Jeopardy question: What are lunch and Lazaretto?

Answer:  Two things that cannot be found in Baltimore.

After our wonderful sojourn at Fort McHenry, Katie and I were quite hungry.  We decided to find an eatery and get some lunch before heading back southwest.  That would be southwest the direction, not to be confused with my favorite airline.  We thought locating a restaurant in a large city would be pretty easy.  After all, her car has a Garmin, so it’s no fool, and we both have college degrees, so we’re fairly intelligent and well-informed.  How hard could it be?

Pretty hard, as it turned out.

For one thing, Fort McHenry stands out on a spit of land, sticking out into the river/bay/ocean.  Retreating along that peninsula, one passes block after block of untold numbers of brick condos smashed against each other against the sidewalk, stretching literally for miles in every direction, but one passes no restaurants.  Interesting.  Maybe Batimorians never eat out?  Or in?  (There weren’t any groceries, either).  Is Baltimore a city of anorexics?

We eventually gave up on that tack and decided to just get on the freeway and drive, knowing that some place to eat would have to turn up sooner or later, and just to get us headed in an appropriate direction (that being the direction toward prepared food!), we entered into the restaurant screen of the Garmin “Chili’s.”  But there were no Chili’s in the Baltimore area.  Next, we typed in “Cracker Barrel,” because we were in a celebratory mood, and we were getting so very hungry that we knew we could both finish off their generous portions.  It seems that the nearest Cracker Barrel to our location at that point was 23 miles away.  Of course, we had no intention of waiting 23 miles for lunch, but we figured we’d surely pass something else in the process, and so we headed out.

And we drove, and drove, and drove.  And became hungrier, and hungrier, and hungrier.  I don’t think the word “famished” would quite have applied, but the situation was definitely heading in that direction.  We simply weren’t seeing any exits that appeared to have any potential for food!

Finally, we saw an exit with one of those blue “plate” signs.  You know they kind; they tend to accompany the blue “gas pump” signs and the blue “bed” signs.  Finally!  We were going to get to eat, and we were so happy about the prospect.  We had actually passed this exit before and had decided it didn’t look real promising, but as we had gone on, we had been zinged out onto another freeway and gone a couple miles with no evidence of food appearing, so we had actually – don’t tell Scott – TURNED AROUND AND BACK-TRACKED for about five miles to get to the blue “plate” sign.

We exited and followed the directional indications, and less than a mile from the freeway, what should appear but a Cracker Barrel restaurant?!?!  Oh, we were simply delighted.  We had only completed about 12 of the 23 miles indicated, but we were so happy at the prospect of a lot of good food that we just disregarded that little lack of logic and pulled in.

But something seemed strange.  It was about 2 PM and there weren’t very many cars in the lot.  In fact, there weren’t any cars in the lot.  Could it possibly be that they closed for the afternoon?!?  On a Saturday?!?

In confusion, we drove around the building.  On the backside we spied a pickup truck, and a couple guys were doing something just outside a service door, but as we came back around to the front, we saw a handwritten sign on the glass door:  “Opening October 6.  Hiring September 11.”  Good night alive!  We had managed – without any assistance from the Garmin – to find a Cracker Barrel that wasn’t yet open for business!  Sigh.  By this time, “famished” was probably the right word.

Retracing our path once again, we proceeded down the road and did shortly come upon yet another blue “plate” sign, and this one led us to a Ruby Tuesday, where we tucked into quite a bit of fine food.  Ahhhh.

Thus fortified, we set out for our next conquest, the Lazaretto Point Lighthouse Replica.

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