What I did on my summer vacation 2008.
Sitting in a Chipotle Mexican Restaurant in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a young man with a nice SLR digital camera snapping photos of his lunch. 3000 miles from Salem another blog was being created. As he was leaving I asked the gentleman if his photos were for a restaurant blog and he confirmed my suspicion. He told me the name of his blog, but I figured I'd just google "Pennsylvania Chipotle blog" and his post would come up. After an exhaustive search, no such luck.
The highlight of my family's summer vacation was the wedding of my wife's cousin in historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania. On this trip, we crossed over the Delaware River, drove across New Jersey to Ocean City on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Ocean City is a dry town known for it's famous boardwalk which stretches two and a half miles. On the north side of the boardwalk is the famous Browns Restaurant where they serve donuts hot and sticky, right out of the fryer. Most mornings, people line up and wait as long as a half an hour to get a bite of these breakfast bests. As you order, they take the donut out of the fryer and dip it into the glaze right before your eyes. Forget your diet, these things are heavy and are rumored to reform in your stomach after eating them. I was only able to eat four. They allow bike riding on the boardwalk until 10am. Traffic can be so heavy that they actually have lines painted along the wooden path to help direct traffic.
The other place along the boardwalk that is an absolute must eat is Mack and Manco Pizza. They've been in business since 1956 and now have three stores. This is another place that was crowded but didn't take long to get a seat at the counter overlooking the pizza making operation. At all times pizza dough was flying through the air as the kitchen worked furiously to meet the demand of hungry beach goers. The most popular pie, believe it or not, is the plain cheese pizza. We got half cheese and half pepperoni to satisfy the whole family. The pizza was thin and didn't take long to make. Watching over the pizza makers and servers I couldn't figure out how they kept track of all the pies that were being ordered. They got the order right and it was as good as they say. Piping hot, you should wait a moment before biting into this sizzling feast of gooey cheese and slippery sauce. One pizza wasn't enough so I also ordered a slice of the Sicilian pie which is a thicker crust. Most restaurants on the boardwalk only take cash, so be sure to hit your atm machine before heading out. Also, some roads in New Jersey are tolled, some as little as $.25, and beaches require a $5 tag to access the sand and surf.
I did get to try a Philly Cheese steak on my east coast visit but not one that was worth mentioning here. One of the most noticeable things about historic rural Pennsylvania was the lack of chain restaurants. In some parts, there wasn't any at all. The local food was fantastic in almost any place we ate. Hoagies and New York bagels were advertised in the windows of so many mom and pop places all over the county. One grocery store strip mall had no recognizable food franchises not even a Starbucks.
One night at the shore we experienced a thunder storm that was so severe, that I saw more lightning strikes in a few hours than I have seen in my entire lifetime. And this didn't phase the east coasters one bit. It was hardly mentioned in the local news. As great a vacation as this was for my family, I did begin to miss Oregon a bit. On the flight back we passed by Mount Hood right around the golden hour before sunset. The view was a great reminder of how incredibly beautiful Oregon can be, in the summer.