Recalling that famous strip of Southwest highway, I’ve discovered my own personal Route 66. That would be Route 346, also known as Old Ocean City Road, which parallels Route 50 heading east out of Salisbury.
In days gone by, it was the way to reach the beach.
Today, it’s my local nostalgia trip when I wish to avoid the faster pace of Ocean City-bound traffic.
I start my journey by veering off Route 50 where it intersects with East Main Street, which then becomes Route 346. Very soon I leave the commercial establishments behind, to be replaced by neatly kept neighborhoods with homes drawn up close to the black ribbon of road.
House styles are older but still appealing and impart the feeling that I’m back in the days of the 1950s when I played hopscotch and rode bikes and caught fireflies at night in a place such as this.
If there are no cars behind me, I slow down to take it all in and let my mind drift back to my childhood summers in suburban Baltimore.
Gradually, the homes become more spread out as I pass through Parsonsburg and Pittsville, and farmland begins to appear. Of course, there are the obligatory chicken houses; after all, it is the Eastern Shore.
In the heat of summer, tasseled corn stands at attention, alternating with wooded portions of the road which are leafy and cool as you pass through. And, as fall approaches, roadside yard sales seem to appear at nearly bend in the road.
One September morning, as the mist was still rising, I counted more than a dozen yards where there were treasures waiting to be found.
The ride would not be complete without the attraction of some eclectic restaurants that beckon from the roadside: Fat Boy’s Crabs, Dave White’s Pittsville Dinette (Dave himself is always on hand to greet you) and the Village Inn Family Tavern (an oxymoron?) all embody local flavor.
Add in a few antique and secondhand shops, and you can easily while away some time if you care to stop.
All too soon, it seems, I must quit Route 346 as I head on to other destinations.
It’s always a little sad to leave my special strip of road behind.
They say you can never go home again, but I beg to differ.
Route 346 feels like home to me, and I can go there just about any time I choose.
Susan Peacock lives in Salisbury.