Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Road Trip Continued: Halloween en Route

.. or en croute?

They'd have tasted better if they hadn't, in the American way, been overloaded with cinnamon. All Hallows' Eve was in preparation everywhere, not least at this pretty farm market in Biscoe, North Carolina (even if the "local" produce included plums from California).


Come back soon me dearies!

She'd better not visit Troy, further down the road, where there was some witch-dunking in progress. (See the top of her hat.)

And on the steps of a restaurant in Crystal River, Florida, a sheepish-looking  waiter.

Meanwhile, back in Western NY, they seem to go for this sort of thing.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Road Trip Continued: Over and Under

 We motored down the Delmarva peninsula (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia - get it?) overnighting in quaintly named Pokemoke City, then on down for our long-awaited tryst with one of the marvels of modern America, the  ....

It's the sort of thing people try to tell you about but you really can't understand it until you experience it. First the bridge - see it there, faintly in the distance....

Not really a bridge, although it has a couple of arches but a causeway on stubby stilts

There's the northward lane on the left.

All stretching for miles across the broad expanse of Chesapeake Bay, famous for crabs and brown curly-coated Chesapeake Bay retrievers. Hubby remembers sailing there one sultry summer, battling his way through a soup of green jellyfish. Today was a day of white-caps and wind and wheeling seagulls.

First opened in 1964 and widened in the 1990s, 17.5 miles long,shore to shore,  the Bridge-Tunnel is also, apparently, one of the "seven engineering wonders of the world".

 He's probably heading for Florida, towing his car behind a giant RV. A familiar sight when you're going south in October.

 And there, coming up in the distance..

Is the first tunnel..
 Down we go...

 Into the fantastical depths

 And out the other side

 Where it's a bridge again

 Until the second tunnel

At the end of which is a fishing pier and of course a gift shop.

And one of the weirdest views in America - the gap between the two rocky places is where the tunnel lies buried in the depths.

 There's the far end, looking north, with the bridge behind.

As ships wait to go through the gap.

There's one of those slot-machine telescope things, just like Southend.

And people fishing on the pier, wrapped up against the wind.

And finally, ahead, dry land again, the mainland of Virginia.

There's a 12 dollar toll but what's that for an unforgettable experience? Better than a roller-coaster any day.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Wow, a HIGH Street!

Not a MAIN street.. You will appreciate that this is very unusual in America.

It all adds to the English feel, especially as this place was called Cambridge.

 It had the Dorchester too, though, in this case, I believe, it was a hospital, not a hotel.

Cambridge-on-the-Water, perhaps, though not a punt in sight.

These houses were on a cobbled street but did look a little more American.

Porches, rocking chairs, wicker - the works.  American beauty. And we've seen houses like these in so many places. One of the best things about avoiding the motorways, sorry, Interstates, is coming upon them.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Back in England

Kind of.  Easton, Maryland made me feel quite homesick, it seemed so like an English market town.

 And it was drizzling with rain too, to add to the effect.

But on the other hand, perhaps it wasn't so English...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Annapolis Awash


Now sister-in-law and I, on our way south, really wanted to see Annapolis, Maryland, America's Dartmouth. But things didn't quite go to plan. For a start, the famous old Naval Academy town and state capital, with its quaint historic buildings, was packed to the gunnels with tourists, smart young cadets in trim uniforms, marching bands in kilts on their way to somewhere and cars, cars, cars. The one car park we could find charged 20 dollars - academic (sorry) since it was full anyway. So the only chance of a shot of Maryland's venerable state capitol was through the windscreen.

Likewise the picturesque houses.

And streets reminiscent of a London Mews.

So much for a quick tour of the Academy and a stroll around town.

 We did manage to park briefly and possibly illegally, to grab a coffee and a snack for lunch at the first place we saw. There were hot dogs inside.

(Chili on the left, Reheboth on the right...)

And cool dogs outside.

 Pubs, taverns and shoppes

 This house looked very nautical

We'll have to come back some less busy day, though I have my doubts that such a thing exists in Annapolis. Or on the other hand, perhaps there was a football match on and its's normally like the Marie Celeste. Oh well, such are the trials of road trips.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And America's First Cathedral

The Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, built in the early 19th century. The architect was one of America's finest, Benjamin Latrobe. He wanted a very American cathedral, with no "European" Gothic stuff, its dome inspired by the US Capitol in Washington. It would celebrate the new Constitution and the right to freedom of religion, by which Catholics would no longer, officially at least, be a persecuted minority. 

The first Bishop, John Carroll, was a cousin of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. A few years ago, the Cathedral was restored to its original design, airy, spare and elegant, with those wonderful old-fashioned white wooden pews.

According to the self-guided walking tour, this was once the slave balcony.

 The Bishop's throne, the Cathedra.

There is a new altar, for the new form of Mass, facing the people.

But fortunately, unlike a lot of churches, they've kept the old one too.

The cathedral is famous for its angels.

Pope John Paul ll visited twice. On display is the Papal Umbrella, used for solemn processions.

And here's Cardinal James Gibbons' tasselled hat.

Sadly we saw it in a great rush - we had to be back on the road and we'd run out of quarters for the parking meter.  But better to see it in a rush than not at all.