The first part of our vacation is done, now we’re at home before we head to the second part tomorrow.
We went out Saturday morning and dropped Illa off at the kennel, then came back and finished packing. We left around noon, and the trip was uneventful until we stopped for fruit (peaches and plums) just before Chesapeake Beach. The place was a litle grassy area right off the road, and as we left we went up a hill to the other road. A mistrake as there was a six foot wide ditch at the top the front wheels went down into but not far enough to touch bottom and get traction. We thought we’d have to get a tow truck, but one of the farmers offered to get a 4 wheel drive Jeep and pull us out, so we waited for him. It took him a little bit, but he was as good as his word and returned bearing a length of chain. We were soon on our way, the car very muddy (when Jill had spun the tires when we got stuck) and the farmer refused compensation.
We got to Dad’s a little after 2, and Jill’s sister Robin and her friend Jillian were already there. Jill and them changed and headed for nearby North Beach, while my Dad and I went out on the deck and read the paper and chatted. There was some brief rain, but we were under cover and stayed put. The girls came back and we went inside to wait for my sister, Sharon, and her boyfriend, who arrived a little after 5. Unfortunately, they brought the big rain with them, and we retreated inside until it finished. We headed out in a couple cars to Skipper’s Pier in Deale. Since there was 7 of us, we elected to eat outside on the pier – possibly not our wisest decision. The food was fine (I had the crab bisque, a salad and a fried calamari appetizer while Jill had the crab cake with cheesy mashed potatoes), but the weather was only mildly cooperative, with little spurts of rain almost making us go inside. We stayed there a while as my dad, sister and her boyfriend all got the crabs, which took them some time, but it was nice after the rain stopped and the sun was setting.
We decided against having dessert there after Dad suggested having banana splits back at his house. We embellished his suggestion by stopping by the store for more ice cream, nuts, and whipped cream. We enjoyed the ice cream on the deck, then the party broke up. Sharon went home, and Robin and Jillian had been up very early the night before to drive down from Massachusetts. Sunday morning we got up around 10, and Dad made a big spread – frittata, fruit salad, bagels, and pancakes. After a stop at the store for a Sunday paper, water and sunscreen, we were off to the beach. We made good time (although there was a sizable backup the other way on the Bay Bridge), and got to Rehoboth Beach around 2PM. Jill had booked us rooms at the Crosswinds Motel, and they let us check in, we changed, and then walked the 3 blocks to the beach. We set up the umbrella and blankets, then I read the paper while the girls stood at the edge of the water, which was full of jellyfish. Eventually Jill got brave enough to go in, but did get a small sting on the way out. The others went in, but I decided I didn’t need to. Jill and Robin got slices of pizza from Grotto Pizza, but it wasn’t as good as I remembered.
We went back to the rooms and showered and changed and relaxed for a while. We went to dinner at the Roadhouse, also known as the first place Jill and I had dinner as a couple. For those of you who came in late: Jill and I met in 2001 because my buddy from Boston, Chris, was throwing his annual New Year’s party in Rehoboth Beach (long story), Jill had just moved to DC and asked him if he knew anyone from the DC area that could give her a ride. He suggested me – we met and had dinner at Clyde’s in Georgetown, then drove to Rehoboth together. The first night the group had dinner at the Dogfish Head brewpub, the second at the Roadhouse (by which time we were getting to be a couple), the third a sushi place (that I think was Abstractions – but we were definitely a couple by then). But I digress. The Roadhouse was a nice little steakhouse and ribs joint, though I was thrown a little by the tasty mango and rum smoothie. Most of us had ribs (Jill and I shared a rack), and they were lip smackin’ good. No room for dessert, so we returned to our rooms where I was introduced to the addictive game of rummy.
Monday morning Robin and I wanted to go to IHOP, so we dragged the others and ate our fill (International Passport with crepes for me, french toast for Jill), then went straight to the beach. I went in for a bit (losing my shades of course), then read while Jill got me some more while buying crocs for her and Robin. It didn’t take us to long to have our fill in the heat of the day. We went back to the rooms, showered and changed and hit the road, with a quick stop at A&W/KFC to help the famished. We made it to Milton by 2:45 for the Dogfish Head brewery tour. It was an informative tour – they were only able to fill 30% of orders last year, and they’ll be doubling their output within the year. They had samples of Shelter Pale Ale, 60 Minute IPA, and Indian Brown Ale before and after the tour, and with the six pack of Raison D’Etre we’d picked up from the brewpub, I’d had just about all of their regular beers. We picked up a pack of Midas Touch Golden Elixir and a bottle of Zwaanendale there, then I got dropped off downtown to check out a CD store and a couple bookstores, where I didn’t find anything I wanted and returned to the room to read (two Pratchetts this trip, in addition to the papers and magazines I had). The ladies hit the outlets and returned bearing their prizes.
What Jill didn’t know when booking the hotel was that it was next door to the Dogfish Head brewpub, a find I was quite happy about. What it meant was after we relaxed for a while, we just strolled over there for dinner. We probablty should have sent a scouting party, as there was a 45 minute wait. We went in and Jill got a round of Lawnmower Light, their new light beer (which most people liked, I wasn’t that interested because I think a good light beer is like Sam Adams Light or Heineken Light that’s very close to the original). We were outside in he heat for a bit until 3 spots opened up at the bar. Robin tried the guava infused vodka with Sprite, and I tried the Golden Shower Imperial Pilsner, which was very good. It was indeed a 45 minute wait, but we eventually got a booth, and I had a crab bisque and the wood grilled pepperoni and andouille pizza, both excellent with the pilsner. We split a Dogfish Pile to start (crab dip on pizza crust), and Jill had a burger. The girls had desserts (Jill had a pineapple bread pudding she only had a couple bites of), but I was stuffed, happy we only had to walk a few steps back to the rooms, where there was more rummy.
Today Robin and Jillian were out by 8:30 to get in a little more beach time, and we checked out at 11 and hit the road. We’d spied a Sonic and we stopped in. We were a little surprised you ordered by phone from your table as well, but dealt. I had the SuperSONIC Breakfast Burrito with tater tots, while Jill had a cheeseburger, fries, and some popcorn chicken (I helped eat the chicken). We skipped their famous slushies, but did enjoy their diet limeades (mine was plain, Jill had a cherry). We hopped back on the road, making fairly good time to my Dad’s where Robin and Jillian had left their car. They followed us through mild traffic home (it was 3:45 when we arrived), then they went to the post office and Target while I checked out the FRFF schedule. We changed and went out to dinner around 7:30. We didn’t get to Sweetwater Tavern until 8:15, stopping at Borders and Best Buy for vital camping supplies. We were smart and called ahead for seating, and were seated not more than 2 minutes after arriving. We’d told Robin and Jillian of their amazing bread, so that was a priority (as usual). I had the 5 beer sampler (their new Paleface Summer Wheat – a nice hefeweizen and Giddyup Stout – with real coffee – are standouts) and crab fritters and the Montery chicken salad, while Jill had the mixed salad and jambalaya (one of her faves) and the key lime pie for dessert (again, I was stuffed). We stopped at Safeway for camping food on the way back, then watched a little TV before everyone else went to bed, and I’m here. Now to get a little sleep before part 2…