The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is a bridge-tunnel combination that is nearly 18 miles long and takes you from Virginia’s Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach, VA. I’m not a huge fan of navigating Big Bertha through ‘challenging’ segments of highway but I was determined to conquer the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. At first, driving through traffic with a large RV is not so bad. The bridge is low with a wide shoulder area and two-lane, one-way traffic UNTIL you are funneled down to the tunnel portion, which has a precariously pinched, single lane with oncoming traffic that seems hell-bent on sideswiping you. If you squint your eyes, grit your teeth and grab the wheel until your knuckles turn white, you can make it without incident.
Happiness is a long walk with a dog.
We wound our way to Goose Creek State Park, near the Pamlico River in North Carolina. The park is on swampy land that features 8 miles of trails, canoe launch ramps and swimming/beach areas. Wildlife is abundant and the turtles are gigantic! Surprisingly, even with all of the areas of stagnant water, there are amazingly few mosquitoes or biting flies. The campground is small, but brand new, with full hook-ups and 50 amp service. My initial reaction was one of mediocrity but this park has really grown on me. I absolutely love the tall, long-leaf pines covered in Spanish moss and the bright expanse of visible, celestial bodies at night.
“On your way, now. And tell the world you set sail with Blackbeard.” ~ Edward Teach
While in the area, it was a must to visit the town of Bath, where the legendary pirate, Blackbeard once resided. The town is pristine and chockfull of historical markers that educate visitors about everything from the Old Post Road to the childhood home of Cecil B. Demille. There are breathtaking views at the Point and many architecturally interesting waterfront homes to oogle over.
We did not see any dog-friendly spots at which to stop and have a bite of lunch, so we moved on to Washington, NC, another, larger, waterfront community that we felt certain would be a good place to find a Fido-friendly restaurant.
The first red flag at The Captain Cooks, Waterfront Restaurant, should have been when we asked if Gypsy could join us on the patio. The harried waitress asked how big our dog was. When we responded that she was a 45-pound Labrador Puppy, she said “I guess so” in such a hesitant voice that it was clear she did not know the actual policy. We sat down and were promptly and continually ignored by the wait staff, which appeared to consist of two, semi-frantic young women. We asked for water on three separate occasions, but it never came. I was willing to be tolerant. They did seem to be understaffed, and the waterfront ambiance was nice, so my husband fetched our drinks and a couple of menus. Still, no service. My inner-John Taffer was beginning to emerge as it became painfully aware that The Captain needed a serious BAR RESCUE. Eventually, we flagged down a server and placed an order, that 40 minutes later, still had not arrived. My husband went inside to refill our drinks, and decided to follow up on the food. It was then that we were made aware that the cook was absent (I suspect he quit) and that one of the two servers was also attempting to prepare the food. Our order ticket had never even made its way into the kitchen. Needless to say, we canceled our order, grabbed our 45-pound pup, and left.
I made ham & cheese on rye when we got back to the RV. It’s a poor substitute for seafood on the waterfront, but, since the server was also the chef, perhaps it was a blessing in disguise.
Thinking that perhaps we had been unfair and overly judgmental, we thought we would give waterfront dining in Washington one more try. What a mistake. We were seated outside at the Mulberry Street Brewery, and were provided an abbreviated menu. Twenty minutes later we were given two glasses of warm, not tepid, not lukewarm, but actual WARM water. Ten minutes later, we still had not placed an order. We looked at each other, nodded in agreement, and made a hasty escape.
We were famished. On the way back to the truck we stumbled upon The Grub Brothers Eatery. It looked like a local dive bar. No water view. No ambiance. It took an HOUR to get two wraps but at least the water was cold. In truth, the sandwiches were quite tasty and I had a side of good, southern stewed tomatoes and okra instead of fries.
Moral of the story. If you want a great meal on the waterfront, avoid Washington, NC. If you need a job go to Washington, NC. They need servers, cooks, hostesses and bottle washers.
Onward to Murrell’s Inlet, where I hear there is good waterfront dining…