The last part of my trip was a visit to Haddonfield where my sister's in-laws live. It is a small suburb of Philadelphia and is the quintessential Eastern town. There was a touch of fall in the air, and it made me homesick for the change of seasons, which is nonexistent in California.
My sister's mother-in-law Ruth, was the perfect hostess and I can't believe how lucky my sister is to have such a nice MIL.
The next day I caught my plane back to California, ending a really nice vacation. I had such a good time, and really appreciate how wonderful everyone was to me. My sister is a such a blessing and it makes me sad that we live so far from each other, she on the Atlantic, me on the Pacific. There is nothing like being around family to lift your spirits.
Rounding out my trip back East, I made a visit to Philadelphia, a city that I have always disliked. I haven't been back for ten years, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I really liked it this time.
The weather had just turned crisp from humid and I got a preview of my favorite season, fall. Philly was great and I had to admit to my sister that she was right, I would really love it if she showed me around.
Our first stop was Reading Terminal Market, and I never wanted to leave. I had to have a Philly Cheese steak from Rick's and then walk around and drool at all the food. They have everything you could imagine - bakeries, fresh flowers, produce, crafts, seafood, and every ethnic food is represented. There is even a blog filled with stories and photos. It is ten times better than the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles. We then walked around the city and visited the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, saw a fabulous fine arts show at Rittenhouse Square, Market Street, Penn's Landing, Society Hill, the Liberty Bell and a fabulous four story Anthropologie store, that made me so jealous I don't live in Philadelphia. I didn't get to the museum, but I hope to in the future, now that I am no longer Philly adverse.
My sister and I took the ferry from Lewes, Delaware and went to Cape May, NJ for the day. Being a product of summers on the Jersey shore, I have to say, Cape May is my favorite. It is a Victorian, quaint, back in time beach town, which is quite an accomplishment for New Jersey. There are no billboards or neon signs, and even McDonald's complies with the Victorian motif. My sister and her husband met there while they were still in college, and it hasn't changed much since then. I still can't get used to the fact that they charge you to use the beach, but it is clean and money well spent.
I bought a box of James Salt Water Taffy, to bring back memories of my childhood on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, but it was to sweet, even for me.
I am going to finish my travel journal today. I was able to spend a few days at my sister and brother-in-law's in Salisbury and it was so relaxing and fun to catch up and compare hilarious stories about our children. We ate a lot of crab, tomatoes and cheese while sitting on their back patio, over looking the lake. I got to meet their new dog Duke, who my sister found as a puppy, deserted, and running in the middle of the highway, one rainy night. My sister knows the real meaning of dog rescue. Of course, we also watched a lot of football, which is a family tradition. Since my sister lives twenty minutes from Ocean City, Maryland, we spent time there waking along the beach (the Atlantic Ocean is so much warmer and cleaner than the Pacific) the Boardwalk and ended up at Secrets . It was there that I had the best pizza ever, made with crab, or as they call it, Crab Toast. It is now up there as one of my all time best pizzas. Since I am so used to palm trees, I didn't realize that the hundreds of them surround in place were imported for the summer, planted all around so that you feel you are in Jamaica, but then die off in the winter. Of course, the fact that they have 17 bars, also helps you to feel like you are in Jamaica, instead of Ocean City. If you are ever in Ocean City, Secrets is a must see! All I can say is what a gold mine!
On the way back to my sister's home in Salisbury, Maryland, we stopped at the quaint, waterfront village of St. Michael's. I thought it was so charming until I leared that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have homes there. It suddenly lost its appeal.
Continuing with my travel journal, that no one really cares about, I spent Saturday night and Sunday morning at one of my favorite places, Annapolis. There was an explosion of Mid-shipmen everywhere you looked, taking advantage of the beautiful evening, many walking hand in hand with civilian girl/boy friends. Unfortunately, we went to a bar to watch the Notre Dame - Penn State game, but took off for the City Dock, when it became too painful to watch.
It was a beautiful evening, and after seeing all the young men and women looking so classy in their uniforms, I could only pray that the Iraq war is over before their time comes.
Just to prove that I have an internal compass that picks up on bakeries within a ten mile radius, I came across the cutest one, not to far from downtown Annapolis.
We stopped at a little deli called Caroline's on Sunday morning to get a bite to eat, and ended up with an exuberant amount of really good food. The ham and Brie sandwich was an excellent choice although everything on the menu looked good. The owner, Caroline Ragsdale Reutter, was actually running the place. She told us about her bakery next door, Caroline's Cakes, and even though it was closed, she graciously opened it for us to look around. Her specialty is the caramel cake which I sampled in the cupcake version, and, I have to admit, it was one of the best I have ever tasted. I was amazed by her cupcakes, where each one was a work of art, and cost only $2 each. Coming from an area where cupcake prices are higher than a gallon of gas, it was a good deal. If you are in the area, I highly recommend both the deli and the bakery. She also has a mail order business and I plan on using it in the future. Caroline is a very nice, talented lady and I wish her all the success in the world.
On Saturday we took the Metro into DC and spent the day at the National Gallery, which for me is tantamount to waking up next to George Clooney. I haven't been to DC in ages but after having spent many summers there visiting the ex-in-laws, there isn't too much left that I want to see. I never tire of the National Gallery or the Air and Space at the Smithsonian. The Treasures of American History is being renovated, so they had a condensed version at the A&S, which was really enjoyable. I loved seeing Jackie Kennedy's Inaugural gown, Mister Roger's sweater, George Washington's uniform, the original Hermit the Frog, Ben Franklin's walking stick and so on and on.
After a hot and slightly muggy day it was a joy to dip our feet into one of the fountains along with a couple hundred other tourists.
Every once in a while I leave California and go back to my roots on the East Coast. I trade In-and-Out hamburgers for crab cakes, smog for humidity and the Pacific for the Atlantic ocean.
I just got back from 11 days visiting my sister and her family (didn't get to see my niece Caitlin, but hopefully will see her soon when she comes to visit) and had a wonderful time. My sister could double as a tour guide and with her I traveled to ate my way through Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and DC.
Since I took about 500 pictures, I am going to chronicle my trip and all the fun places I visited.
The first two days were spent in Baltimore with my niece Allison and her fabulous boyfriend Phil. I went to one of my favorite places, the Inner Harbor where it was a nice reprieve from the humidity. I Got to see more of Baltimore than I had ever imagined, since my sister kept getting lost returning to their apartment. By taking advantage of the water taxis, we also got to visit Little Italy and Fells Point. Of course no trip to Baltimore would be complete without crab cakes, which I scarfed down at record speed.
Even thought I knew I would be jet- lagged from flying in that afternoon, I made plans to go to the Hollywood Bowl last night and I am so thankful that I did. I haven't been to the Bowl all summer, but I probably made it to the best performance all year, at least in my limited musical opinion. I had heard of the group Pink Martini, but until last night, I didn't realize what I have been missing.
I knew it was going to be a great show when I saw the size of the crowd, especially on Emmy Awards night. The 14-member group from Portland consists of a pianist, vocalist, trumpet player, trombonist, cellist, guitarists, and drummers. Of course it was quite an enhancement to have the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra as a back up, but they were fabulous in their own right.
This incredible, hip, retro band with their blend of music
from Latin to jazz to European rhythms was so perfect in this setting. This is the Hollywood Bowl at
its finest — pulsating music, cool weather, and as the grand finale, the fireworks show was a pyrotechnic masterpiece. I have become such a fan, that I am going to buy all of their CD's immediately.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the after party for the orchestra where they had a fabulous buffet, open bar and enough desserts to satisfy my gigantic sweet tooth. I sat at a table next to Carol Channing who was a guest performer and sang "There's no Business like Show Business" with the group. I am not a big fan of hers, but I have to admit that for a woman her age (she must have been around when women were not allowed to vote) she has a fantastic figure.
All in all, it was a fabulous evening with good food, great friends and a trip back in time to when music was really romantic.
I am off to Maryland to visit my best friend who just happens to be my sister. I can't wait to see her, my brother-in-law, two nieces and the dog Duke! I am anticipating eating Crab every day and wondering how I can bring some back to California (where it sells for $45.00 a pound). See you in ten days.
I spent the last week of summer at Seal Beach, CA at a friend's house right on the beach. The temperature was at least forty degrees cooler than inland, and since the thermometer reached 110Âº in those areas, I felt very fortunate. This was the view from the porch, and for someone who loves the beach, it was total heaven.
I was able to get up early and jog on the beach before the surfing classes started. There is something about the solitude of the ocean that brings out the best in me.
Seal Beach is my kind of beach town. Quaint and unpretentious, with a small town feel. No Gap, Banana Republic, or Starbucks. All the shops and restaurants and bars are low key and seem like they belong anywhere but in Orange County.
Of course my favorite spot was the fabulous bakery Sweet Jills. It is the kind of old fashioned bakery where you get clogged arteries by just walking in the door.