10,000 fireworks from 4 locations along the boardwalk.

Despite all this fun, it is definitely nice to be "home." We're STILL unpacking boxes and getting things settled. My parents are coming in a week and there's a good chance my in-laws will be in town in August, so we've got to get this place set up!

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