We are approaching the summer driving season and interstates tend to bore people. Including me. Although I will say that my wife would almost rather get a root canal without a painkiller than get in the car and drive on the highway. Myself, I kind of like the anonymity of the interstate, just putting my car into drive, hitting the highway and absorbing the rhythms of the road. Despite their blandness and general boringness (yes, I made up a word) how tough it would be to get around without these automobile arteries!
In my over 20 years visiting Amish settlements I've covered a lot of real estate on the freeway and much of it is terribly boring. But there are a few stretches, either for sentimental, scenic, or historic reasons, that I really enjoy. So if you happen to have any trips planned this summer and are going to traverse any of these stretches, think of me:)
INTERSTATE 68: This is one of my favorite highway drives.
I've spent many lonely hours on this road.
I use it as an alternate route from Ohio to the District of Columbia and points on the Eastern Seaboard. This highway also provides easy access to the Amish settlements in western Maryland and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. This is one of the nation's newer interstates, completed in 1991. And, wow, is it gorgeous!
There are some amazing vistas of the western Maryland mountains and there are some scenic overlooks where you can soak in the scenery.
PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE: Call me crazy, but I LIKE this road. Yes, it is full of thundering trucks, patrolling police, and service plazas peddling dreadfully bland Sbarro pizza. But parts of Pennsylvania that you pass through are quite scenic and there's a feeling of accomplishment when you've conquered its entire length. And, of course, if you study Amish culture as I do, there are few better ways to get to Lancaster than the fabled turnpike.
INTERSTATE 95 - Maine: Again, we are talking interstates here. So boredom is part of the price of admission. But there's just something comforting about Maine. And where else can you listen to a radio station called 92 Moose? Bangor, Maine is a charming city which has this eastern lumberjack feel to it and if you make a slight sojourn off 95 to the coast, you'll be rewarded with some of the best scenery in the East. You can also easily visit the Amish settlements in Unity and Smyrna from this highway.
INTERSTATE 35 - Kansas: There's a stretch of scenery near the Matfield Green service plaza as the highway passes through the Flint Hills that truly is gorgeous. It's not a very long stretch, but it makes other more boring parts of the state worth enduring for this patch of beauty.
CANADA HIGHWAY 401 Windsor to London: Okay, there are a gazillion MUCH more beautiful places on highways in Canada to drive than this stretch. But, remember, not all highways make my list here because of beauty. I really do love visiting Canada and for me Windsor is the closest entry point. You really don't feel like you're in Canada until you get out of Windsor, into the countryside and Highway 401 is the best bet from Windsor. You can start counting Tim Horton's, Swiss Chalet restaurants, and crunching numbers in kilometers. You can take in Point Pelee and at the end London, Ontario, a really pretty, cosmopolitan city!
Do you have a favorite stretch of interstate highway? And stay tuned for my next list: LEAST favorite!