It’s my last full day before the car return. (Boo!)
I wanted to give a little tour of this amazing 2012 Honda Hybrid Civic that’s been so good to me over the past couple weeks:
It’s a good thing I love this car so much because I sure have spent a lot of time in it stuck in traffic the past few days!
I thought I’d have a bunch of wander time in the Big Apple tonight, but by the time we spent all afternoon on the Jersey Turnpike and actually getting in to the city, there was only time for dinner and bed. (I have a very early rise time to catch the ferry in the morning to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.) I had to squeeze in at least one NYC landmark food spot, so as suggested by a friend;Â Lombardi’s Pizza it was. (America’s first pizzeria!)
Tomato, basil and the freshest, most delicious mozzarella you could eat on a pie. Mmmm…
All in all most of today was spent in transit, but even a few hours in NYC is a thrill and energy feed that I will take any day. (Not to mention the pizza treat!)
In the morning I go to the top voted spot Honda Fans picked from the Honda Facebook poll and I am thrilled! What a perfect way to end this incredible trip. Thank you again to everyone who voted!
***Total miles driven today, day 17: 117
***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 2,778
***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 26
I don’t even know where to begin on this zany, crazy, fun, feast of a stop.
My “plan” for today (once again, plans when I travel seem silly to even bother to make most the time) was to explore at least a couple food spots friends and readers had suggested around the City of Brotherly Love before we hit up the Honda Civic Tour show. I usually like to eat a little here a little there- like a smorgasbord of a city so I can fit it a bunch in when I only have a short time in a place. Well, that was so not happening after our entire afternoon at Koch’s Deli in West Philly. (And I cannot tell you how 110% Ok I was with that!)
Let the best kind of madness began:
…and then we went inside:
Surprises left and right, me stuffing my face again, (Mom- aren’t you proud?) and so much happening I couldn’t keep my head on straight. (Actually, that’s probably because I was on a cheese and pickle high.) Ezra continued to stuff everyones face as he lovingly heckled not only us, but allllll the customers. We made friends with everyone around us including Brita in the orange sweatshirt who was, like my friend Jocelyn- a “virgin” first-timer to Koch’s:
In case you don’t know this, I can eat. (Review above videos and nearly every post I write.) I’m not afraid of some food and a 5 mile run after to work it all off, but my god I ate more food standing in line at Koch’s than I eat at Thanksgiving sometimes! I had about 62 kinds of cheese, 342 pickles and I’m sure equal amounts of meat. Ezra was scolding me to “eat, eat, eat!”- so I threw vegetarian life to the wind and went in head first in a carnivore-fest. I tried pastrami types and random beef something or other. Meats I would never ever usually touch, have never eaten before, or haven’t tried in 10 years. It was out of control and I was in the moment going all the way. At Koch’s there’s something in the air that makes you want to scream NIKE!- and just do it. So I did. The overall vibe and scene in this place is a come, eat, laugh, and whoop it up. You can’t be shy here. I love that. It’s very clear by the hundreds of photos and notes covering the walls that lots of others love it too:
I finally got myself organized from the sensory overload, to order my hoagie: Honey turkey, onion-cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, sweet peppers and oil and vinegar:
Did Ezra slice it right there and make me try with yet another pickle? You bet he did!
Then he gave me a smooch:
…and I gave him a blue lollipop:
Of course I left blue lollies for the other staff too. Barbie (who actually was the one who made my sandwich) and Bryce who was slicing and dicing behind the counter. When Bryce heard I was driving a Honda he grinned, piped up and said excitedly: “Hey! My first car was a 1991 Accord and it had 300,000 miles on it!” Meet Bryce, fellow Honda fan:
After meeting the whole staff, talking to the regulars, and eating what seemed like ten thousand samples of meats and cheeses, we collected our sandwiches, said our goodbye’s and out the door for a wrap up video. You guessed it, the surprises were not over:
Oh Koch’s- I will so be back! You might go down in history as my most favorite sandwich experience ever. Thank you Ezra, Barbie and Bryce for such a great afternoon.
Naturally I wanted to check out all the Honda stuff, so we wandered to where the Civic Si CoupeÂ giveaway was. (Custom designed by the guys of Blink 182):
Did I sign up to win it? Heck yeah! Then I got tattooed up for the night:
As we wandered the masses before the show started, I spotted this little rocker dude and had to ask his mom if I could take a picture. Meet Ricky:
How adorable is he trying to be all tough with his mohawk?!
We found our seats and the show was about to begin:
Opening act Matt & Kim came on and got the crowd riled up:
They were hilarious! A sassy duo you would totally want to hang with and get into a little trouble. There couldn’t have been a better opener leading up to the show, starting with My Chemical Romance:
This show was my first time hearing much of these guys. They were awesome, the crowd loved them, and was excited to find another band to be a fan of! Blink 182 still had my heart though:
(Crush time!) Yep, I am still carrying a crush I had over 10 years ago that started after seeing them at a music festival in Upstate, NY. I picked an old-school song of course, to go with my old-school crush.
The amphitheater was packed and the crowd was on their feet and just going nuts the whole show. (We were too!) It was SO MUCH FUN. Being there made me feel like I wanted to be a rock star and wonder why I don’t go to more concerts. Thanks Honda! The guys announced on stage that this was the biggest show crowd on the whole tour and I got to be there thanks to you- yeah!
What’s the best surprise after jumping around all night screaming and singing with thousands of strangers and being exhausted as you sit bumper to bumper trying to get out of an after-concert parking lot? Koch’s Deli leftovers to nosh on! Mmmm…midnight snack. We were so glad we had those. What a day. Talk about going to bed full, exhausted and smiling…
Tomorrow I head to NYC to be close to the ferry for my final day Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty tour!
***Total miles driven today, day 16: 53
***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 2,661
***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 25
As I mentioned in my last post, it was clear a few days ago that the Honda Facebook poll and all of you readers here had voted in the winning place for me to visit by a landslide (Statue of Liberty.) I looked at the two runners up (Kitty Hawk, NC and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse) and thought- why not go to all three? So North Carolina or bust!
Just rolling in, I am one Happy girl:
(Great face I have right where YouTube froze me in this video, right? If you can’t laugh at yourself…)
Kitty Hawk welcomes me and the loaned BLR-Mobile!
(Have I mentioned how much I love this Hybrid Civic and the fact I am getting on average 42.9 mpg? You know I love saving $ on gas and being thrifty in general. This car rules on saving me and helping me afford this trip! I can’t believe I only have 5 days left on the road. Tear…)
The endless dunes don’t even look like they could be real! From the top you can see the ocean and the sound- which feels surreal:
See those long skinny white things on the bottom-left of the photo? Yep, those are forÂ hang gliding lessons that are available to take on the dunes. How cool and fun does that sound?
I sat and stared at the ocean and the sound for a while just taking it all in. The sun started to set:
…and got more and more pink:
Jockey’s Ridge is a must do and the sunset in person is so much better than any photo or video could be! Next time you plan a beach vacation put OBX, NC on your list of to-go-to’s if you haven’t been here before. This undoubtedly my favorite beach area in USA. There’s something to be said for how clean it is, the fact that it hasn’t been taken over by a million neon lights, and that there’s mile after magnificent mile of uninterrupted sandy space for relaxing and playing. I heart OBX forever!
…and a fresh veggie press sandwich on homemade bread. (Oops! I gobbled it up and forgot to take a photo. I guess you’ll just have to trust me that is was delicious. So delicious that I forgot about my camera.)
WIFI, microbrew, and eats recommended by a local was the perfect night office Â I needed so I could get some of my work done. (Thanks Steph!)
Tomorrow it’s more beach exploring: Kitty hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, and making my way to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The weather is supposed to be even more warm and sunny than usual in September here so perfect timing…
Thanks for all the votes to send me here!
***Total miles driven today, day 12: 215
***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 1,960
***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 20
…so of course I asked Owner Clay if I could video tape him and ask a few questions:
I love his hat. What a total character Admiral Clay was. So genuine, that in itself made me want to buy sandwiches from him. (Which we did and they were fresh and delicious!) My favorite thing Clay said after the camera stopped rolling was that when people asked him why in the world he wanted to do what he does, he answers: “Where else can you look out and see five or six thousand smiling face?”
Amen to that and thanks Clay! It was nice to meet you and I will indeed look your daughter up in Chicago.
How fun would it be to have an old school bus as a food “truck”?
Meet Michael (left) and Max (right), the sandwich makers:
…of course fully Beatles branded to complete the Yellow Submarine package:
I continued to wander with the festival crowd:
…had a sip of apple dessert wine:
…and some rose’:
Erik (above left) was wandering and offered me a glass so I accepted. This was after I was already talking to Ken (left) about his fancy shirt he had on. (Robert Graham I learned.) Why not bring two strangers together with me to take a picture?Â (They happened to know common people by the way because turns out they were both Army guys) Good times with random strangers once again.
My last day around the Portland area today was a fantastic one. To kick it off in a most lovely scene:
By now you all know that wandering and stopping at random roadside spots to talk to strangers or nosh on something delicious is one of my favorite hobbies. So how excited was I when fabulous local (Shay) took me to meet a Lobsterman who lives right next to her house in Scarborough:
Exactly what you’d picture but even nicer, meet the man who catches the delicious fresh dinner so many love:
I had absolutely no idea the amount of work, training, certification, waiting, etc. that went into Lobstering. This is why I love doing what I do. I’m alway learning there is an art, a patience, and mad skill to everything- and I’m constantly meeting such interesting and driven people! Eric prepping piles of buoys as we chatted:
A photo of his boat from inside the shack:
The tank full and ready for purchase:
Up close for you lobster lovers!
Apparently Eric cooks the lobster for guests too and gets everything table ready so you just sit down and eat! Right next to the shack is his vegetable garden as well. This guy does it all and he couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming. To top it off there was a big ol’ sweet brown dog named Sam who was lingering around to make the whole scene picture perfect:
A friendly and hard-working Lobsterman in an LL Bean t-shirt, a shack with rocking chairs outside with a trap as a side table, a happy dog, and a beautiful Maine afternoon; Awesome. Thanks for the tour and time Eric!
After lobster time, my tour guide Shay whisked me off to Dean’s Sweets; A chocolate shop. (Go figure!):
We walked in and chatted with a nice woman inside (Dean’s wife) who fed us some delicious samples:
Dark chocolate salt caramels. (Jackpot!) Just when we were about to leave, in walked Dean himself. I told him I loved his chocolates and in conversation, I mentioned that Honda had loaned me a car to go on an adventure and that’s what had brought me in his store. His face lit up and he told me he drove a Honda. I looked out the window and there it was; A very loved, very well-used and appreciated Honda Accord Wagon. Naturally that got me excited so we had to go out and see:
Thanks for letting me squeeze in a video of you and your car for Blue Lollipop Road Dean! Even more, thanks for being a fellow chocolate and Honda lover! It’s a good life eh?
After I totally geeked out about that serendipitous meeting, we crossed the street to Duckfat for some of their famous fries:
…with a side of truffle ketchup:
I know right? Truffle ketchup?! Yeah- it was that good. (Thanks to reader Eliza for the suggestion! Yum!) I had to of course have a cold Allagash White, to pair with the fries. Allagash is brewed in Portland:
I thought Duckfat’s sandwich board sign was funny:
The noshing afternoon continued on to Caiola’s which has an incredible outside back patio, complete with table around giant tree in the middle of it:
The must-have at Caiola’s? Polenta fries I was told:
That is polenta fries with smoked paprika, cheddar cheese and a tomato and Red Pepper relish. Holy motherload. I know I have talked about a lot of food, and I rave and rave about lots of de-lish things, but I am telling you this dish is one of the top 5 things I have ever eaten when it comes to restaurant appetizers. Maybe it’s because sharp, sharp white cheddar is my absolute favorite cheese, maybe it’s because red peppers are one of my favorite veggies. I don’t know. Either way those polenta fries were so smack-yo-mamma good I had quite a moment eating them. If you live in, are going to, or might ever go to Portland Maine- run, don’t walk to Caiola’s for this plate of heaven.
Stuffed and happy with fries and chocolate, we headed to catch the sunset at the Black Point Inn. This was the view as we relaxed in big white chairs from the lawn:
I just sat there thinking to myself how beautiful the scene was, and how we all probably could use to stop and watch the sunsets a little more. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe sights like this are free. Quite a scenic way to wrap up yet another fun and interesting day on the road.
Thanks for being such a fabulous tour guide Shay!
Tomorrow? Oh yeah- you know it! I am off to meet the one and only Million Mile Joe. I’ve been looking forward to this for months and can’t wait to share stories, photos and video here.
***Total miles driven today, day 8: 75
***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 868
***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 12
…and then was off to Freeport for a dessert breakfast. (Hey, custard has milk in it, right? I think that’s a completely acceptable way to start the day!)
Off to Mainely Custard I went to take a peek behind the scenes of what keeps Owner Deb and her staff busy, and what keeps customers coming back for more. Talk about feeling like a kid in a candy store! I was one happy camper getting schooled:
I had a run at making a waffle cone and found out very quickly that I shouldn’t quit my day job. I am SO much better at eating the cones, rather than making them:
…so that’s just what I did, after I had it filled with chocolate malt custard and topped with my favorite of all time krunch kote:
(That’s Marcia Wiggins and I. She’s my new friend and whoopie pie extraordinaire. Talk about crack each other up! We have had way too much fun together these past two days. I think we may have been separated at birth.)
Thanks to “Super Scoopers” Katie and Hope, and Owner Deb for schooling me and being part of the Blue Lollipop Road Adventure!
The day turned sunny and gorgeous, a perfect backdrop for a trip back to the lighthouse I went for a run by this morning. Portland Head Light:
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I know right- is that fake? Unbelievably gorgeous! That blue sky, the water crashing and the sound of the fog horn- I had to make a video:
(That’s F-R-E-E. I really can spell:)
I cannot say enough that if you have never been to New England in the summer or fall it is a must do for a road trip. Hop in the car and go live in that that brochure life for a week or two. (Yes, it really is all that charming and quaint.) Stop at the roadside farm stands. (Sweet corn, apples and honor boxes!) Talk to the local sitting next to you on that stool in the diner. (He’s lived at least 88 years and has some hilarious and intriguing stories!) Wander into that Mom-and Pop shop. (Handmade/homemade/fresh-made gifts rock!) Go for a bike ride down a country dirt road. (Relax without your crackberry for a few hours!) Take a hike in the woods.(Maybe even lay in a field for a few minutes!) Sound good? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Tomorrow is another day wandering about The Vacationland. Million Mile Joe and I will be hanging in a little over 24 hours. I’ve taken it easy on my fabulous loaned Civic thus far in the miles department (at only near 800 after 7 days, that is very low for me) so after I meet Joe, I might have to let you in on a little secret about how I am going to rack up some serious mileage before the end of this current journey. (Now is the time right? I have an uber economical hybrid!)
***Total miles driven today, day 7: 68
***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 793
***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 12
Fun and wide open is how we roll in Vermont. Leave it to the one and only Ben & Jerry’s to create and launch a flavor like Schweddy Balls. I’m laughing, I’m loving it, and I can’t wait to try some in my next Vermontster!
Hat’s off to you Ben & Jerry’s for always being fearless.
Whoa nelly was today a fun day! One of those days where I just think as I sit here to type this at 1am- somebody pinch me! Life is oh so good. I wake up after a great visit with a childhood friend, get to drive this fantastic car that Honda has loaned me, I step behind the scenes of a delicious treat of a company and help make whoopie pies, and get to meet another truly amazing person who I’ve laughed and enjoyed every second with. (And there’s still so much more to come!)Â For anyone who thinks life can’t be exactly what you want it to be, I am here to tell you to think again! Go out and get it. It’s all out there for the taking.
On that note, today I was all about taking in desserts! More specifically Whoopsies Gourmet Whoopie Pies.Â How many did I eat today while helping in the kitchen? (Um, lost track.)
As soon as I walked in the door, I mean as in- like the minute I walked in the door, Owner Marcia plated up and served me a pumpkin whoopie pie with amaretto cream cheese nutmeg filling. I wasn’t shy:
After my snack we had to get to work! I put my chef coat on and started scooping:
The last bit in the bowl before washing it? I couldn’t let that go to waste!
It was a sampling party:
…complete with too much laughing, and jokes about saucy whoopie pie names:
This was round 1 of fun, with more to come tomorrow. I get to make caramel again! This was my masterpiece from today:
Everyone loves a whoopie pie- Even Million Mile Joe, (so I found out today!) 2 days till I get to meet the man behind the miles. Perhaps I will have to bring him a treat after all my hard work in the kitchen as a taste tester!
In ever changing exciting trip news, I’ve been invited to go behind the scenes of another treat shop tomorrow in between Whoopsie time. I am digging adventures in desserts! More video fun of me noshing. I wish you all were with me so I could share! What else is coming up after that? Oh- you know, more lighthouses, sugar, lots of miles on the car to surprise places, and of course- the Honda Civic Tour. YEAH!
***Total miles driven today, day 6: 80
***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 725
***TotalÂ blue lollipopsÂ gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 9
I am posting this as I have arrived in the kitchen of Whoopsies Gourmet Whoopie Pies and oh my god I am in heaven. Just wait until my post later. Until then CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR WHOOPSIES in the whoopie pie vs. cake pops challenge. I voted for whoopie pies of course!