I’m feeling nostalgic. I’ve decided I need to give awards to some of the places I’ve been in my travels. This list is completely random, but it will help me remember the small things that have made life easier as a nomad over the past several years. And maybe it will be life changing for someone who reads this blog--someone who's never sang karaoke at the T-Club in Tuckee, CA is certainly not living life to the fullest! Let me know if you think of one I’m missing.
*Best Diner* - The 101 Diner in Encinitas, CA just north of San Diego. We went twice in like three days. Big portions. It was awesome.
*Best Cafe* - The Round Up Cafe in Sierraville, CA is a great place to stop for breakfast--the biscuits and gravy are superb! This place was on the way to one of our field sites--who could resist stopping on the way back? Not me. (And yes, I have sneaky ways of giving awards to places that are basically in the same category)
*Best Milkshakes* - The Truckee Dinner, Truckee, CA. This places had huge shakes, horrible staff, and was located in an old fashioned diner that was actually MOVED from Pennsylvania (Unfortunately some rich dude took it over and now you can get burgers for $20 and no milkshakes)
*Best Milkshakes—Runner Up* - The Frosty Pine Shack. Pine Shack Frosty. Shack Frosty Pine. Whatever that place was called. Chester, CA. Many choices! I guess its runner up because I can’t ever remember the correct name. I assume its still there...
*Best Burger* - I don’t remember the name if this place but I swear I ate the world’s best burger in it a couple of years ago. It was located on the Bolivar Peninsula just north east of Galveston, TX. (Unfortunately, I’m afraid a hurricane Ike took this place out a couple of years ago.)
*Best Omelets* - Hands down, the Squeeze In, Truckee CA. There’s a another one in Reno, but I doubt it’s the same atmosphere. Your choice of over 50 omelets with anything you wanted in them—including PBJ and banana. And, the names of the omelets were named things like Dirty Dick (my personal favorite), Hot Sweaty Bus Boy, and Your Mom. http://www.squeezein.com/menu/omelettes.html
*Best Bar* - You can’t get any better than The T-Club (Tourist Club) in Truckee, CA on Karaoke night. You could get PBR for a quarter on some nights, and the pool table was always broken (free pool). There was always Free Beer tomorrow, and at one point our bare asses were framed on the wall. It’s changed a lot since ’06, but still holds a special place in my heart.
*Best Tavern* - Deer Park Tavern, Newark, DE. You can’t beat the cheap Yuengling and good live music. Not to mention the food is pretty good. Favorite bar in Newark--and its been around for a really long time. It was built in 1851 on the land where the remains of the burned down St. Patrick's Inn had resided since 1747. The St. Patrick’s Inn was said to house famous historical figures such as George Washington and in 1843 Edgar Allan Poe stayed a night here.
*Best Birding Hot Spot* - High Island, Texas. You can’t beat 12-18 warbler species in a few hours. I swear I could spend weeks there during spring migration.
*Best Tiny Town* - Adin, CA. In the middle of pretty much nowhere in Northeastern California—but a good place for birds, burgers & fries, cheap ice cream cones, free internet at the library, and a nice park with trees to relax under. Wiki says its actually a “unincorporated community” whatever that is.
*Best place to jump out of a plane and eat fish and chips* - Nelson, New Zealand. Need I say more?? (I wouldn't recommend doing these things at the same time)
*Best Fall Color* - White Mountains, New Hampshire. Although I do love fall colors just about anywhere.
*Best Airport* - Reno/Tahoe, NV. Small, speedy lines, never lose your bags, and slot machines. Not bad.
*Best Gated Community (aka Trailer Park)* - Sanibel Island, Florida. I spent a great 6 months here. We took a lot of jello-shots here.
*Best Beach* - St. Joseph, MI, where Kristen and Jason got married. I never expected to like a beach on a lake so much. But whats not to like? You get the beach without wicked waves (they were just the right size), jellyfish, and salt in your mouth. I’ve never been a beach person though—if you couldn’t tell. But seriously, the Great Lakes are pretty awesome.
*Best Place for a Dock Party* - Donner Lake. Yes, where the Donner Party traveled through. But dock #13 was the place to be in summers. The water was freezing, but it was well worth it.
*Best Haunted Mansion* - Santee Coastal, South Carolina. Could also say coolest field house. This place was an amazing old hunting lodge. And most certainly haunted. I’m glad I wasn’t ever there alone. It was also surrounded by huge beautiful live oaks and was not far from the marshes with tons of wildlife.