Thursday, April 23, 2009

RIGHT ON, DELAWARE!

MY FIRST BIG ROAD TRIP!
The trip that college pal Jeanne and I took to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, was lovely! Jeanne had suggested I accompany her to visit with her sister Lynne, in a "reunion" of sorts. Jeanne has repeatedly said I "earned" this trip, after going "through hell" in having my long-over-due surgery, and then my long, sometimes painful, recovery...I won't argue, it was great, and I'm glad I chose to join her, and her generosity still amazes me...I'm so grateful I am feeling well, and was able to make the trip, which reminded me why I'm so close with Jeanne. Besides earning my deep respect (she is a talented actress, and a budding, versatile writer(plays)), she is someone who immediately puts others at ease. Open, warm, and very witty, she is the perfect companion for a long trip, as she is always observant, and very much "in-the moment".
With me wielding the map, Jeanne would ask "how far are we from...?" and usually, I'd answer "Uh, I dunno. It[whatever town she was searching for] looks close." We had a GPS with us(courtesy honey Hansoo)but we refused to use it on the way up, as it was programmed for "quickest route", and we wanted to drive along the most scenic routes, which we did--Virginia Beach, Virginia; Ocean City, Maryland; and finally, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Scary moment:
Thinking I had already disabled the GPS(and that annoying voice--female, and robot-like--that tells the occupants of a vehicle precisely where to go), Jeanne and I were appreciating the scenery when suddenly that voice barked at us, "You must turn around. Make a U-turn, now. Make a U-turn, now." We both jumped, lurching forward at the sound of what I afterwards referred to as "that bit#^" and then just as quickly, we convulsed into laughter, when we realized that if the GPS is on, you cannot turn "her" off. Just turn her DOWN. So we did. We could still hear a "hum" of activity from her, until I shook the GPS for a few seconds, when "she" suddenly fell silent.
We DID use her directions on the way home, because we were choosing to be only quick in returning home, not "scenic".
High points of the trip up:
*High Point, North Carolina:
the "Highboy" chest of drawers, large enough for the Jolly Green Giant to use as his personal chest of drawers which front the "Southland Furniture" store--over one MILLION SQUARE FEET of furniture, much of it designer names, much of it hand-crafted. Accessories, Lighting supplies and lamps, etc, etc....And their "Bear Cafe' ", where we enjoyed a gorgeous salad of things I could not have for years--dried cranberries, nuts, etc.....
*Karaoke in Emporia--at an APPLEBEE's!!You really have not lived until you visit this Applebee's, and hear the crooners/American Idol wannabe's, do their thing. Hilarious!
*Virginia Beach, Virginia has an enormous statue of "Neptune" there, and Jeanne hopped out to snap pics of it.
When we arrived in Rehoboth Beach, it was cold, dark, rainy. Fog rose and surrounded the small city with what looked like a melting veil of cake-icing. I noticed lots of bake shops, but all were closed until "the season", which I later discovered begins around Memorial Day, and ends at Labor Day. The view from our room the first two days, was everything a beach vacation should be: We were ON THE OCEAN. And I DO mean, on it. Pictures to follow, kids. You'll see what I mean, soon!
The Boardwalk Plaza Hotel is fashioned to resemble an old Victorian B & B, which are plentiful in nearby Cape May.
The first night there, Jeanne and I headed to The Purple Parrot, where we met Pete, a smooth server at the restaurant/bar-- and from what he shared with us--a probably even smoother surfer(he teaches surfing there, and has also taught in Hawaii!). Pete is one of those tall, dark-haired young men with long-ish hair that says"If this were the 1970's, I'd be the super-cool guy". Indeed, his speech was peppered with "right-on", and "yeah, man".
He was adorable--but I found myself thinking how sweet he must treat his Mom, and not how incredibly hot he might be, in other ways. Signs of my getting older, more "mature", I suppose. I hope Pete is as successful as he wishes. He's got lots of charisma, and certainly has a great work ethic.
Re-meeting Lynne was wonderful. As Jeanne's older sis, she's a gentle advisor in all things relationship-oriented, and they did some family-catching-up while I stared out at that glorious Atlantic Ocean, the sea frequently stormy(Tuesday and Wednesday) and eerily calm(Thursday and Friday). I got some notes for some poems(I often jot down phrases to use later, once the poem starts to "build-up" in my mind).
We all had lots to share with one another in terms of relationships(What I learned:"If your husband won't [do this or that].....do it yourself."). I was introduced to Dawna, and Mia, a mommy and child(Mom is older, white, and a teacher)Child is now six, Chinese, adopted a few years ago. They're awesome together.
I also had the extreme pleasure of meeting Mary Ann, who was a college-chum of Lynne's. And I found myself hoping and praying that Jeanne and I have that great, long-lasting friendhip that her sis Lynne, and her pal, Mary Ann, enjoy. I feel sure we already do!

The food was incredible. If you enjoy seafood, this is THE PLACE.(Lobsters are cheap, and huge!Crab cakes melt in your mouth. The shrimp are NOT shrimpy-small, but huge, and juicy. The scallops, delicate, and buttery on your tongue.Oh. Oh. Oh. Aaaahhhhhhhhhh....). Rehoboth Beach is pretty Veg-friendly, too. With a nearby Farmers' Market(which opens soon!) and wonderful sweet white corn-on-the-cob(great with new potatoes, or those lobsters!), fresh green beans, carrots, wax beans, and assorted nuts and soy-products, too.
My favorite meal?The Lobster Mac-and-Cheese(a light, white cheese sauce with shell-shaped(what else at a beach side hotel?)pasta bathes the lobster chunks scattered throughout this dish. wow.)at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel.
Second-favorite meal:
Irish Eyes pub's Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie: With loads of green beans(a "staple" in Rehoboth, it seems--green beans are EVERYWHERE!), carrots, wax beans, and mountains of creamy potatoes and shredded cheese, it is filling, and mouthwatering!
Jeanne and I hit the local Cracker Barrel (Cracker Barrel is a national chain, but features many regional items at various locations)for several eats:a late breakfast/early lunch(various items--veggie plates), a dessert(hot apple pie, with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce), and a dinner(the cheap, good, chicken-n-dumplins').
Rehoboth Beach is very family-friendly, too. And by that, I mean, ALL FAMILIES. On the boardwalk of Rehoboth Beach, which features clothing, cameras sales, diamond stores, sunglasses, salt-water taffy, cotton candy, etc., I saw typical, run-of-the-mill husband- wife-two kids. I also saw older white folks, with young Chinese babies.I saw lesbian partners, hand-in-hand. Two daddies, locking arms, with a small child in tow. Numerous groups of LGBTQ folk, headed to Cloud 9 or Blue Moon Cafe'. Many restaurants and pubs advertise in the the gay publications, Philadelphia Blade, and the Washington Blade.
That's family.

Tanger Outlets featured a "Van's " store(I think it is an Australian-based store(their logo features a kangaroo, which is where I'm getting the Australian idea. (Though the kangaroo is pink, and appear to be drunk or high.) which features cool shoes, t-shirts, etc.), where Jeanne found some cuuuuuute sneakers for me, with black-n-white Peace signs all over them!(special props to sales-guy, Mike at that store, who was very helpful. He later asked "Do you wear skirts?" and showed me some gorgeous mini's , originally priced at $30.00, on sale for $4.95!!
These were made of heavy fabric--feels like soft wool blend--I chose a tartan-styled solid red, with a twin-buckle. I feel I should wear it with leggings, as it's really short. As I was leaving, he suggested various bars I should visit, and said "If you wear that, you know, you'll do all right..."
Not that I had any intention of hitting a bar at all, let alone in a mini-skirt, but gee, what a compliment (from a young, stud-ly guy!)at my age!

MOST FUN I HAD IN A SINGLE DAY:
Finding "Sea Glass" on the beach....and later,
Visiting "Browseabout Books", on the Boardwalk.They hold many events, have a great selection of poetry and art books(including one on "Sea Glass"), and have a killer Mexican Chocolate Frozen drink(I asked for coffee in mine! Wow.)
"Atlantic Books", another indie bookstore, is located on the Boardwalk, too, and is smaller, and lovely as well .
FAST FACTS ABOUT DELAWARE:
*It's the FIRST STATE.
*Six Lighthouses on its' coast.
*NO Sales Tax of any kind!This puzzled me, since their roads are clean and well-maintained, there is very little crime, and the schools are highly ranked.(Where do they get the money for maintenance , police, firemen, teachers, schools, and infrastructure?, I wondered).Turns out, 90% of Fortune 500 companies are "incorporated" there. Which means Delaware reaps huge rewards via "coroprate taxes". I think Georgia needs to look into this--we have 7%, 8%, 9% sales tax in various cities here. Whew. We could divert some "corporate taxes" into FUNDING THE ARTS (Grants for Theatre Gael, an old favorite of mine(Theatre Gael has never gotten the attention it richly deserves.), as well as the hugely popular , but always under-funded, Actors' Express, Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern, 7 Stages, Synchronicity Theatre Group, True Colors, and Horizon Theatre)for heavens' sake.
btw, the Canadians are apparently quite fond of Delaware--one jeweler we met told us that Canadians come to Delaware to purchase Canadian(!) diamonds, because there is a 7% sales-tax on everything in Canada, and an additional "Luxury Sales Tax" on luxury items--like diamonds, of "14%"--which means they pay 21% total sales-tax on diamonds. So they buy in Delaware.
And kids, the "No Sales Tax" applies to all other big-ticket items, like computers and other electronics, too!
NEXT TIME I VISIT:
* Buy more clothing, possibly some jewelry(Not only diamonds, though--I'm more of a semi-precious-turquoise, or topaz kind of girl)
*See more lighthouses, up-close.
*Go see and hear that female impersonator who looks like Barbra Streisand. And has won many awards for her singing, too!She appears often at Cloud 9.
*Visit "The Seafood Shack" which is supposed to be great. It's a popular women/lesbian hangout, too!
I'll be posting links soon, at my List of Poets, Bloggers, and others, for more information on Delaware.

(Quick note on yesterday's Earth Day, visit:
www.oprah.com
for details on keeping the ocean clean, as well as other "Green" tips!)
Peace, kids.

5 comments:

Collin Kelley said...

Welcome back, Lisa. Sounds like a fun trip. Getting away on a road trip is always a good tonic for me.

poetwithadayjob said...

That's a fun trip! Me and L call the GPS lady a b*tch too, but when she tells us to U turn we say "the b*tch wants us to flip a b*tch!"

Selma said...

I've never used a GPS. I would mess it up for sure. I love everything about this trip - the Purple Parrot sounds like something from Gidget; and to find the sea glass is just awesome. Sounds like a wonderful time.

Lisa Allender said...

Collin--Hi honey! Yeah, new places inspire, always.I hear ya!
PWADJ--Hi Melissa! That's hilarious!
We really loved "navigating" withOUT the GPS-bit$%, but like I said, we "needed" "her" on the way home.
Selma--It's really easy to use. Really.
"Gidget"? What a marvelous point-of-reference there! It makes me wanna go rent "Gidget" movies. And those uh, kitsch-y Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello uh, "Beach Blanket Bingo" movies, too! ;)

Jennifer Zerby said...

Hi, Lisa ~

My husband and I run the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel and just stumbled upon your blog/post today.

Thank you for naming our Lobster Mac-and-Cheese as your favorite Rehoboth Beach meal! We hope to serve it to you again some time.

Take care & best wishes,
Jennifer