To Williamsport


Blog went on temporary hiatus because my friend Betsy McMillan and I did our annual writers’ weekend. We met half way in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

I was on the road by 9:30 a.m. Friday and made excellent time (even through Waterbury) until the Newburgh-Beacon bridge, which remains under construction from last year. There was only a minor slowup because most of the blockage is eastbound, something to look forward to on the way home.

There were two more huge construction projects but again just slowups because of the light traffic. I took a break at the Wallkill “text  stop” in New York and then again just after Wilkes Barre. On the way out I called Betsy who was stuck in massive traffic delays. The rest of the trip uneventful except I took the wrong exit for Route 15 in Pennsylvania. Siri redirected me with a loss of about 30 seconds.

After the stop outside Wilkes Barre, I turned off the radio and started listening to a book on tape, having learned from prior experience that even WCBS in New York can’t travel through the Poconos.

The book was James Lee Burke’s Creole Belle. The story is violent, and a bit funny. I’ll review it at some point. The first disc took me to within a couple of miles of the hotel. The best bit so far is the description of the oyster po’ boy that Clete Purcell gets from Clementine: fried oysters, shrimp, lettuce, onion, and remy sauce (the menu says Creole mustard) on a full baguette. Oh, my. It was well past lunch when I heard that. Now I was starving.

I arrived at the Holiday Inn at 3 p.m., meaning I had driven 5.5 hours, really five because of the stops. The biker guys from last year are back. The desk clerk is Elizabethanne. Checked in and then went to lunch – a barely warm crab bisque, rich creamy with a drizzle of sherry and a salad of greens, cucumber, a couple of cherry tomatoes and lots of radishes.

Came up and did odds and ends. Betsy arrived at 5. We hung out and had a glass of chilled red wine that she brought. Then we went to dinner at Peter Herdic House. She had a salad, I had smoked shad with toast points, a fierce horseradish sauce, capers, and cucumber. The shad comes from the Susquehanna and is smoked locally. We both had shrimp, which was crusted with Parm cheese, accompanied by green beans and fettuccine, which was pretty much tasteless except for the occasional blast of garlic.

Returned to the hotel where we chatted and drank wine until I crashed at midnight.

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