I’m staying home this weekend (unusual for me) to work on writing projects.  I’m hoping things will calm down a bit in a few days.  Meanwhile, here’s a travel Hub on West Virginia’s Cass Scenic Railroad, another on the Chesapeake Children’s Museum in Annapolis, and a third about my favorite Indianapolis restaurant, The Rathskeller, for your reading pleasure.


Once again I’m having fun reviewing the search terms that bring folks to this blog.  The lamb spiedini thing keeps popping up; guess I’ll have to do some additional research when time permits. 

 Yesterday, someone dropped by the blog, apparently looking for good restaurants in Gaeta, Italy.  I have to be honest; I ate a lot of restaurant meals in Italy (and have the waistline to prove it), but my favorites weren’t in Gaeta.  Nevertheless, there are a few places we ate at pretty regularly, and here they are:

 Calpurnio, in old Gaeta, Vico Castani, 4.  This restaurant is a wonderful summer evening stop because they have dozens of outdoor tables, with shading.  Their pizzas are excellent.  They also serve good seafood pasta.  Their menu looks the same all year ’round, but you may find that some dishes aren’t available because they’re out of season, or because…it’s Italy, and that’s how things work.  All menu items aren’t necessarily available all the time.

Flamingo, in Hotel Flamingo, on the corner of Corso Italia and Via Bologna.  Another great summertime stop.  Excellent pizzas.  You don’t have to be a hotel guest to drop by for a pizza.  Spinning (stationary bike) classes are offered some evenings and contribute loud music to the atmosphere.

Atratino.  Via Atratina, 141.  Atratino serves Gaeta’s best lasagne.  Service is attentive and many waiters speak English.  Quality is uniform, and the staff is accustomed to large groups and families.

Now I’m hungry.

Walk off your dinner!  Get inspired by reading my newest travel Hub, Explore Baltimore’s Waterfront Promenade.

On road trips with my children, I usually stop at the same old fast food places.  I know good stopping places in Cambridge, Zanesville and Columbus, Ohio.  On the Indiana-to-home run, I tend to stop in Morgantown (voted #1 party university location again this year) and in Cambridge, Maryland.

This trip, we actually tried something new.  Our Indiana friend, Shawn, worked at Steak & Shake during his college years.  He took my son to a Steak & Shake, and now we’re hooked.  The shakes involve real ice cream and real maraschino cherries – worth big points, if you ask my children. Steak & Shake offers chicken sandwiches, even a chicken melt, which helps the Anti-Beef Parental Units (that’s me).  Kids’ meals involve food, not silly toys.  I’m onboard.

When we drive on weekdays, we also enjoy sampling lunch buffets – nearly every strip mall has a Chinese restaurant, and there’s always Pizza Hut – instead of relying on All Things Clown and King.  We can eat endless pizza for the same price as a clowny drive-through meal.  We sit together and stretch our legs.  It’s time well spent, and money well invested.

I’m not much of a picnic person (my ideal picnic involves my personal baguette, knife and jar of Nutella), but picnics can create great road trip memories.  I’ll never forget the leftover lamb spiedini sandwiches my daughter’s godfather, Gene, slapped together, complete with Greek yogurt sauce, on the side of an Italian state road.  We ate alongside a sparkling stream, then tossed our trash into a bag (no trash can…we were in Italy) and watched the children run around on the grass. 

It’s always good to try new road food.  I’m sure I’ll be back at Steak & Shake, come November.  Meanwhile, I’ll dream of lamb cubes and Italian riverside parks.

If you’re planning a trip to Baltimore, check out my newest Hub:  Baltimore’s Best Kid-Friendly Attractions.

My son’s philosophy of European travel in a nutshell…food, scenery, maybe a military museum.

We were looking at blog stats today and I noticed that someone had arrived here via a search for “best restaurants Itri, Lazio.”  Now, I actually do know some wonderful restaurants in Itri.  I just haven’t blogged about them.  At any rate, my son commented that, in his mind, Euro-travel is really, well, all about the food.  And scenery (assuming you’re still awake after the food).

So…where is that good restaurant in Itri?  It’s Taverna Fra Diavolo (the Devil’s Brother Tavern).  It’s right in the main central square of Itri.  Their menu tells the story (in Italian) of the restaurant’s namesake, a dire character.  You don’t need to know anything about that to enjoy this place. 

For one thing, it’s very warm and toasty there on a cold winter day.

For another thing, they serve the best lasagne this side of Umbria.  The Formia/Gaeta/Itri area isn’t known for its baked pasta, because it’s on the gorgeous Golfo di Gaeta.  Seafood is commonly served in local restaurants, but excellent lasagne is hard to find.

If you’re exploring Itri or hanging out on Gaeta’s lovely beaches, check out Taverna Fra Diavolo.  It’s worth the drive.