I bet you've been wondering why I've been so quiet? I've been on vacation.
Several months ago we heard of the opening of a new restaurant in Boston, and decided that it was time for a road trip. When we originally made the decision, the profit mongers on Wall St. and the oil privateers weren't fully encroached in the rape of the American public, so gas wasn't as bad as it was when we left Westerville, OH on Thursday May 8, 2008. But once our plans were made, the threat of McCain actually being elected couldn't have kept me home (although I didn't sleep as well as I could have during the trip).
I guess I could have told you that we were going to be on vacation, but there is that little issue of home security while you're gone. Remember, never put anything on the web that you don't want everyone in the world to know about.
I've been racking what little brain I have available these days as to how to tell you about our trip. I was going to call this blog "Burp!" to begin with, then I decided on "Five Star Raw". I'm going to use "Five Star Raw" but that will be Part II of what I've decided will be a three part report on our trip. Part III will be "Keely's Salem Fantasy Comes True!". (No, it has nothing to do with "Elmo's Bras and Girdles". Take a shower please!)
While the purpose of the trip was to eat at a "raw gourmet" restaurant in Boston (don't worry, I'll give you the name here in a moment), the trip was more than just food. Most of our friends were shocked when they found out we were going to drive instead of fly, but while at times instant gratification is nice, I believe you miss so much of the world by not traveling by land whenever possible.
I was pleased when we left home at 7:10 AM. I think leaving within 30 minutes of our scheduled time is a first for anyone in my family. I remember going on vacation with my grandparents in the 60's. If the plan was to leave by 8 AM, we were lucky to be gone by noon. My grandmother was part donkey. You literally needed to light a stick of dynamite under her tail, or hang a Perfect Manhattan from a stick to get her to move faster than a snail on speed.
For most of the trip we relied on Mapquest. Mapquest has actually gotten a lot better than it used to be. I remember there was a time when it would tell you to turn left when you really should turn right. I'm not going to blame Mapquest for any mistakes made while driving around Boston. I'm a firm believer that the interstate system within 100 miles of Boston was designed by the famous Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, but more on that in Part III.
Don't plan your travel time around Mapquest. The service still sucks in its predictions of the time your trip will actually take. I did better with tea leaves. I'd plan on at least three extra hours, then the recommended "Mapquest" time for any trip. We drove 477 miles our first day, and arrived at the Fairfield in Scranton by 6:15 PM. Just under 500 miles in 11 hours isn't too shabby, and I got to see Detroit kick the Stars' collective asses. (I'm still betting on Pittsburgh in 5!)
The Fairfield was as nice as any Fairfield, and I've stayed in a number of them. Trish checked us in, and couldn't have been nicer, or more professional.
The next leg of our trip was from Scranton, PA to our hotel north of Boston in Danvers, MA. We stopped at "The Promised Land" to fill the car up with "liquid gold". Why they called it "The Promised Land Fuel Stop" I'll never know. I really can't understand how they intend to sell much gas when all the windows have signs that say "No Parking"! How can I fill the tank if I can't park and fill up the tank?
We stayed at the Townsend Suites in Danvers, MA, which is another Marriott property. Some of the Townsends tend to be a little run down, but this one was in great shape! Our hotel was only 16 miles north of the restaurant, and a straight shot south on MA 1. Easy right?
Remember what I wrote earlier? Nothing is easy when driving in Boston....
Make sure to watch for Part II: "Five Star Raw" or "Who's That Lady?"
Wait a minute. Did you really think that I'd tell you the name of the restaurant? I'm not that nice! If I had to drive almost 800 miles to eat dinner on Friday night, you're going to have to wait 48 hours for the answer. Let's see if you can figure it out from this picture of the sidewalk in front of the door.
Not a good enough hint? OK, then I'll give you one more chance. See if you can figure it out from this picture. Ask yourself: "Who's that Lady" with Keely?
If you don't know who Keely is, I'm not about to tell you!