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Trips in Eastern United States

Camping in Lost River, West Virginia

September 29, 2015 in Trips in Eastern United States

Have you ever heard of Lost River, West Virginia?  I’m not going to lie….prior to Labor Day weekend, I hadn’t!  I’m pretty sure most people haven’t.

Labor Day weekend, we camped with my mom in a tiny little campground in a desolate little area of West Virginia called Lost River.  Lost River sits in Hardy County, located in North East, WV just over the Virginia border.  There isn’t much around it.  As a matter of fact, I had zero cell service the entire time.  It is very rare that my cell phone actually says “no service”, especially with Verizon, but that weekend it did.

LOST RIVER, WVThe campground we stayed at, Lost River Campground, was a bit of an oddity.  The scenery was beautiful, but the campground was tiny and sat right next to a road.  The road acted as a dividing line between the tent and RV spots.  This made camping there a little bit sketchy because speed demons would fly down the road, making it a scary experience at times!

Right up the road there was a man-made lake that people were fishing and boating in.  There really was very little to do in the area, but this provided some sort of entertainment for anyone equipped for it.  The campground did have a pool, volleyball net, fire rings, and a surprisingly squeaky clean bath house.  Despite the isolation, Lost River was extremely picturesque and we all had a great time! Take a peek at our photos below….

 

5 Places to visit in St. Michaels, MD

September 15, 2015 in Everything Else / Trips in Eastern United States

We recently visited St. Michaels, MD for the very first time. It’s only a couple of hours away from Baltimore, and we’ve heard so often about how beautiful it is. Since Bran and I are on tight budgets, we wanted to make sure our little day trip didn’t break the bank. We found some great places to visit there – from great food to niche shops and scenic views. Here are some places you need to check out on your next trip to St. Michaels.


Banana and Nutella Crepe- Crepes by the Bay, St Michaels, MD

Banana and Nutella Crepe- Crepes by the Bay, St Michaels, MD

1. Crepes by the Bay

At first, this place looks like a hole-in-the-wall diner. This was probably my favorite place in the area to eat though! Crepes by the Bay has an enormous selection of yummy crepes. I ordered the banana and nutella crepe, which was absolutely heavenly!  We all enjoyed our food and it was very reasonably priced. I highly recommend you check them out.

413 S Talbot St
Saint Michaels, MD 21663
410-745-8429Visit their Facebook Page


 Blue Crab Coffee - St. Michaels, MD2. Blue Crab Coffee Co.

This is a cute coffee shop tucked a little farther back from the road.  They have a lot of great options for coffee drinkers, whether you like your drinks sweet or plain jane.  There is plenty of seating, games, and magazines for those who want to stay for a while.

102 Freemont St.
St Michaels, MD 21663

410-745-4155

Visit their Official Website



The Christmas Shop Ornaments - St. Michaels, MD3.  The Christmas Shop

This might seem like a strange recommendation, but I really loved coming here!  Bran had to talk me into it at first because I felt it was too early to be looking at Christmas ornaments, but this shop was fantastic.  They have any kind of ornament you can imagine!  I even bought myself 2 ornaments- a Beetle and a camera.  Perfect, right?

216 South Talbot Street
St Michaels, MD 21663
410-745-9346 


4. Foxy’s Harbor GrilleKey Lime Pie drink - Foxy's Harbor Grille

Foxy’s is a little bar/restaurant that sits right on the water.  The menu is somewhat limited but the food is good.  Their menu consists of “island” types, ranging from dishes like fish tacos, crab cakes, and jerk burgers.  We also had great service there – which is always a plus.

TIP: Try the key lime pie drink!  It’s amazing!

125 Mulberry St.
St Michaels MD 21663
410-745-4340

Visit their Official Website



Hooper Strait Lighthouse at night5. Hooper Strait Lighthouse

We sort of stumbled upon the Hooper Strait lighthouse as we were browsing the town.  We knew it was around, we just didn’t know exactly where.  When we found it, I knew it would allow for beautiful photos.  The lighthouse is a gorgeous structure with an abundance of history.  Supposedly you can only visit the lighthouse with paid admission into the Chesapeake Maritime Museum, but we didn’t know that.  The gate was open when we arrived and people were freely walking in and out of the area.  However, be aware that you might have to visit the rest of the museum to see the lighthouse!

213 North Talbot Street
St. Michaels, Maryland 21663
410-745-2916

Visit their Official Website

TAKING A SWIM AT WASHINGTON DC’S “BEACH”

September 9, 2015 in Everything Else / Trips in Eastern United States

A friend of mine invited Bran and I to Washington DC to go to the beach.  The Beach?  In DC?  Yeah, I thought he was nuts.  It wasn’t until he explained that “the beach” was actually a giant ball pit, that I began to (sort of) understand.

The National Building Museum had an exhibit for a few months where people could purchase tickets and jump into a 3.5 ft deep ball pit.  It was any child, or young-at-heart adult’s, dream!

We left early in the morning and made sure to get there before the museum opened.  For anyone who has never experienced DC traffic, it’s exactly what you would expect HELL to be like.  Not to mention this particular exhibit had apparently gotten tons of press so it was very popular.  We were among the first few there, and when the doors were opened, with tickets in hand – we ran for the beach!

Us at the Washington DC Beach Exhibit

The room was all white and set up with beach chairs.  Beyond the “shore line” was a massive pit of clear plastic balls.  Germaphobes beware, this exhibit was not for the faint of heart!  I tried not to think about all of the ‘who-knows-whats’ that were in there with me as I swam through a sea of clear plastic balls.  Shortly after we jumped in, we found the “ocean” had quickly been consumed by small children, to a point that finding a way out was difficult.

“The Beach” exhibit was fun.  It was more of a novelty so we could say “hey, we did that!”  It was within walking distance of the capital, so that was where we headed next.

CAPITAL UNDER CONSTRUCTION

The Nation’s Capital under construction

A Girl & Her Travel Bug Takes on Washington DC

The dome was under construction – it had definitely seen more glamorous days.  Nonetheless, the architecture in DC is always so beautiful.  We spent the rest of the day walking around DC.  We checked out the National Botanic Garden and made our way over to get lunch at the oh-so-hipster Bus Boys & Poets and followed it up with coffee at A Baked Joint.

Next time, I hope to see more of the city since I haven’t thoroughly checked it out in a few years.  There are endless things to see in our nation’s capital, and that day we barely put a dent in it.

 

Check out more photos I took in DC by clicking here!

 

Floating down the Shenandoah River – Harpers Ferry

August 25, 2015 in Everything Else / Reviews / Trips in Eastern United States

Recently, Brandon (my boyfriend), his son and I met up with some of his family to utilize tubing vouchers he purchased from River & Trail Outfitters.  It was a perfect day to float on a river, but I have to admit, I have mixed emotions about the experience.  This was my very first time river tubing.  Brandon had been before but I wasn’t able to join those times so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect.

We left fairly early that Sunday morning, as our appointment time was at 10:30am.  It was about an hour and a half drive from Baltimore to Harper’s Ferry, a drive that I am all too familiar with.  Once we got to the main building to check in, the parking situation was horrendous.  There were very few spaces and the place was busy.  After a few minutes of driving up the road looking for a spot, we turned around to head back to the main parking area and were marshaled into a spot by an employee.

We were given a few documents to sign for safety and liability.  As it turned out, we were told there was another location about 10 minutes away that we had to drive to.  So we hopped back in the car and to the next location.

After making it to the next location, we checked in at the little booth and were told we could give them our car keys to ensure they are safely kept rather than taking them along the river.  So after handing them the keys and hearing the list of instructions, we grabbed a life vest (which wreaked of mildew from previous tubers) and waited at the picnic tables for the green “pickle bus.”

We waited for what felt like a lifetime because there was only one bus driver (or at least only one that I noticed).  We were instructed to pick a tube color, some had the center cut out where as others did not.  You could also purchase an “upgraded” tube that had a head rest on the back.  Floating coolers were also available for an extra fee of $10.   When we picked our tubes, we were to hand them to the bus driver so he could load them into the trailer.  As everyone filtered through the line, we sat and waited on the big green school bus, ready to go to our THIRD location of the day.
The bus driver was friendly and cracked a few corny jokes while yelling over people talking loudly on the bus.  He was attempting to explain what we should expect on our river floating adventure.  He mentioned that creating a ripple in the water will deter the occasionally seen river snake, and that the float would take approximately 2 hours to complete.  An intercom would have been handy, however, as his voice couldn’t compete with everyone else’s; he was extremely difficult to hear.  After a short ride up the road, we were dropped off at an opening in the river (which appeared to be shared with the company River Riders) and we were on our way.

River & Trail Outfitters recommends that people wear shoes other than flip-flops when floating on the river.  It seems this is because the river is very shallow and rocky.  Also, flip-flops fall off easily.  I figured this out as I tried jumping onto the tube only to lose my shoes twice.  Fortunately, I was able to find them pretty easily so they weren’t gone for good!

As we slowly floated, I took notice to the fact that the river was very crowded.  Not only with people tubing, but also people in various stops along the river that were swimming.  It was disappointing to find quite a bit of trash littering the sides of the crowded waters.  Many people had coolers full of alcohol and some even had music.  This was definitely a beer drinkers kind of activity!

There were points where the scenery was better than others, and a couple of short areas where the water was more rough than others.  Some areas were so shallow that our tubes would get stuck on the rocks below.  The river was calm.  REALLY calm.  There were times when we wondered if we were even moving at all.  When we made it to the point that we could actually see the parking lot that we were to stop at, I was starving and ready for the ride to end, but it was a tease.  Although we could see the ending point, it would still be another 45 minutes until we were able to reach it.

It was about 2 hours, as we were told, until we finally made it back to the parking lot.  We decided to eat lunch at their own Blue Heron Grill since it was the only choice on the premises.  Most people brought their own food but we were unprepared!  We approached the grill, which ended up being nothing but a dingy old food truck.  I’m not going to lie, it looked sketchy.  I’m no diva, but I was expecting something different when I had read there was a grill on site.  A woman manning the truck showed us the tiny menu of overpriced food.  A simple hot dog was $5!  I guess that’s how they can make a few extra bucks since no other food is close by.  Rather than having a register at the truck, she sent us over to the same booth we left our keys at, to pay for the food.  They would then give us a ticket to bring back over with our food choices.

The Blue Heron Grill

The Blue Heron Grill

I watched as she made the food.  She pulled out a bag of Food Lion french fries and dropped them in the oil to cook.  As she prepared the hot dogs, she didn’t use gloves or anything.  Lord only knows where her hands had been and she was handling everyone’s food.  Gross!  I don’t need 5-star restaurants by any means, but a certain degree of sanitary measures would be nice.  If anyone wanted onions on their food, the customer was told to get it straight out of the container it was sliced in.  Needless to say, the food was lackluster and the prices were ridiculous.

The kids enjoyed the tubing trip and so did the adults that had alcohol to take along.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the river ride, but I was bored.  Next time I think I would opt for the next level up, but we had young kids on this trip so the “mellow” river experience was necessary.  We did end up going around once more only because the kids really wanted to.

So here are the pros and cons of this experience:

PROS
Great for kids and families
The river was safe and calm
There was plenty of parking at the float site
Staff was very friendly

CONS
The river was a little too calm/slow (for my liking)
Things were unorganized
Seemed understaffed
Food was significantly overpriced and the truck looked straight out of a horror film
The food
Port-a-pots seemed as though they has never been cleaned
The river was very crowded
Parking was terrible at the first location

 

Would I do this again?  Probably not.  But they have plenty of other experiences to try.  Harper’s Ferry is beautiful so I always love going there, but I think next time I will opt for the zip-lining, whitewater rafting or whitewater rapids tubing.  It’s a great idea for people with young children and/or a lot of time to kill.  Oh and…..bring your own food.  😉

TO THE EASTERN SHORE & BACK

July 28, 2015 in Trips in Eastern United States

Last week I was able to spend the week with my boyfriend and his family in Berlin, MD as well as taking time in Ocean city and Assateague (much like the day trip I took not too long ago).  We had a great time with lots of interesting moments….primarily things that happened as a result of my overall horrendous luck.  For example, our 1st day on the beach in Assateague, a hungry horse was digging through my bag looking for food.  It wasn’t just me though; he was sure to get many beachgoers!  The next day, I figured out that chickens get pissed off when you eat ice cream in front of them.  I got pecked in the knee by an angry chicken – and no, I can’t make these things up!  Oh and I also got pooped on by a seagull on the Ocean City boardwalk……which maybe this year I was lucky it only happened once since last year it happened TWICE!

Since I already gave you a pretty thorough cap of these areas in the recent past, I’m simply going to show you some photos from this trip, some coming straight from my Instagram.  Please join me on instagram to keep up on my travels!  @JensTrvlBug

A Hungry Assateague Horse

This horse kept going up and down the beach digging through people’s bags trying to find food. He successfully found cheetos, sandwiches, and other items!

Ocean City, MD at Sunset

OCMD Inlet

#ocmd #aladdin #funhouse #oceancity #rides #travel #inlet #photography #wanderlust #travel #maryland

A photo posted by Jen Longo (@jenstrvlbug) on Jul 20, 2015 at 7:32pm PDT

 

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