Chris and I had high hopes of camping over the Labor Day weekend on Assateague Island, home of the wild ponies. The goal? A backcountry campsite on the beach, falling asleep to the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
But after a slow start, and our traditional Open City breakfast on the way out, we rolled into the ranger station just in time to find out that the last permit available had been taken by the guy doing paperwork next to us. He looked up sort of sheepishly, as the ranger pointed at him, but didn’t make any moves to hand over his permit, not that we blamed him.
After inquiring as to how large the fine would be should we happen to be found camping without a permit, we instead decided to take a walk along the shore and get a dip in the ocean before our three hour drive home.
I’m going to be honest with you, the famous horses of Assateague sort of seemed like attention whores. I mean, what is so wild about an animal that mosies up to giant crowds and then stands posing for pictures? I swear they left their massive piles of poop everywhere if only to alert you to their presence. Sort of like a billboard letting you know that soon, you too could see the wild horses. Touching wild horses though, is apparently frowned upon-not that I was tempted. I like horses about as much as I like American broccoli, but that’s a story for another day.
There was certainly something romantic about the whole thing. Our spontaneous sprint to the coast, the walk on the beach, the plans we made to come back, the hilarity of the fact that we drove 6 hours for one walk. It was worth it.
As we headed home through cornfields and farmland, I spotted a diner on the right. Chris crossed 3 lanes of traffic, squealed into the parking lot, and we walked into Easton Diner, hoping for one of those quintessential Americana diner experiences. The “omg this grilled cheese is divine!” kind of diner, the “this apple pie just saved my soul” kind of dinner.
Alas, too often the nostalgia and the dream is far tastier than the reality. There are some diners in this country, worth driving hours and tackling backroads to get to. This one just wasn’t one of them. Part of it was my fault. The menu just said “stuffed mushrooms” and I should have known that such a dish is usually sort of outside the realm of good classic diner eatery. What arrived on my plate: a crab cake with a button mushroom “stuffed” into the top of it. Chris and I stared then laughed, then didn’t really stop laughing until we got home 3 hours later.
Chris ordered more sensibly but this was still the look on his face for most of the meal:
Oh well, I’m sure on another trip we’ll find another diner. Till next time we get back to the Island, I’ll have memories of a beautiful walk with my husband and a crabcake stuffed with a button mushroom.