To Atlantic City and ATL, Part 3: Delaware, Mostly

Lewes/Cape Henlopen/Odessa, Delaware. Easton, Maryland. Philadelphia. Narragansett/Point Judith, Rhode Island (Map)

Summer 2016


Landing in Atlantic City, we were suddenly transported back to this part of the trip, and it was now time to catch a ferry. It would be a close call in terms of landing at the airport and getting to the ferry terminal, but it looked like we'd make it as we merged onto the Garden State Parkway.

We made it in plenty of time, especially without silly rules about getting to the ferry terminal 2 hours in advance. There was even enough time to leave the car and check out the well-stocked terminal that included mini golf, a pub and plenty of information on Delaware.

Ten minutes later, the horn would sound for us to return to our car and we were now leaving Cape May New Jersey. We were about to cut across Delaware Bay from the bottom of New Jersey to Lewes DE, since Shelloo hadn't seen Delaware or Maryland. This part of the trip also involved how much I enjoy reasonably priced ferries.

The top deck of the boat had a small bar with a friendly old-timer, one who made a strong gin & tonic and fished out an ice-cold Yuengling. The evening was warm enough to sit out on the deck, and with a cold lager and a good book while cruising past a New Jersey lighthouse, life was quite alright.

After docking, we had all of a 5 minute drive before we were at Cape Henlopen State Park. Inexplicably I didn't look up the price of a campsite here, so where we wanted to save money by camping, we were now paying $50 for a campsite when there were nearby motels for $70 or $80.

Everything would be okay though, since we had taken a spin into nearby Lewes and there was a promising Italian restaurant. I left Shelloo behind to make camp while I went out to pick up dinner, but we lost again as the pizza was a bland mediocre mass. Even the deep-fried zucchini bites sucked!

(I see this pizza place is now permanently closed.)

Continuing to build upon Shelloo's lovely first impressions of Delaware, we woke up about an hour into sleeping, realizing that the air mattress had deflated and we were on the ground. I tried to go into fix-it mode with sweat pouring off my forehead as I struggled to pump air into the punctured mattress. This then turned into a steady stream of sweat as I tried to tape the mattress. It was so humid that we eventually accepted defeat and slept on the ground.

We apparently suffered enough to appease Delaware by the next day, since we woke up to a fine morning and a beautiful sandy beach here at Cape Henlopen.

Now we were talking. I may not be the biggest beach guy, but there were also sparrows, Fish Crows and Gray Catbirds; as well as small ruins from Fort Miles.

Fort Miles included a series of observation towers, one of which was restored and open to the public. Curving up the stairs to the fenced-in top, Delaware spread out before us.

We left Cape Henlopen for downtown Lewes where there was a breakfast place along the main drag of old brick buildings.

The extraordinary building above is the Zwaanendael Museum, built in 1931 to mark the 300th anniversary of the first European settlement in Delaware - that is, the Dutch settling here in Lewes at a settlement called Zwaanendael. The museum building was based off the city hall in Hoorn, The Netherlands.

After breakfast we made our way down to the riverside park in Lewes to check out their restored lightship. For those who don't remember my Oregon updates, a lightship is basically a floating lighthouse used in areas where it is too dangerous or too difficult to build a normal lighthouse.

This ship was built in 1938 and stationed off of Cornfield Point (east end of Long Island) until 1957. It was then moved north to Cross Rip (near Martha's Vineyard) until 1962. The last place it would serve was 6 miles east of the famous Boston Light, for a total of 10 years.

This handsome house was across from the lightship and while taking pictures, the owner popped out and jokingly asked if I wanted to buy his house. I countered that I'd trade the house I currently live in, but he wasn't having it.

I dejectedly walked back to my car.

I'm always trying to defend places that people disparage - like Ohio, New Jersey or Delaware - but even I have to admit that the next hour was quite boring. Cutting west, we drove over mostly empty roads, only accented by the odd vinyl siding-clad, mid-century bungalow (none of which were glaringly abandoned).

It was all worth it as we entered Easton Maryland though, a handsome little town with narrow streets and plenty of red brick. If I was going to drive over to Maryland so Shelloo could get another state, I was going to pick a county seat and it seemed that I picked a good one.

The funny thing is that I liked Easton better as a town than I did their Talbot County Courthouse. Ah well, this was Maryland county courthouse #2 for me.

Easton was a bit hoity-toity for me, but since it wasn't overrun with people I was able to look past that and simply enjoy the setting.

In addition to stopping at a county seat, we drove on rural roads to get to the shores of Chesapeake Bay. Just outside of Easton the roads were boring with crappy big box plazas, but once we got out on the peninsulas jutting into Chesapeake Bay, it was pleasant farming lanes until our abrupt end at the little village of Claiborne.

I was hoping we'd see some unique bird down here, but none were to be found in the midday sun.

The next couple of hours brought us from one side of the Delmarva Peninsula to the other. Leaving Chesapeake Bay and grabbing Delawarean Wawa along the way, it was time for another Delaware lighthouse on the western side of this state.

Lighthouses here guided ships up Delaware Bay and the Delaware River to Philadelphia, Wilmington & Camden.

I was pretty excited to see the Reedy Island Range Rear Lighthouse because I'd never seen one of these American skeletal towers before. There are many throughout places like Florida and Wisconsin - including two in Michigan at Whitefish Point and Manitou Island - but this was the first one I'd ever stood before.

Canada has more modest skeletal towers, like the one I've seen in Pugwash Nova Scotia or the one I tried to see north of Fox Island River Newfoundland.

Reedy Island Range Rear was built in 1910 and is still an active lighthouse today (even though it felt like we were nowhere near the sea as we stood in this field). All of the outbuildings were sold to a private owner at some point, who then let them fall into dereliction. A 2002 fire would destroy the old keepers house and lead to the demolition of the old brick oil house.

As I stood there, I sized up the one remaining outbuilding, eventually deciding against wading into the grasses to explore the old barn.

The rest of the day was spent exploring Philadelphia, where Shelloo hadn't seen the Love Park letters, Rocky Statue, Liberty Bell or Independence Hall.

This was enough to work up an appetite, but unfortunately we wandered into this hipster bar where the unimpressed waitress was annoyed with helping us. Thankfully we didn't put up with her shit for long, leaving and happening upon a great little hole in the wall near Broad and Locust instead.

This new bar was small, dimly lit, featured wood grain paneling and was there since 1989. Best of all, we weren't being helped by some pretentious twat and were able to satisfy our otherworldly requests of a burger and beer while reacting to the PK Subban trade news.

I woke up early next morning to cruise around Philly on my bike and ride some good spots, especially the cellar doors that the east coast is known for. After hitting an awesome spot under the Ben Franklin Bridge, I went into Chinatown and found an amazing cellar door. Going back to grab my filmer, by the time we checked out/packed the car/navigated to the spot, the chefs were actually using the cellar. Bah!

We drove around Philly for a good hour in search of a different cellar door, until I ended up settling on a mediocre one outside a florist shop since we had to get going. (I then almost ran into some stairs while trying to be Chase Hawk with the style carves after diving into the cellar door.)

Searching for cellar doors was the greatest excitement of the day, as yet again we ended up on clogged interstates with stop and go traffic while trying to return through NY and CT. It was somehow just as bad as that second day and I'm now done with taking interstates in Connecticut. We even stopped at the biggest mall in Connecticut just for a break.

Lunch was at a Taco Bell in Greenwich Connecticut.

We ended up at Point Judith Rhode Island just as a fantastic sunset was coming to a close. I didn't realize the lighthouse here is one of those that's so paramount to American maritime safety that they can't let you on the grounds, so we looked at it through the fence but it doesn't count.

Dinner was at a little sandwich shack back in Galilee, with beers at the tavern next door afterwards. We were both pretty tired from driving & headed back to our Fishermen's Memorial State Park campsite soon after.

Continue to Part 4...


Go Back to the Main Page of this Website

To A.C. & ATL (Roadtrip 2016)

Part 1:
Getting There

(North Sydney, NS
to Atlantic City, NJ)

Part 2:
Seeing Turner Field
(Atlanta, GA)

Part 3:
Mostly Delaware
(Cape May, NJ to Point Judith, RI)
Part 4:
First Lights of Rhode Island
(Point Judith, RI to Newport, RI to Scituate, MA)
Part 5:

Sources: 1 - The Keeper Won't be Coming Home - Lighthouse Digest

< Older Update:
To Atlantic City & ATL
Part 1: Getting There

< Older Update:
An Extravagant Home Across The Bay
(Sunny Cottage, Bay d'Espoir)



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