Apr 05

Places to Eat in Luray, VA

Having vacationated a couple times in Luray, Virginia, I now feel empowered to opine upon its consumables. Also, this seems like the best way to remember where I want to eat next time.

Tip: If you’re there on a holiday weekend, call your intended restaurant to make sure they’re keeping their posted hours. It’s a tiny town. Sometimes they apparently assume that no one is going to want to eat and just close early without warning. We assumed that restaurants would be open during their advertised hours, and that’s how we ended up at Uncle Buck’s. Don’t let it happen to you.

Places We’ve Eaten

  • Gathering Grounds
    Coffee bar and eat-in/carry-out cafe – delightful atmosphere, polite staff, fast service, yummy food.  Our favorite spot. The desserts are skippable, but the coffee and non-desserts more than make up it.
  • Artisans Grill
    Somewhat upscale food, a little heavy on the grease, and they didn’t have most of the advertised desserts (I normally don’t care, but the sign said pineapple carrot cake, I saved room, and then they crushed my hopes and dreams).  We ate here once and probably won’t again.
  • Uncle Buck’s Restaurant
    Just don’t.  Read Dar’s detailed TripAdvisor review and eat anything else you can lay hands on.

Places We Want to Eat

  • Shenandoah Kitchen
    The restaurant at The Victorian Inn, which looks like a completely innocuous small B&B from the outside, but apparently hides shiny noms inside.
  • Purple Door Cafe and Patisserie
    Another coffee and pastry shop and cafe. They too post nomsome-looking things on the Facebook. Maybe I shouldn’t go … they keep mentioning cinnamon rolls.
  • West Main Market
    Deli with some interesting sandwich options.
  • Fairview Grocery
    Apparently “grocery” means “deli” in Virginia, but the things they post on the Facebook look enticing. I really wanted a delicious homemade pulled pork BBQ sandwich, but we ended up checking out Artisans Grill instead (which, to be fair, also had homemade pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, but I still bear a pineapple carrot cake-related grudge).
  • Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant at the Mimslyn Inn
    I would be inclined to try this, but they don’t have anything my vegan travel companion can eat, so I’m unlikely to get to.


Jul 12

The cost of a car trip to Maine

From Greenbelt, Maryland to Cape Elizabeth, Maine (just south of Portland) is 539 miles and $23.43 in tolls (yes, some obstreperous place in New York charges a $1.43 toll — probably an encouragement to stop paying in cash).

The highest toll is at the George Washington Bridge in NYC — $6.

When I have a 10 hour drive to do, I find that I start out in a gas-conserving manner and lapse into I’m-tired-of-this-drive-as-fast-possible after a few hours, so I end up getting only about 45 miles to the gallon, varying a bit with how much I need to crank the A/C.

At $4 a gallon, that’s 12 gallons of gas, bringing the cost of a drive to Maine to $71.43. Cheaper than a plane or train, but it can be agonizing trip if you run into traffic and spend 2 hours going through NYC or inching down the NJ Turnpike because everyone in the entire world is getting off at exit 7 to go to the beach. My 5am trip north took 10 hours, and my 4am trip south took 13 hours.

Tip: Don’t buy gas at rest areas in Connecticut. It was $4.50 a gallon when I passed through yesterday. Zip through New York to New Jersey, where it was $4 a gallon (although you’re not allowed to pump it yourself, so you have to sit in a 10-car-deep line while a wholly disinterested Exxon employee pumps it for you).

Jul 08

Beyond the Beach

I walked to the end of Crescent Beach this morning and over the rocky outcroppings that mark its terminus. Beyond the beach, there is another beach. The rocky outcroppings are quite lovely, layered and full of color.

They’re also chock full of shells that are already clean and dry, unlike those on the beach. Walking down the coast by way of beaches and scrambling over rocks is my idea of a good time, but I hadn’t known that there was exploration to be had when I set out, so I’d only brought a bottle of water, and turning around when half of it was gone seemed the prudent course of action. By the time I was padding back up the beach, having been out only 45 minutes, the blasted sun was already giving me a headache. This is going to put a cramp in my wandering.