Sunday, April 19, 2015

Travel advice

I've not spent much time out east (a half day in DC, half day at Harvard, a visit to colonial Williamsburg back in '74). Right now we're puzzling about what sorts of things one could stop and see along legs of a trip from Louisville to Richmond and from Richmond to Pittsburg. (We know Madison to Louisville well enough, and Pittsburg back is a long haul without stops.) Skyline Drive looks beautiful but precipices kind of weird me out. Once in Richmond we're planning to spend a day or so in Colonial Williamsburg and maybe Jamestown, so we have that part covered.

Probably stopover in Charleston on the first leg--not sure what's around there. One suggestion for the second leg was Gettysburg.

Ideas are welcome.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

I would have been in Williamsburg for your last visit, as I graduated in '75 and was there through the previous summer.

Tripadvisor usually gives a good feel for what is worth your time, but I can add a bit: The Wren Building is not symmetrical - off by one brick's width. I have never heard an explanation nor even seen it acknowledged. If you are there Sunday, friends of mine go to Williamsburg Fellowship. Wandering old campus is fun, even without a plan, as is the restored area colonial area after dark. Evocative. You may remember from my Wayfaring series that CW is oriented E-W, but everything else on the peninsula is NW-SE, which makes it hard to hold where you are in space. It's touristy, but there is a large advantage that the history is well-researched.

Going across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel pulls you to a completely different world, Delmarva. I don't say I recommend it, but if you are looking for something different you could do that, and even take the ferry to Cape May in NJ and cross all of PA to go to Pittsburg.

PA highways are always under construction. Check in advance which ones are going to give you 50 straight miles of one-lane Jersey Barriers.

Skyline is nice. It has escapes every ten miles or so. Pick at least one spot where you know you are going to cross the Appalachian trail and pull over, just to walk a 1/4 mile or so. (After dark, 100 yards will do fine.)

I would go 30 minutes out of my way to see Centralia, PA, but no more. Mildly interesting. Amish country can be appreciated without stopping, simply by taking secondary highways for an hour or two.

I did finally learn that even though traffic is lighter after dark, the whole country looks the same on the Interstates. Exit 20: Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, Taco Bell. Get up early to drive and go to bed early to compensate.

I have loved the website Road Food to give you ideas where you might stop to eat. The best method is to have a list of possibles, not definites. When traveling, schedules and mealtimes move without warning, and it's better not to force it. Yet one can reroute mildly to put 2 or 3 interesting possibles in range and then just take serendipity.

I think serendipitous eating is one of the great pleasures of travel, now that I think of it. But chance favors the prepared mind.

james said...

Wonderful ideas! Nothing like hearing from someone who's been there.

There's an Amish community somewhat north of us, with a nice bakery that we visit whenever we can.

There were undoubtedly many tour groups at CW, so you probably won't remember a large group of college freshman missionary kids visiting from Richmond one Saturday. For a change I remember the day of the week, because of a young lady's smile and the resulting musical score for the day: "Come Saturday Morning". CW was a fascinating place too: Old World Wisconsin on steroids.

I'll have to look up Road Food.

Uncle Bill said...

I am probably too late for this, but if you haven't made the trip yet...
Charleston is not really a tourist town. But, the Capitol building is fabulous, and worth an hour or so to walk around the interior and exterior.
The Culture Center museum (in the large square building next to the Capitol) is very good. If you are interested in state history, you might enjoy that.
The Clay Center (closer to downtown) has a mediocre art museum (in my opinion) but a nice kids science center, if you have kids along. Check hours before you come.