We had a much better experience on the road Saturday. We had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel then headed off for Plymouth, Massachusetts to visit with one of Bob’s friends Sully and his wife Betsy.
Bob and Sully had been friends for over forty years. Sully was also a reader at Bob and Char’s wedding. We were to be at their home for lunch but unfortunately the leisurely breakfast plus a few traffic problems along the way delayed our arrival until around two o’clock. No matter when we arrived there they were waiting on the back deck of their house when we arrived. Betsy came down to greet us saying, “I remember your faces you were at the wedding”.
Now our original plan was to all go out to lunch or have something like pizza delivered during our visit. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived to a wonderfully home cooked meal. What a nice treat especially after the last few days we had on the road. We were treated to a menu of salad, lasagna, crusty Italian bread and ice-cold beer. The meal looked wonderfully inviting and we were all very grateful. I loved the lasagna and asked if Betsy would be willing to share her recipe. She replied, “I don’t have a recipe. I just put things together”. I was not to be deterred.
Later as we were cleaning away the luncheon dishes I asked her again if she would just tell what the ingredients were. She said that she used Stop and Shop brand pasta noodles and cooked them exactly fourteen minutes. She then prepared the filling mixing ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs and fresh parsley and layered the filling and noodles until she filled the 13×9 pan and baked. The resulting casserole was firm, moist and very tasty. She prepared and placed on the table a bowl of Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand sauce. Everyone at the table liked the idea of being able to put the amount of sauce they wanted individually.
As Betsy talked I couldn’t help but think of the show on the Food Network called Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee. Sandra uses prepackaged foods along with fresh ingredients to create very good and tasty home cooked meals.
The meal didn’t stop there she then treated us to wonderfully ripe, sweet sliced watermelon, brownies and two kinds of ice cream. I was so excited when one of the ice creams turned out to be coffee ice cream. Betsy was definitely a woman after my own heart she likes coffee ice cream. My dessert choice was an easy one a brownie with a scoop of coffee ice cream.
Before you knew it time had flown and it was getting late we needed to move on a get a room for the night. Sully and Betsy would not hear of it. These wonderful people offered for us to stay at their home. Again, we were overwhelmed at their generosity and very grateful. They insisted so we agreed. Now that that decision was made we settled in for a wonderful afternoon and early evening of conversation.
Sully, a retired FAA special agent had been working on a project addressing some inefficiency on the government’s part to stay ahead of the curve in the fight against terrorism in the skies. He and some others created a film about these problems, “Please Remove Your Shoes”, so we all settled down to watch and give him some feedback. After the film was over we all agreed that the History Channel would be a very good vehicle to get the message out to the public.
The women decided to go for a walk down to the shore while the men stayed behind to solve the problems of the world on the back deck. The walk was very welcome especially after being on the bikes for three days. I didn’t realize how rocky the northern beaches were I am so used to the sandy beaches down in Florida.
Now that the men had solved the problems of the world and we women were refreshed after our walk we decided to go out for dinner. We didn’t want a large meal and decided pizza would be just great. Betsy suggested a restaurant called Nonna’s Ristorante Italiano, which was close by. We ordered various types of salads that were all very tasty and fresh. We also ordered several different kinds of pizza. The pizza crust was very thin and light. The toppings on all the pizzas were really fresh.
While we were there we noticed a man coming in and out of the restaurant carrying musical instruments and audio equipment. Evidently on Saturday nights Nonna’s has live music in the bar. Around nine-thirty people started to arrive one after the other and headed into the bar. Curious we all took turns going into the bar to see what was up. The band played really good rock and roll music and the singer was pretty good too. If we had not been so tired we might have stayed a while. Instead we headed back to Sully and Betsy’s home and talked some more, caught up on email, tried to find a hotel for the next night and so on and then eventually collapsed in bed.
We planned on getting up early and heading out to Portland stopping on the road to get breakfast. Again, Betsy would hear none of it. She said as we protested, “I already cut up all this watermelon and have all this leftover Italian bread. We are having Italian bread French toast”. Our menu for breakfast also included something she called ‘Cheese Dreams’. What Betsy did was take a piece of French toast cut it in half place a piece of American cheese inside the two pieces and then returned it to the heat just enough to melt the cheese. Everyone really liked the ‘Cheese Dreams’. The menu was completed with cut watermelon, sliced orange sections, orange juice and coffee.
When you are on the road and all your meals are in one restaurant after another no matter how good they are there truly is nothing better than a home cooked meal. Betsy and Sully out did themselves in their generosity to our merry band of travelers and we will be eternally grateful for their hospitality.
Tomorrow we head off to Portland, Maine.