29 May 2010


Gentle Yoga at 9:00 this morning. A surprise—it was an hour-and-a-half class. Wonderful! I’ll certainly miss having Oceanfront Yoga across the street from me…

CA is ready to drive to Pungo Strawberry Festival, but I want a little Internet time and then a phone call with RvH before takeoff. Besides, it was just starting to lightly rain as I walked back from Yoga and our planned activities are all outside.

We find our way south on Pacific to General Booth Highway and eventually to Princess Ann Highway and soon we arrive in Pungo—for which a swamp is named. We’ve been watching for signs for the Festival, but don’t see any until we’ve almost given up. The first thing we see is that traffic is backing up in the middle of nowhere.

We park a quarter of a mile or so from the village and walk in along the shoulder of the road. This is a ticky-tacky festival with all the requisite features—imported Guatemalan clothing, jewelry, woodworking, funky foodstuffs, a midway, live music, and a choice of BBQ and strawberry purveyors.

We’re more than hungry having had just coffee so far today (and it’s just past noon) so we quickly find a likely BBQ joint and CA chooses minced pork with cole slaw on top, while I favor the thinly sliced beef—all generously doused with the local BBQ sauce. We share some fresh cut fries and a Diet Pepsi. There’s no place to sit or lean, so we stand alongside the booth and scarf our food.

This year's poster winner.

After we case the entire fair, we buy a 2010 Pungo Strawberry Festival poster and some homemade jams while dashing in and out of the intermittent rain showers. We end our visit with strawberry desserts—CA goes for the pie and I favor the shortcake. YUM! The strawberries are fresh from the fields, red and juicy—flavor that can’t be captured in grocery store baskets.


I want to get some nursery stock and some Spanish moss to take back home, so we meander a bit at McDonald Garden Center until we find some purple Angelonia. I would like some white, also, but this is good. We have to drive to Strawbridge Garden Center on London Bridge Road for the Spanish moss, and there find some absolutely darling seed markers—these might make it onto a wall inside our house. One more stop at the local Farm Fresh market for two hanging strawberry baskets and we return to Ocean Beach Club. CA’s not convinced the live plants will survive the next few days, but I’m going to do my best to ensure they make it home healthy and vigorous. (They thrive and survive resting carefully with bottoms encased in plastic bags. We open the sunroof often, and water twice on the road trip home.)

CA decides to go to the local Borders to buy a new French CD series for his language acquisition (he’s got a 40% off coupon) and I start a new book—The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf. I’m intrigued from the first paragraph… I finished Fatal Last Words at bedtime last night and thought I had the mystery solved. I almost did, but there was a slight twist at the very end that I did not foresee. Still, I felt that my deductive powers were almost spot on. I love this Bob Skinner series, and while this is the newest entry I plan to start at the beginning—18 or 19 books back. I love a strong backlist!

We’ve decided to revisit the 11th Street Taphouse for dinner tonight, so at 7:00pm we head down the Boardwalk from 34th Street all the way to 11th. We keep a brisk pace but the Boardwalk is REALLY crowded and we zig and zag our way through the crowds. Great people watching. Man, has this place filled up with people for the holiday weekend, and probably the entire summer.

We’ve seen just about everything this side of nudity along the Boardwalk. Plenty of boobs, tattoos, low riding pants, sheer and high-cut bikinis… We’ve also seen many cute dogs and precious little kids; families and aged hippies. I wish I could photograph the entire mélange.

At the Taphouse, in the past few days they’ve installed their outdoor canopy and fenced the serving area (required if alcohol is served). Our Jamaican waiter charms and we are again excited about the menu, but there are a few glitches like earlier in the week. I order the sandbar salad, which is a fairly typical house salad with spicy mustard dressing, with some chicken strips doused with a spicy coconut green curry sauce. CA decides on a Pizza Marguerite, called Breaker Pizza on this menu.

We’re starving, so I ask for bread and Shaun delivers a paper cone of warm pretzel breadsticks with a spicy brown mustard on the side. YUM! Good thing we asked for bread as dinner is slow in arriving, but when it comes we totally enjoy it although the kitchen has neglected to put the tomatoes on CA’s pizza. Still all-in-all, we’ll come back here for the creative food, the décor, and ambiance. Both our waiters have been warm and chatty. It’s clear there are a few kinks to be worked out for this newly opened brew pub.

We meander back the 23 blocks to Ocean Beach Club, stopping for a bit to enjoy the Coast Guard big band sound at 24th Street and then a few minutes at 31st Street for a bit of Jazz. We spend time enjoying the sounds of the waves on the beach and already feel a bit of nostalgia for our beach time. Northern Illinois can’t compete.

We’ve a bit of laundry tonight and packing. We plan to get an early start tomorrow so that we can attend a 9:00am service at Spring Branch Community Church before we drive to Williamsburg, Charlottesville, and finally arrive in Beckley, WV in time for bed tomorrow night.

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