Sunday, April 14, 2013

Traveling Solo with Detours

Is it possible to travel between Georgetown, Massachusetts and Florence, South Carolina without ever getting on Interstate 95? Of course it’s possible, but who would do that? I would. Traveling solo has its benefits. One of which is that I get to choose the route I take. So here are the some of the lessons I learned last week while on spring break.

The direct route on Interstate 95 can only be described as YUCK, boring and stressful. Everyone is in a hurry and the scenery leaves much to be desired. Road side stops along the interstate look the same regardless of what state you’re in: McDonalds, Burger King, Cracker Barrel, Dairy Queen, Dunkin’ Donuts, Exxon, BP, Flying J  . . . etc.  Nothing very story worthy along that route – just franchise city, loud trucks, highway backups and cranky travelers.

However, the route off, way off, Interstate 95 was wonderful!! Friends, beautiful country side, wineries, scenic vistas, happy travelers and stories along the way made all the difference. My GPS gave up “recalculating” and instead just said, “find your own damn way!” And I am ever so glad I did.

First stop was in Rockaway, New Jersey to visit my college roommate whom I hadn’t seen in nearly twenty years.  Deb and I met on the field hockey team at Hood College in 1982. Last week we reconnected over a Lacrosse game watching her son play. It seemed like just yesterday I heard her voice yelling in my ear from her goalie position, and now I could hear her yelling from the sidelines cheering her son on the same way she cheered her team on years ago. It seems the lapse in years make no difference between friends; we just picked up our stories where we had left off and filled in the gaps in between.

Next stop – Unionville, Maryland and a visit with my dear friend Margie. Stories and conversations at the Black Ankle Vineyards sure beats a “drive thru” franchise stop off I95. The picture perfect farm lands in Maryland and Virginia are well worth the trip. There is a slow and peaceful pace through those rolling hills that permeates one’s soul.

After leaving family and friends behind I continued my solo journey south, toward home. I had fallen into the slow, peaceful pace of travel and was in no rush to get back to the hurried pace of “normal” life.  So I guess it wasn’t surprising that after a walk around the beautiful Lazy Days Winery when I spotted a sign that said, “Natural Bridge” next exit, I took a little detour. I have always wanted to see the Natural Bridge but each time I’ve traveled passed it I have had other travelers with me who were not so inclined toward scenic detours. But traveling solo has its benefits. I took the scenic detour.

WOW! Scenic vistas, winding roads, mountain rivers, spring flowers and the Natural Bridge.  My soul was singing and my GPS just said, “you’re right . . . this route is WAY better”. Indeed it was and here is what I learned along the way:
1. Friends are priceless.

2. A wine tasting and walk at a local winery is a great “rest stop” that beats any franchise “drive thru”.

3. Traveling is all about the journey, not the destination – take the scenic route.

So is it possible to travel between Georgetown, Massachusetts and Florence, South Carolina without ever getting on Interstate 95? Absolutely! And I highly recommend it.
Cheers! It's time to start planning my next trip . . . but perhaps not planning is better. See you on the road . . .
Don't drink and drive . . . walk and wander the wineries & take a bottle home, pop the cork and savor the stories found along the way  :)

And if you're visiting my neck of the woods, check out one of my favorite spots: La Belle Amie Vineyards