September 2010 – Eastern Shore Maryland / Shenandoah Valley Virginia

We hit the road around 5:00 am, stopping by a nearby bakery for what turned out to be not-so-fresh pastries. Strangely disappointed yet energized, we hopped on the Interstate and started the long trek south.

In Delaware I turned onto state route 9 instead of continuing along the Interstate; this afforded us a relaxing trip through the marshland. As we drove, we would often find folks out with crab nets near the bridges we passed. The only other traffic to speak of for well over an hour were a few cars, motorcycles, and bicycles. In fact, traffic would remain quite manageable for all of this first day.

We arrived at out destination, Pocomoke River State Park – Shad Landing, early in the afternoon, and set up our campsite.

Sunday brought heavy rains, but we had taken precautions setting up camp so the rain was not a major concern. By midday, we decided to head into Salisbury to find “whatever.” We followed the first set of signs we saw, those being for the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art. Not knowing what to expect, we found a museum dedicated both to the preservation of wildfowl decoys as well as a showcase of some truly outstanding carvings. Here are a couple of examples:

We also learned what a "punt gun" is - something akin to a cannon for the hunting of waterfowl.

Monday brought great weather and the desire very little. We headed over to Assateague, browsed a bit in the new visitor's center, and then spent the rest of the day soaking in the sun on the beach.

Tuesday was a day for exploration, so up along US-50 to the western shore of the Eastern Shore. A visit to Spocott Windmill, Trinity Church (detail picture below), and the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where a cricket hitched a ride on the hood of my car for several miles.

Wednesday was originally going to be a travel day, but we decided to stick around for another day and instead headed to the beach again. We stopped at a crab shack in Ocean City for a meal that was memorable only for being poor quality and high priced. Bike Week was getting off to a start this day as well.

Thursday became our one-day travel day from Maryland to the Afton Mountain B&B in Afton, VA. We headed across US-50, US-301, and through Fredericksburg, Wildneress Battlefield, and on state routes into Charlottesville. It was a very long drive through some very heavy traffic and many miles of indistinguishable shopping plazas. Fortunately, we were headed west; traffic in the eastern direction had an additional strain added in the form of bikers headed to Ocean City for the aforementioned Bike Week.

That evening we stopped at a brew pub close to the bed and breakfast – Blue Mountain Brewery – which had great beer and an excellent pizza.

Friday we took to the local two-lanes and meandered a bit through the country and ate at a couple of restaurants we're fond of from past visits. During the afternoon, we hit up three of the local wineries, ultimately spending a fair sum of money to take home a few bottles from each location.

Saturday it was time to head home, so we traveled the length of Skyline Drive, which took about 4 ½ hours with several stops for views and lunch. There is quite a bit of construction on the route, meaning several viewpoints are currently closed for repair (including the one right near the tunnel.) From there, US-340 on to US-222 and then back onto the Interstate. Unfortunately, we did not have time to stop at Harpers Ferry, so that will have to remain unexplored by us until another trip.

Everything was going along fine until we entered New Jersey on I-78, where traffic was at a standstill on our side, and, more peculiarly, was absent from the westbound lanes. Soon enough, we found out why: the eastbound lanes were shutdown to allow Medivac to land on the highway due to an accident. The helicopter came in for a landing and from the force of the rotors it felt as though it was landing on the roof of the car.

After a short time, eastbound traffic was moving again, although with one less lane in the area near the accident. My reaction to this event was to be even more cautious than normal, something that clearly was not the agenda of several nearby motorists. But I could not control their actions, only mine, something that serves well when being dumped into the far left lane of I-287 from I-78 and then trying to get into a travel lane (it took about 4 miles.)

The rest of the trip was without incident, and we arrived home safe and secure around 2:00am, having covered just shy of 2000 miles on our trip. This was perhaps the most sedentary trip I've taken in quite some time, without any real physical exertion for the entire week. Needless to say, the net result is one of extreme relaxation...which makes it very difficult to get back to working!