The monthly not-usually-drink-related Lew's Top Ten. I like scenic drives, usually on two-lane roads. When I'm faced with getting from here to there, and time is not crucial, I much prefer to go over hill and dale on secondary roads. You see more, and the diners and stores aren't so same-same-same. These are some of my favorite finds; as always, this is an unranked list.
1. PA Rt. 44 from Jersey Shore, PA to Coudersport, PA. Classic upstate Pennsylvania: small towns, swooping curves and hills through the woods, and a hunting camp around every corner. Alternately, the run up Rt. 287 to Wellsboro is also very nice.
2. NY Rt. 20 from Esperance to Richmond Springs, then down Otsego Lake -- the Glimmerglass -- to Cooperstown. I first drove this when doing the research for New York Breweries, and the long vistas north of Rt. 20 were entrancing, while the run down to Cooperstown was both visually and historically breath-taking. Having Ommegang and Cooperstown Brewing so close doesn't hurt, either.
3. NY Rt. 28 from Kingston to Big Indian, through the Catskills. Nothing like it on a warm summer day, with big clouds building over the Catskills. The first time I drove this was just magical.
4. The Skyline Drive, from Front Royal to Waynesboro, VA. History unfolds: Jackson's Valley campaign, Phil Sheridan's destruction of the Shenandoah, and the healing of the CCC. Or you can just go for the view, which is tremendous, especially at 35 mph. Relax.
5. PA Rt. 22 from Lewistown to Mundy's Corner, then down to Johnstown on Rt. 271. Long runs along the ridges, and a few roller-coaster rides over them. Too bad Johnstown Brewing closed, it was a nice bookend to this trip.
6. From Fortress Monroe to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, up Rt. 13 to Rt. 175 and out to Chincoteague. The Bay Bridge-Tunnel is worth every dollar I've ever paid to cross it. The technological wonder, the isolation in fog, the excitement of seeing the battleship Iowa curving about at high speed in the bay and the quiet power of a nuclear attack sub slipping out on the surface one foggy afternoon. Eastern Shore is a world apart, and Chincoteague even more so.
7. From Kitty Hawk down to Ocracoke City on the Outer Banks. This is my idea of "going down the shore:" 20 people on the spotless beach, a fun little town to visit if I want, and a free ferry for moonlight cruises. Yes, sir.
8. North through Letchworth State Park, then up Rt. 39 to Geneseo. Wait till the Genesee is at high water and run this one: the falls are awesome, the winding roads exciting. The run up 39 to Geneseo will take you out on glacial plateaus that look over miles of lowlands.
9. The Lake Run in the Adirondacks: Indian Lake to Blue Mountain Lake, up to Long Lake and swing around to Tupper Lake, in to Saranac Lake and on to Lake Placid (then wind it up with a trot down to Keene Valley to the Noon Mark Diner for some pie...).
10. Along the Delaware River, from Washington Crossing State Park on PA Rt. 32/Rt. 611 to Easton, PA. It's great to do this scenic and historic drive on a foliage-lit fall afternoon, have dinner and a couple excellent beers in Easton, and then return at night with a full moon reflecting off the river. Beautiful.