As is obvious by now, we made it home on Monday, driving through 8 hours (the trip should have taken 6) of rain, sometimes torrential. My husband is not a good driver in bad weather, so I drove the bulk of the way home, and got in well after dark on Monday night.
But I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to mention a few other things about our trip that don’t warrant their own entry, but that are definitely worth remembering.
On Friday night, after our dinner at Good ‘n Plenty we stayed in a carriage house at The Osceola Mill House, which was very charming and quite rustic. Although a bit uncomfortable due to our size (the stairs were very steep, the bed was a full, etc), it had a lovely view, a nice little kitchen (I’d come here again if I were staying longer), the location was right near where we wanted to be, and the breakfast in the morning was awesome! (especially the Fruit Soup, which I plan to find a recipe for and make this weekend).
We spent early Saturday making our rounds in the Intercourse area, stopping here and there – Paul got some delicious homemade root beer and fudge from an Amish roadside stand, and in addition to our trips to Stoltzfus Meats and Kitchen Kettle Village, we also stopped at the Intercourse Pretzel Factory where we got hard and soft brown buttered pretzels, and the Bird-in-Hand Farmer’s Market, which was so crowded that I only bought some apple cider and got myself a funnel cake. It kind of makes up for missing The Ohio State Fair this year, because I love fair food, and funnel cake is about as fair food as you can get.
We had planned to eat lunch in the area, but we were so full from the scrapple, egg and cheese wrap, breakfast at the bed and breakfast, and funnel cake that we decided to head right to New Jersey without stopping to another smorgasbord first.
The trip to New Jersey was pretty uneventful. The navigation system in my car took us on a route that avoided tolls that I was unfamiliar with, and we got stuck in some pretty gnarly traffic on the Surekill Expressway that we would have run into either way. We got into New Jersey around 2:30ish, still too early to check into our hotel. We were going to head over to Jim’s Lunch so Paul could try the burgers, but it completely slipped my mind that Jim’s closes for the summer, so our plans for beefy goodness were thwarted. We still had a bit of time to kill, so we stopped into Haar’s Natural Foods and Gourmet Imports on Delsea Drive, a little store that sells mostly health foods (including a huge selection of gluten free stuff, I was happy to see) but has this deli in the back that sells imported German meats. I used to go here all the time with Oma when I was really young, and the place hasn’t changed a bit in 30-odd years. Amazing. We made a mental note to make a stop here on Monday morning on our way out of town.
We finally checked in to the hotel, and then went out driving around for a while (I gave him a mini-tour of East Vineland), and ended up at Crown Market for cheesesteaks. I don’t know if it changed ownership since April (I honestly think it did, based on what they said and who was in there when I went in), but the cheesesteak was very underwhelming this time around (spices were way off, a lot less meat and everything else, the bread overwhelmed the meat and cheese, etc), plus they raised the prices. I don’t think we’ll be going there again.
Sunday morning was a bit rainy, and we were bored, so after a tasty breakfast at the Golden Palace Diner (whatever happened to all the diners? They’re hard to find these days), we decided to drive down to the shore. Paul couldn’t decide where he wanted to go (plus everywhere except the Wildwoods and Atlantic City require beach tags now, blech!), so we drove into Wildwood (on the way I passed a ton of roadside farmer’s markets, I really should have stopped at one!), and then made our way up the shore through Stone Harbor, Avalon, and Sea Isle City. We were going to stop at Mike’s for seafood, but I couldn’t find the free parking they advertised, and there wasn’t anywhere else to park either. So we got on the Garden State Parkway and the AC Expressway and made our way over to Crabby’s for lunch.
Let me just rant for a moment. I spent the first 23 years of my life in New Jersey, drove there for at least 6 years, and cannot for the life of me remember drivers being so friggin’ rude as they were this weekend. Aggressive, nasty, belligerent drivers that expect you to break traffic laws left and right for their convenience. Drivers that like to drive 5 feet off your bumper when you’re already 5-10 miles over the speed limit with out of state tags and have cars in the lane to the right of you so you can’t get over at the moment they crawl up on your rear. Cars who weave back and forth fruitlessly when traffic isn’t moving quickly expecting to make headway but instead just making asses of themselves and pissing off everyone in the process. Cars who don’t obey the “yield” signs and get pissed off when you do. Let’s just say my middle finger got a good workout this weekend. And I’m not usually one to shoot the bird. I’m glad to be back on Ohio roads, that’s for sure!
But I digress. We made it back to Vineland, and dinner that night was at Esposito’s Maplewood 3, which was my favorite stop last time around. The food was good, but not as good as it was in April for some reason. But every restaurant is entitled to an off night, and I’ve had more good experiences there than bad.
We got a really good night’s sleep, and on Monday morning, we ran our last few errands (mostly food to bring back to Ohio) – we got subs for later and Conte’s pasta at Giovanni’s Deli, a bunch of Puerto Rican food from Penalvert’s, checked out the new Polish American Deli on the Boulevard by Park Avenue (NJ locals, if you haven’t checked it out yet, please do – it’s worth a stop!) and got some sausage and pierogies to take home, stopped at Haar’s for German deli meats, stopped at the new Shop Rite for some Jersey tomatoes (the craving of which was the impetus for the trip in the first place). One of the places I really wanted to check out but wasn’t able to is The Sweet Life Bakery near Sixth and Landis. Unfortunately, they’re not due to open until Labor Day, so I’ll miss out on the goodies. But if you’re local to the area, make sure to drop in – I really respect what they’re doing to revitalize that area, and they could use all the support and business you can give them.
The rest of Monday was a blur of driving. I honestly can’t remember if we stopped to eat. I don’t think we did, actually. All I remember is rain, lightning, and more rain. But we’re home now, the air conditioning is fixed, and life is once again back to normal. And as much as I love travelling, there really is no place like home.