Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Endless Summer

Summer is not over (for me) until I say it is! September is actually my favorite "summer" month because it's the very best time of the year to go to the beach around here. The air is still warm and the water is a very comfortable 68 degrees. And the light at this time of year is amazing. Click on my short little litte video and enjoy the beach for a moment without getting any sunscreen in your eyes or sand in your shoes:

I've decided that since I didn't get a "real" vacation this year, I'm going to revert to my old habit of taking as many day trips to the beach as possible during September and October. Summer won't be over for me until the water is too cold for swimming and that will not happen until the very end of October, thanks to the Gulf Stream.

So yesterday we did our usual day trip to Assateague. My camera's battery was dying so my picture-taking was limited. Anyway, here's a picture of a giant jellyfish that was on the beach. I've never seen one so huge here before! Usually there aren't jellyfish there at all.

There were ponies on the beach, but they didn't come near us. It's always fun to see them, but they can sometimes be pests. One time I was in the water and when I came out there was a pony standing right in the middle of my blanket and he was nosing through my bag. They are totally unfazed by people so I couldn't really chase him off - I had to wait until he decided to leave. It's a good thing I was done for the day because I wouldn't have wanted to get back on my blanket after that. Here of some of the other horses grazing in the distance.

For a long time, Ocean City was the main beach I went to. Then I went through a Rehoboth Beach phase but now I'm back in Maryland and Assateague is my beach of choice. During the last several years they've made a few changes in order to improve the flow of traffic to and from the beach. I used to consider Vienna, MD to be kind of the armpit of the trip. It was such a dinky little town that Route 50 had to go down to two lanes, and I think there might have been a drawbridge there at one time. It always kind of annoyed me. It was definitely the slowest section of the the trip, and not very scenic.

They finally built a bypass, including a big new bridge, but I was kind of surprised at my reaction the first time I went over it. At first I thought that it was great that they'd finally done something about the delays that would often happen there, but then I started feeling a little disappointed. It seemed sort of anticlimactic passing by Vienna now - the poor little town was sitting over there all lonely in the distance. But that's progress I guess.

So as we were heading home yesterday, we saw an amazing sight as we were crossing the bridge there - a tugboat was pushing a barge loaded with huge piles of sand down the Nanticoke River. I decide to take the exit and see if I could drive to where the old Route 50 used to be and get a picture. The old bridge isn't there any more and there's a small field where the road used to be. We got there just in time.

Since we were already out of the car we decided to walk around a little. Vienna is actually much nicer than it ever looked from the old Route 50. They have a tiny little river walk, and there are a bunch of nice old houses facing the water, and several of them are for sale by the way. There's not much else there, but it's a very nice little sleepy town.

The Nanticoke Inn is still open for dinner every day from 4:30 until 6:00. I guess they have enough local business to have survived the moving of the road. And they still have those lovely decorations on the side of the building.

We opted to stop in Easton for dinner. Easton is really cute, but it's sort of turning into St. Michaels South. There are a lot of excellent but pricey restaurants there. We went to Darnell's Grille and Catering, which was excellent but reasonably priced. The cream of crab soup was completely amazing. Doug got the soft shell crab special with collards and macaroni and cheese, and I got Rockfish with coleslaw and potato salad. Darnell used some huge basil leaves as a garnish, and so my coleslaw was infused with a hint of basil, just from that leaf laying on top. It was really good! Doug added some of his basil to the collard greens, which were good to begin with, but again turned into something spectacular with the basil. I guess we just love basil. My rockfish was delightful. The softshell crabs were delightful. The potato salad was excellent. The macaroni was some of the best I've ever had - kind of light and fluffy, but the cheese was very flavorful and present. We shared a delicious piece of lemon cake for dessert.

I will definitely be going back to Darnell's Grille. Darnell is an excellent host and an outstanding cook, and his prices are totally reasonable. The address is 22 N. Harrison Street in Easton, MD. Check it out the next time you are passing through!

So today it was business as usual. The porch ceiling is nearly all the way up, and then we did a bunch of odds and ends most of the day.


lacochran said...

"Summer is not over (for me) until I say it is!"

You said it, Sister!

Barbara said...

Well this made me hungry!

I loved the barge of sand picture. We try so hard to be in charge of nature when that sand could easily disappear from whatever beach with the winds and waves of a hurricane.

Maybe we'll take a trip or two to the beach, given our lack of a real vacation this yar.

Bowie Mike said...

We went off-season to Ocean City several years back, and we ran into a stampers convention in our hotel (i.e., rubber stampers that you use for scrapbooking and crafts). Who even knew that sort of stuff went on!

It's nice to go when there are no crowds. Nice pics.

Kristin said...

What lovely pictures! I hope you daytrip as often as possible for your sake and mine (as a voyeur).

Dmbosstone said...

Ugh I can't believe it's already fall- where has my summer/year gone?

Cyndy said...

lacochran - And I mean it!

Barbara - The barge was headed down the river and towards the bay. I have no idea where it might have been delivering that sand.

Mike - I've stayed overnight for some gigs there off-season. It's a very different place in the wintertime!

Kristin - Thanks! I haven't run out of things I want to take pictures of yet, or ocean I want to be in, so hopefully there'll be more.

Dmbosstone - Hopefully next summer will be here before you know it!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I love that whole area. And we bought our dining room chairs at an antique shop in Easton.

Love your description of the food. Sounded like something the judges on Iron Chef would say (about the cheese being "present").

bozoette said...

Lovely!! Thanks for recommending Darnells -- we usually stop at Plaza Tapatia. Or Dunkin Donuts. Next time, do try Holly's. It's right on 50, on Kent Island. Great fried chicken!

Big Mama Cass said...

Wow!! That looks beautiful!!! Being from Denver, I don't see a lot of beach activity. I can't imagine how amazing it would be to see horses on the beach like that!!

Twinkie said...

I love your life!

Cyndy said...

Kate - I agree, the way of life seems completely different on the other side of the Chesapeake. And there are some good finds in those antique and "junk" stores sometimes.

Bozoette - Thanks, we'll give Holly's a try the next time. I've been there before but it's been ages.

Mama Cass - Welcome! Well Colorado is pretty spectacular in other ways that we don't have here. But I definitely do think it's probably the horses that makes me choose Assateague over beaches I could get to a little more quickly.

Twinkie - Aw, thanks! It's not all fun and games though. I mostly write about the fun stuff to cheer myself up!