The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Dining Out’

Easter 2021 Vacation Day 8

Today, April 8th, is Day 8 of our Easter vacation.

This afternoon we decided to make a return visit to the Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland.  We saw a few ponies!

We stopped for dinner at Don’s Seafood and Chicken House near Pocomoke City, MD.   Our dinners were moderately expensive.  We were celebrating, though.  As of today, both Bob and I are fully vaccinated against COVID.  This was our first time to eat at Don’s.  Bob ordered crab dip for an appetizer.  Bob selected stuffed flounder, as his entree.  I chose southern fried chicken tenders.  Our meals were delicious, and service was excellent.

We had ice cream for dessert at Island Creamery in Chincoteague, VA.  Bob got a brownie sundae with Java jolt ice cream.  I got my usual, a scoop of chocolate ice cream and a scoop of peanut butter cup ice cream.

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 7 – Cape Charles, VA Day Trip

Today, April 7th, is the 7th day of our Easter vacation.

We have awakened each morning of our vacation in time to watch the sun rise. Each sunrise that we have witnessed has been beautiful. This morning’s sunset, though, was more than beautiful; it was splendid.

Sunrise, as seen from the upper porch of Tranquil Shores
Sunrise, as seen from the upper porch of Tranquil Shores

We visited downtown Chincoteague this morning. We went window shopping along Main Street.  The shops that interested me were closed until later in the day.

We walked back to our car the scenic way.

Robert N Reed Waterfront Park

During our walk, we decided to drive to Cape Charles, VA–a place we had never been. Cape Charles is located about 66 miles south of Chincoteague. 

A popular mode of transportation at Cape Charles appears to be golf carts.

We saw this golf cart and its passenger from our car.
Golf Carts provide transportation along the seashore.

We went for a walk alongside the beach and on the fishing pier. 

It felt like summer, especially so when we saw people in swimsuits on the beach and in the water.  The temperature was 75 degrees at noon!
The LOVEwork is located near the public fishing pier. It reflects the history and community by incorporating materials that represent what Cape Charles is all about. The “L” is made of sea glass and seashells to represent the bayside community. The “O” is a tractor tire to represent agriculture. The “V” is made of kayaks to represent outdoor adventure activities and the “E” is made of crab pots to represent aquaculture.
The “L”
Cape Charles Public Fishing Pier
Bob and I on the Cape Charles Public Fishing Pier

Leaving Cape Charles, we drove to Metopkin Seafood for lunch. Metopkin Seafood is located in Mappsville, VA about 50 miles north of Cape Charles. We were disappointed to find that Metopkin Seafood was still closed for the season.  Metopkin Seafood is a favorite place for us to get a seafood platter.

We decided to eat lunch at Maria’s in Chincoteague, VA– our first time to eat there.  Bob ordered a crab cake sandwich with French fries.  I ordered a small pizza. 

Lunch at Maria’s Restaurant

I have leftover pizza for another meal. The food and service were good.  We returned to our rental AirBnb, Tranquil Shores, after lunch.

I have more to tell you about our 7th day of vacation, which I will share with you in a future blog post.

Easter Vacation 2021

Today, April 2nd, is Day 2 of our Easter vacation.

We slept in a bit this morning.  Our later-than-usual awakening was most likely caused by our early departure from home yesterday and noisy hotel guests who kept us awake.  Those guests left sometime in the late evening. Do you find that strange? I do. Perhaps they were asked to leave?

We went downstairs for breakfast a little after 8:00 am.  Because of COVID-19 breakfast wasn’t the typical full hot breakfast, served buffet style.  Breakfast was still good, though, with selections individually wrapped.  I had an egg and bacon sandwich, a banana, cranberry juice, a banana nut muffin, and a cup of tea.    Bob picked up similar selections.  We carried our breakfast in paper bags to our room and ate there.

We checked out of the hotel around 9:00 am and began the last leg of our drive.  Today’s destination is Chincoteague, VA.  As was the case yesterday, the GPS is programmed to avoid highways.

Shortly before 11:00 am we stopped for a potty break in Cambridge, MD at the visitor center (Sailwinds Park). It was only 36 degrees. It was a lot warmer during our stop there in late November last year. We enjoyed a walk in the park last year. Today we were happy to hurry to the bathroom and back to the car.

At 12:00 pm we met our friends Tom and Ellen for lunch at Evolution Craft Brewing Company in Salisbury, MD. Bob ordered a brisket sandwich with Sweet Potato fries; Tom ordered a pulled pork sandwich with French fries; I ordered chicken wings and a half order of fries; and Ellen ordered French onion soup and clams. We sat inside and ate our lunch. It was too cold to sit outside to eat, as we did in November. The food was delicious, and we enjoyed our time together. I don’t have a picture of the four of us because I forgot to have one taken!

We departed the brewery at 1:30 pm and arrived on Chincoteague Island around 3:00 pm. We had an hour to kill before the check-in time at our AirBnB. We drove around the island a bit, before heading out to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore.

Virginia’s Assateague Island National Seashore

We checked into our AirBnb, Tranquil Shores, at 4:00 pm. We unloaded the car and got settled in.

Meanwhile, back at home….

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 7

Today (November 27th) is day 7 of our Thanksgiving week vacation.

Sunrise at Tranquil Shores, our airbnb rental

Late this morning we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, VA.  We followed the Beach Access Road to Toms Cove, where we turned around.  

Our first stop, while on the Beach Access Road, was at the Lighthouse Trail.

The Lighthouse Trail takes you through the woods to the historic Assateague Lighthouse.

Assateague Lighthouse

Our second stop was at a marsh area, where we frequently see wild ponies.  We had not seen any ponies here since our arrival on Sunday, November 22.  We saw some wild ponies there today.

The wild ponies finally made an appearance in the marsh seen from the Beach Access Road.

Our third stop was near Toms Cove.

Assateague Lighthouse, as viewed from Toms Cove area

You will recall from yesterday’s blog post that the reason we chose to spend Thanksgiving week in Chincoteague was to participate in the Waterfowl Week Special Drive.  As I wrote in yesterday’s blog post, there is a 7.5 mile service road off the Wildlife Loop that is open to the public only during the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  The service road opens at noon and closes at 4:00 pm.  We drove the service road yesterday and again today.

We were parked alongside Wildlife Loop by 11:40 am, lined up to drive on the Service Road.  

The line waiting for access to the Waterfowl Week Special Drive

The cars began to inch forward at noon.  Yesterday it took us 1 1/2 hours to make the 15-mile round trip.  Today it took about 1 1/4 hours.  Yesterday was overcast; today was sunny.  We saw far less horses and waterfowl today than we did yesterday.  Bob didn’t have a memory card in the GoPro yesterday.  The GoPro was armed today.  This video shows very little wildlife, but it does show the terrain along Special Drive.

 

 

I took a couple photographs of the few wild ponies that we saw during our drive.

Two wild ponies

Three wild ponies

We ate lunch at Tranquil Shores.  We had leftovers–sweet and sour chicken with rice, cottage cheese, potato salad and applesauce.

I wanted to see the lit Christmas tree at the Robert N Reed Waterfront Park in downtown Chincoteague.  We drove there at dusk.

the Christmas Tree and me

Christmas decorations at Robert N Reed Downtown Waterfront Park

Sunset at Robert N Reed Downtown Waterfront Park

Aren’t the Christmas tree and the park, itself, pretty?

By the time we left the park, it was time to eat.  We chose to eat inside the Chincoteague Diner & Restaurant, located on Maddox Boulevard next to the Best Western hotel.   We had a choice to eat outside on their screened porch or inside the restaurant.  It was a bit chilly to eat outside; the restaurant was not full of people; the tables were socially distanced; we smelled Clorox as soon as we opened the door; and the wait staff wore face masks. All of those factors went into our decision to eat inside the restaurant.  This was the only restaurant at which we ate indoors, while on vacation.  Bob ordered a Chef Salad.  I ordered a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with French fries.  The service was good, and our dinners were tasty.  

From the restaurant we drove to Island Creamery, where the best homemade ice cream is served.  We ordered our ice cream inside and carried it out to the car to eat.  Yum!

We returned to Tranquil Shores, after our ice cream stop.  

It is our last night here.  We have had such a relaxing vacation.  I wish we didn’t have to go home, but at the same time I am ready to go home.

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 3

Today (November 23rd) is day 3 of our Thanksgiving week vacation.

It was raining at 5:30 am this morning.  I saw lightning and heard a roll of thunder (just one).  It was 61 degrees outside.  The temperature would drop throughout the day.

By 7:15 am we both had showered and gotten dressed.  Bob made a cheese omelet for breakfast.  I made instant oatmeal.  We both had hot beverages, coffee for Bob and tea for me, and orange juice.

After breakfast, we went for a short drive.  Our first destination was the nearby Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island.  We followed the Beach Access Road to the Toms Cove Visitor Center, where we turned around.   We saw a few egrets and great blue herons, as well as ducks.  We saw horses too, way way off in the distance.  I didn’t take any pictures, as the dim lighting wasn’t conducive to good quality photography. 

Our second destination was the Veterans Memorial Park back on Chincoteague Island.  The park has a good view of the Assateague Lighthouse.  Again the lighting was poor for photography, although I did get a decent picture of the boardwalk and gazebo.  Bob captured a nice picture of me inside one of the gazebos. 

Veteran’s Memorial Park Boardwalk and Gazebo

Veteran’s Memorial Park. If you look closely, you can see Assateague Lighthouse in the background.

We returned to Tranquil Shores, our rental airbnb, from the park to await the sunny skies expected at 3:00 pm this afternoon.

My most enjoyable activity, during our downtime, was sitting on the screened-in porch preparing draft blog posts.

My work station

I must admit it wasn’t easy to keep my attention on my blog, when I had such a beautiful view of the marsh to look at.

Today’s lunch was leftover Sloppy Joes, coleslaw and cottage cheese.

After lunch we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island.  We followed the Beach Access Road to Assateague Island National Seashore, stopping for photo ops.  

Snowy Egret

Great Egret

Do you see the difference between these two egrets?  The Snowy Egret has yellow feet and a black beak.  The Great Egret has black feet and a yellow beak.

Cormorant – Pose 1

Cormorant – Pose 2

Cormorant – Pose 3

We made it to the Atlantic Ocean.

Leaving the beach we made our way back up Beach Access Road.  We stopped at the parking lot for the Wildlife Loop.  We went for a walk on the Marsh Trail.  The trailhead is close to the parking lot.  The trail is .6 miles one way.  There are no side trails or confusing intersections, so there is no way to get lost.

The Wildlife Loop Marsh Trail is flat and an easy walk.

The highlight of our walk was seeing a wild pony at the trail’s overlook platform.

a Chincoteague Wild Pony

The Wildlife Loop Marsh Trail Overlook Platform is in the background. The wild pony was behind the overlook platform on the right side.

We made a loop out of the trail by walking along Wildlife Loop back to the parking lot.

 

From the refuge we drove to downtown Chincoteague and stopped at the Robert Reed Waterfront Park.  The park is decorated for Christmas, complete with a huge Christmas tree.  

The statue of Misty the horse greeted us, as we approach the Robert Reed Waterfront Park.

“Christmas by the Sea” at Robert Reed Waterfront Park

The lights are on the Christmas tree and, I believe, the lights were turned on November 16th. We will try to return to the park at nighttime to check out the lit Christmas tree.

Bob photographed me sitting on one of the “Love” chairs.

These four Adirondack chairs are 10 feet tall and weigh more than 500 pounds.  The chairs arrived in Chincoteague in the summer of 2014 and promote the state’s “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism slogan.

It was a lot easier getting into that chair than getting out of it!

Late in the afternoon we returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and drove around the Wildlife Loop.  The Wildlife Loop is open to vehicular traffic between the hours of 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm.  Earlier I transferred images from my camera to my iPad and had forgotten to return the memory card to my camera.  I am glad that we didn’t see anything remarkable during our drive; otherwise I would have been upset that I didn’t have a memory card!

Tonight’s dinner was take-out fish, onion rings and hush puppies from Captain Zach’s Seafood. 

My dinner from Captain Zach’s Seafood

Dinner was delicious.  Even the pickle tasted really good.

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 2

Today, November 22nd, is the second day of our Thanksgiving week vacation.  Breakfast was from 7:00 am-10:00 am today at our hotel — the Best Western North East Inn, located in North East, MD.  We went downstairs for breakfast a little after 7:00 am.  Because of COVID-19 breakfast wasn’t the hotel’s typical full hot breakfast, served buffet style.  Breakfast was still good, though, with selections individually wrapped.  I had a hot egg and bacon sandwich, applesauce, a banana, orange juice, a chocolate chip muffin, and a cup of tea.  Bob picked up similar selections.  We carried our breakfast to our room on a tray and ate there.

We checked out of the hotel around 8:40 am and began the last leg of our drive.  Today’s destination is Chincoteague, VA.  As was the case yesterday, the GPS is programmed to avoid highways.

We made a bathroom stop in Cambridge MD at the Dorchester County Visitor Center.  A monument caught my eye.

This is the “Flying goose” monument fountain.

You can see the “Flying Goose” from several viewpoints or see it up close.

“Flying Goose” monument fountain

Returning to our car from the “Flying Goose” monument, we spotted a lighthouse off in the distance.

View of Choptank River Lighthouse from Dorchester County Visitor Center

We hopped into the car, drove 1 mile to Long Wharf Park and parked the car.

Bob and I with the Choptank River Lighthouse in the background

Choptank River Lighthouse

Choptank River Lighthouse

and one last photograph of the picturesque lighthouse

Choptank River Lighthouse

At 12:15 pm we met Tom and his girlfriend, Ellen, for lunch at Evolution Craft Brewing Company in Salisbury, MD.  We sat outside and ate our lunch.   

Lunch with friends at EVO Brewery in Salisbury, MD

Bob ordered a pulled pork sandwich with French fries; Tom ordered a brisket sandwich with French fries; and Ellen and I ordered  Brioche French Toast with strawberries and whipped cream. 

Brioche French Toast with strawberries and whipped cream

A little background … Tom graduated with Bob’s brother, John, who is 9 years older than Bob.  When we got together for lunch, I believed that I had never met Tom and that Bob and Tom hadn’t seen each other since high school.  During lunch Tom mentioned John’s 50th birthday, and I had a vague recollection of a photograph taken during John’s 50th birthday celebration.  I found that photograph, upon our return home.

Photograph Taken on the Occasion of John’s 50th Birthday (October 2000)

Apparently in October 2000 Tom, his wife Anne (who died in May 2019), and Bob and I celebrated John’s 50th birthday together.  The four of us are in the back row on the left.  

… Fast forward to 2018 …  

Bob and Tom became Facebook friends in August 2018.  Tom and I became friends on Facebook a few months later, in January 2019.  Tom likes photographs that I share on Facebook.  He has left many complimentary comments over the years.  We message each other occasionally too.  It was via Facebook Messenger that we made plans to meet on our way to Chincoteague, VA.  Tom, Bob and I believed an outdoor setting would be the safest way to meet, given COVID-19.   

… Back to the present …

Our respective lunches were delicious, and we enjoyed our time with both Tom and Ellen (whom we met for the first time today).  We hope to meet up again one day. 

 

I think it was 2:30 pm when we left the brewery.   We drove to Food Lion in Oak Hall, VA.  We picked up a few groceries and then drove to Tranquil Shores, our Airbnb rental in Chincoteague, VA.  We arrived at the rental shortly before 4:00 pm and got settled in.  Tranquil Shores is home through Saturday, November 28th.   

Our Airbnb rental was cleaned to COVID-19 standards.  We could smell the disinfectant, when we walked into the house.  The house was spotless.  When we stayed here before, pre-COVID, the refrigerator wasn’t completely emptied out in between guests.  The refrigerator was completely emptied, when we arrived today.  The empty refrigerator, in and of itself, gave me that little extra feeling of safety.

Tonight’s dinner was Sloppy Joes, coleslaw and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We purchased a small platter that contains 8 slices of cheesecake, four different flavors.  We will enjoy cheesecake for a few days this week. 

 

 

Day Trip to Letchworth State Park

On Saturday, October 5, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day by going for a drive.  We hoped to see some pretty Autumn colors.  Our original plan was to go to Allegany State Park, near Salamanca NY.  This park is about a 45-minute drive from our house.  We were about half way to Allegany State Park, when I asked Bob how far it was from our location to Letchworth State Park.  “Hey Google.  How far is it from my location to Letchworth State Park?”, Bob asked.  Well, we didn’t have a signal, so that question had to be repeated a short while later.  Instead of turning right onto Interstate 86, we went straight ahead, and that is how we ended up at Letchworth State Park instead of Allegany State Park.

Letchworth State Park is located 35 miles south of Rochester, NY. The park, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East”, is a spectacular place. The park’s magnificent scenery includes waterfalls (three major ones on the Genesee River) and a gorge. We have visited Letchworth State Park many times over the years. We enjoy our visit each time we go.

We arrived at the park a little after noon, entering via the south (the Portageville entrance).  We have the New York Empire Pass, which provides unlimited day-use vehicle entry to New York State Parks.  We made stops at the Upper and Middle Falls between the Portageville entrance and the Archery Field exit.  

Upper Falls

Middle Falls

Rainbow at Middle Falls

We ate lunch at the Charcoal Grill in Perry, NY.  This is a great place to eat, if you are in the area.  There are three food places — the grill, a pizzeria and an ice cream stand.  We have stopped at the Charcoal Grill a few times, while in the area.  So far we have eaten at each food place, except for the pizzeria.  The pizza smells really good, though … maybe next time.  I ordered broasted chicken with coleslaw and french fries.  Bob ordered beef on weck and onion rings.  As always, the food was delicious. 

After lunch we drove farther north and reentered Letchworth State Park via the Mt. Morris entrance.  We drove south, making a few stops to take pictures of the gorge, before exiting the park via the Portageville exit.

Hogsback Overlook

The photographs (and video) that follow were taken in the Great Bend area of the park.


We watched several rafters go down the Genesee River.

Not much color yet

This was the most color that we saw, while at Letchworth State Park.

Many people took advantage of the nice day, as we did.  The park was full of people!

We had a wonderful day.  We returned home around 6:00 pm.

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