There is a well-planned itinerary for this trip; I do enjoy logistics. I knew even as I plotted and charted my way across the laminated US map in our little den in Boston, that I would want to allow for spontaneity. There was a diversion from the route on just day four. I hadn’t intended to visit Longwood Gardens or to linger for three hours in its beauty. It was shortly after I got into the car and loaded the map for Harper’s Ferry that I realized, time was my enemy. It would be difficult, near impossible to drive to Harper’s Ferry, visit the sights I had intended to see and then continue on to DC arriving by 6:00pm for a symposium at The George Washington University that my niece and her colleagues were hosting. I was not going to be late.
It was time to change plans and I easily rationalized to myself that it would make more sense to continue my voyage down the East Coast rather than heading to WVA, which is really in another region of the country. I would finish my Mid-Atlantic journey and arrive in our Nation’s Capitol in a timely fashion.
Leaving Longwood, I headed south making stops at the University of Delaware in Newark and Havre de Grace, Maryland. The UD’s Georgian-inspired red brick buildings make for a beautiful campus. And I learned this fun fact: UD had the first study abroad program in the US. The home of the Blue Hens is a bustling college town with a lively main street. My lunch stop was at the Melt Down, open just the week before. Comfort food or as I call it, Family Table food, is filling menus at many restaurants. This joint was the crossroads of lunch made by Mom and a Wegman’s cheese counter. My baja sandwich with avocado, tomato, chicken, salsa and of course, cheese(Monterey) was delicious.
Hopping on I-95, I drove that oh-so-familiar highway to the first exit south of the Susquehanna River bridge to visit the little town of Havre de Grace. I’ve seen this little town from the Amtrak Acela train as it speeds across the Susquehanna River and I’ve always been curious to visit. What a gem, a town so proud of its War of 1812 history as it sits where the Susquehanna flows into the Chesapeake Bay. There are town parks along both bodies of water and I watched as the Acela raced across the bridge.
Arriving at GW’s Mount Vernon’s campus, I listened to Vinca LeFluer discuss her years as a speech writer for Bill Clinton with 70 freshmen women. It was telling when the first question was related to Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In. Vinca shared her experience and didn’t touch too much on the sensitive Mommy Wars issues. I couldn’t help think about my own choice to be home these past twenty years and now my change from a full-time to a more seasonal position as mom, has me asking, what I shall do next? Oh, I know . . . drive the Lower 48!
And, getting back to when I’ll visit West Virginia; that will be a good logistical puzzle for me to solve.