Happy Fourth of July! It's on this day that we thumb our noses at the Brits for the 234th consecutive year, and remind them that they're not the boss of us anymore. In the meanwhile, our coverage is still stuck on June 22. We're working on it.
Barreling through the Northeast at breakneck speed, as we've done throughout the trip to this point, can take a toll on even the most fearless group of intrepid travelers. That's one of the reasons (accompanied by Bernadette's visit) that I was so happy to be in Williamsport, Pa., where there is very little to do besides watch little league baseball (no thanks) and sleep in (yes please). Hence, our day started out with a fairly late awakening, just in time for a nice lunch at "It's Hoagie Time."
We drove in with Joey's mom and met with his grandmother, who was very happy to see her little grandson and to hear about all of our antics up to this point. While they were chatting, I tried my best to read the menu through the cloud of hangover that was firmly settled over my head. That "Cardinal" game from the night before really beat me up. Luckily, this place had a menu that catered somewhat to tastes like mine.
This is the Dagwood. Recommended by Joey. the menu advertised this gem as a toasted sandwich with turkey, bacon, swiss cheese and thousand island dressing (I traded the swiss for provolone). It was a difficult choice, with rival menu items featuring names like the Godfather and the Mountain Man also vying for my attention. But in the end I went with the Dagwood, and was drenched in pleasurable-eating sweat by the end of it.
I felt a little bad for my lovely Bernadette, for the fact that she was only visiting us for four days, and yet we had no energy to spend the day doing much else but lying down, catching our breath and putting up some overdue blog posts. If you haven't noticed, we're pretty steady at about ten days behind - which could be a detriment, if not for the fact that it allows us to properly reflect on the great times we're having. Besides, we're very busy having those great times, and there's only so much America in 100 Days to go around.
The afternoon was a very lazy one, the height of which was a walk of Joey's dogs over to his aunt's house for a short visit. Eventually, we managed to build up an appetite (somehow) after our glorious lunch, and got on the phone to place some orders.
Joey insisted we try two of his hometown favorites for our dinner, both of which we ordered to go. First stop was a place called Joe's, where the cheesesteaks are very different from Philly cheesesteaks in that they're served on thick bread with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and onion - or as I know it, a cheesesteak hoagie. In addition, we ordered Three Rivers salads from this lovely little eatery, the Villa, where we sat at the bar for a quick drink while our salads were completed and handed over in styrofoam boxes.
Before visiting Williamsport I was not familiar with the Three Rivers salad, so allow me to elaborate. Williamsport's (relative) proximity to Pittsburgh brings heavy influence to things like the local cuisine - in this case, this salad originated in the Iron City and takes its name from the confluence of Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela rivers therein. It features a bed of greens, with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and onions, topped with strips of steak and an entire order of cheese fries. Really hardly a salad at all, just an excuse to eat like a pig and call it something else. But a delicious mess of food - no doubt.
This small, central Pa. town only reaches so far, and has no skyscrapers or modern art museums to speak of. But a man like Joey knows how to make lemonade out of lemons, as do his friends. So after we ate about half of our dinner, we piled into Joey's friend Freck's car and made a long, windy drive to the place in town that looked to suit our interests best - the Bullfrog Brewery
on W. 4th St.
Yeahhhhhh. This brings me back. My days working at John Harvard's Brew House back at home got me very familiar with the glory of the Beer Sampler. These are always a pain in the neck for bartenders, especially when our table orders five of them which we did). Each one was a set of seven different brews, all carefully crafted on the premises and served to us in four-ounce glasses. Selections like their El Hefe Witbier, Susquehanna Oatmeal Stout and Edgar IPA made my mouth hurt from smiling so much. They even had a Dunkelweizen on tap, which is a dark wheat beer that isn't very common in any restaurant, or even in most beer distributors. Joey's friends Freck and Seth sat in on our glorious drinking experience with us, some welcome company in this impressive establishment.
Thanks to Freck for volunteering as our D.D., so that we could wake up the next day and finally begin our southern descent. More on that very soon.