A Travellerspoint blog

Cape Charles & Savage Neck NP

sunny 9 °C

Morning walk around the KOA and to the beach. This is a large park, with several hundred sites. The lowest number sites, 1 through 29 are mostly permanent seasonal residents, I think. Big rigs, fifth wheels, trailers with bump-outs in lots with little posted signs claiming the space and welcoming visitors to “The Smiths” or “The Jones Summer Place”. Wooden patios with wooden deck chairs and tables, heavy enough to stay put despite the strong winds, little fenced yards, ATVs and golf carts covered with heavy tarps. These were permanent, but almost no one was here yet; the season hasn’t started yet. The restaurant and pool don’t open until April 30.

Other sites are filled with alternating yellow and blue cabins, much nicer than the KOA Kamping Kabins we booked two decades ago as a splurge when it was raining hard or we’d driven long hours with more hours the next day and no desire to put up a tent in the wet, dark evening. There are a few RVs and young families playing on the bouncy pad by the closed pool. There’s a parking area for the golf carts you can rent if you don’t want to walk from your site to the showers at the end of the row.
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We drove the 20 min to Cape Charles and walked around the historic district and local beach and pier.
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Lunch was seafood chowder and pretzels for me and chicken fingers and fries for Steve. I had hot water and lemon in a lovely cup.
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The Savage Neck Dunes National Area Preserve is another 20 min north. I imagined a large dune area like the Oregon Dunes NP based on the title and despite the lack of info on their site. Anyway, it’s a very small preserve with no evident “dunes”, although the paths were sandy. I knew there were walking trails, but couldn’t find any distance info. We were disappointed that the entrance signage also didn’t provide trail info, but we set out anyway on the beach trail.
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The loblolly pine
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Returning to the car parking lot, which is restricted to a maximum of 8 vehicles (all others will be towed), we saw that the back of the entrance sign had a map of the preserve and trails. Why wasn’t that on the front???

Dinner in the room bought from the FoodLion.

Posted by Deb Godley 02:21 Archived in USA Comments (0)

West Haven - Cape Charles VA

Trader Joe’s, REI, Microcenter, non-toll roads, bad weather

storm 5 °C

This was planned to be a long driving day - 7.5 hrs, leaving early, short breaks and arriving late afternoon. None of that actually happened. We started latish with an 8:30 breakfast, on the road by 9:15. We decided we wanted to check out Trader Joes, to buy some recommended items - unexpected cheddar, honey moon wine, dark chocolate peanut butter cups. The first TJ’s was in NY and didn’t sell wine, so that necessitated a 2nd stop at a Trader Joes in NJ.

Also, Steve had lost his toque. We think he left it in the restaurant when we met with Brian and I’d lost my headband from Iceland (damn!). I think it fell out of the car when we stopped for the Thai lunch. We’d tried the Walmart but they had no winter headwear, so decided on a quick stop to Dicks and then to REI. We did find toques for both and a warm headband/ear cover, so productive stops.

We had planned, also, on a stop to a Microcenter Computer store to look at laptops.

That was 5 stops, without even counting gas and meals. Yikes.

Then, there was the toll roads. The tolls were all electronic - no stopping and passing over change or a credit card at a booth. You are required, it seems, to arrange payment in advance. There was a ** 3-digit number to call to set up the toll payment but it didn’t work from our phone. So we decided to use the avoid toll route option. That added more than an hour to the driving time.

Next, and worse of all, there was a relentless pounding visibility-impairing rain. Not only did the rain necessarily reduce speed, but also increased the accident rate, with several times where all the lanes merged into one and we crawled along.

in all, we were on the road (including stops) for 14 hours. The prolonged and multiplied stops, toll-avoidance, rainstorm/accidents, and late start had us arriving finally at the Sunset Beach Resort at 11:30pm.

We passed the time listening to the Killing Floor (when we could hear over the rain) and snacking on bread and unexpected cheddar, dark chocolate PB cups, and mandarin oranges.

We pulled in, hoping the checkin was still open - my email from the road went unanswered. There was no problem, though, as the desk and shop are open 24/7, even in this off-season.

The resort is actually a motel and KOA. We didn’t see any of it last night, though. Just stumbled into our room and straight to bed.

Posted by Deb Godley 15:10 Archived in USA Comments (0)

West Haven

Day 3: exploring West Haven, Long Island Sound

sunny

Very windy day, so bundled up for a morning walk to the water. Easter Sunday, so not much traffic between 6 & 8 am. The walk was pretty quiet, on back streets and in Savin Rock Park on Long Island Sound. A few families had been out on the beach and pier to see the Easter sun rise and now walked back to their cars or homes.
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Later, we had a late lunch at a Thai place. Our first choice had been the #1 West Haven restaurant per tripadvisor - Zuppardi’s Apizza, but it was closed for Easter. We spotted Sri Thai and were glad we stopped. The service was good, the food tasty and hot and a good menu. I opted for won ton soup and then mango chicken and Steve had a chicken fried rice. All very good.
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After breakfast (included with the room - good hot omelettes and bacon; waffles with whipped cream), we asked if the garbage could be picked up from our room. The front desk said “they’d try, but we needed to give 24 hours notice for housekeeping service”. We would have had to call ahead before checking in to let them know we might need the garbage removed the next afternoon. Ridiculous. Other than the nonexistent housekeeping service (the garbage was all but overflowing when we left), the hotel was nice: comfortable beds, good internet, yummy breakfast. There was a gym and a indoor pool available as well, although we didn’t use them.

The late Thai was filling enough that we didn’t go out again. I finished reading the Thursday Club Murder Mystery by Richard Osmond. Very lighthearted, amusing, and British humour. Loved it.

Posted by Deb Godley 14:40 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Great Barrington to West Haven CT

Owners meeting, PEZ!

19 °C

Morning walk in Great Barrington took in the Housatonic Flats walking loop. It’s only a 5 minute walk from the hotel (where despite the run-down state of the suite, the bed was large, comfortable, and in a separate room so I could happily go to bed early). The loop is 0.9 mi, so I walked around it twice before heading to the Price Chopper for fruit, muffins, and hot cross buns (since it’s Easter).
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We checked out and headed over to Westfield, MA, a hour away for a pre-arranged meeting with one of the team owners in our hockey league. Super nice to meet Brian and put a face to the owner of the Thunder Chickens. We found we had lots in common, including love of travel, games, hockey (although not sure about the Habs) and Brian and Steve both agree (wrongly, of course) that chicken wings should be boneless and eaten with a knife & fork :). We had a great time - nice to meet you Brian (and too bad we missed also meeting Dave & Steve, who left town to avoid lunch with us, apparently).
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After lunch, we drove just over an hour to West Haven CT and quickly sped over to the PEZ visitors center before closing. This is a cute, “quirky” museum all about those little peppermint (in German PfeffErminZ) dispensers. There was a special dwarf scavenger hunt where we had to find the dwarf dispensers throughout the museum and won a prize (obviously a PEZ dispenser). I love the dwarves, so the game worked for me; we just had to remember to look at child eye-level, and then traded knowledge with a 10-year-old for the win. Here’s Steve picking out a PEZ and spinning the wheel for the freebee.
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And, apparently, I am 14 grasshoppers tall.
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That’s it for today. Too full from lunch to go out for dinner, but had some leftovers (nice to have both a fridge and microwave in the room). Tomorrow, we’ll explore West Haven and stay another night.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Posted by Deb Godley 23:07 Comments (0)

April 2022 Road trip Ottawa to Great Barrington, MA

Lake Placid, Barrington Brewery

semi-overcast

After just 3 days at home (after Iceland), we headed out again. This time on a road trip to the US, we haven’t been on a driving trip for a long time, so we’ll see if we decide we hate it, or still enjoy the freedom and ability for multiple stops without the high cost of flights.

Our plan includes 3 hockey games, 2 baseball games, and a variety of civil war sites. We are also hoping to hook up with friends we’ve never met in person.

So, day one was 6.5 hours driving to a way-point in Massachusetts. We stopped in Lake Placid on the way - a happy accident - and took a look at the 1932 / 1980 winter Olympic sites.
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Including the arena where Canada won the gold medal in men’s hockey in 1932
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The outdoor skating oval
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And a couple of views from our walk around town
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The drive passed relatively quickly while we listened to Lee Child’s The Killing Floor audio book - the first Jack Reacher novel, which we’ve both read, but many forgotten years ago. We’ve found it much easier to manage longer drives with a book and Lee Child never disappoints.

We are staying at a dated Travelodge with really terrible internet and lacking much-needed air conditioning. The bed looks comfortable, but otherwise cannot recommend the place. Around the corner was a brew-pub where we both had burgers (a too-dry Cajun chicken for Steve and really yummy Gouda bacon for me, the latter being the special). The beers were good.
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Posted by Deb Godley 23:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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