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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Top Ten: Mid-Atlantic Drives

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.


Anonymous said...

11.The Kancamagus Highway from Conway NH. to Lincoln/Woodstock NH. Thru the White Mts. with brewpubs at both ends!
Joe Meloney

Lew Bryson said...

Definitely would have put that on if I was doing New England! We just did that one last summer, and through the notches, too...Gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Opps!...Note to self:....Refrain from answering blogs until COMPLETELY awake!

MyBeer Buzz said...

My vote goes for #7, but don't forget to first swing out to Manteo for a Black Radish @ Weeping Radish.

okbrewer said...

YEAH! Jersey Shore makes number one on someones list! I gotta get back there sometime soon, it is really pretty around there.

Bob R in OKC but born in Jersey Shore

Deuane said...

Lew, love your #1 pick....Rt 44 is one of my favorite state routes. While I cannot say that the run up to Coudersport isn't nice.....

Personlly I would break off 44 at Waterville (make sure to hit the Waterville Hotel for a Ying-Ling and a Mountain Burger or Black Forest Ham Sandwich) and then head north on Rt 414 into the heart of the Pine Creek Gorge through the scenic little hamlets of Cammal, Slate Run(with the Hotel Manor), Cedar Run(with the Cedar Run Inn) and Blackwell(with the Blackwell Hotel). Classic mountain scenery and small town bar heaven in does not get much better!

Lew Bryson said...

Dropping by the Weeping Radish is pretty much de rigeur, and a great way to punctuate that drive.

Bob-O, the run up Larry's Creek from Jersey Shore is great, too, or coming over the mountain from Allenwood and into JS from the east. It's all good.

Deuane, thanks for the hotel tips, have to check those out. I'm usually on family patrol when we do that drive, which often doesn't fit too well with hotel bars.

Anonymous said...

Another suggestion

For those in Western PA, a scenic drive through Amish county take route 208 in New Wilmington, PA onto Route 250 into Slippery Rock, PA and end up at North County Brew Pub.

Anonymous said...

I was on 44 just today driving south from route 6 in Sweden Valley. The drive is stunning---but--- Penndot needs to do some serious work on this road- there are portions where entire bits of the road side are gone- it's not just backroadishly cute anymore- it needs to be repaired.
We also drove up the west shore of Seneca Lake this weekend- it's a beautiful area and the number of wineries on NY 14 boggles the mind.

Lew Bryson said...

Sad news about 44, Bill. The Finger Lakes routes almost made the list: beautiful country.

Sean Lilly Wilson said...

WRT to the Outer Banks, just be sure you're going to the new Weeping Radish Eco-Farm and Brewery in Jarvisburg...the Manteo location closed last year.


North Carolinian by way of Washington Crossing

Lew Bryson said...

Thanks for that tip!

Deuane said...

Lew stated....Deuane, thanks for the hotel tips, have to check those out. I'm usually on family patrol when we do that drive, which often doesn't fit too well with hotel bars.

That's cool all three mentioned Slate Run(with the Hotel Manor), Cedar Run(with the Cedar Run Inn) and Blackwell(with the Blackwell Hotel) are family friendly. The Hotel Manor and The Blackwell Hotel have a great decks and the Cedar Run Inn is rather upscale...almost "French" like! Heck even the Waterville Hotel is more of a restaurant more than an old-timey dive bar.

Cjeck em out if you wont be disappointed.

Bill said...

I went to college at Colgate Univ., so the US-20 run is imprinted in my memory -- got to do part of it last fall, and the changes were minor. And the spur to Cooperstown is nice, too.

And I know it doesn't count, but I lived in North Conway for seven years, and have to back Joe Meloney on the Kancamagus! Even in the pre-brewpub days, that was a great drive!

Anonymous said...

"PA Rt. 44 from Jersey Shore, PA to Coudersport, PA. Classic upstate Pennsylvania"

Ah, Lew... You've got to get this out of your vocabulary! There is no "upstate Pennsylvania."

Northern Tier, PA Wilds, north of I-80, but never upstate Pennsylvania. Save that for New York.

Lew Bryson said...

God, you guys are as bad as Jersey people... Hey, I used "upstate" in the PA books for over 10 years now, and that's the first complaint I've had. It's useful, so I'm using it! And, of course, I get to decide where "upstate" begins. So...I say it's anything inside the area defined by I-83 to the west and I-78 to the north, and I admit that there's some pretty upstatey stuff in there, but a guy's gotta draw the line somewhere. Oh, and outside a line drawn 20 miles around The Point in Pittsburgh. Yup. Done.

Let the screaming begin.