MY WIFE and I are transplanted Chevy Chase sophisticates-become-hayseeds in western Howard County ["1 Hour," June 6]. We moved 13 years ago, before the mass invasion of McMansions. In New Market, Mealies (as you note) and the tearoom at the western edge of town are good. The tearoom is open for lunch and serves the best homemade pies ever.
But the true gem of the area is the Olde Town Restaurant on Main Street in Mt. Airy for breakfast. This is an old-fashioned small-town restaurant, with all that implies. The decor is 1940s -- I know, I was 12 in that great year -- and the service is -- well, the waitress calls me babe. I always order two pancakes, two eggs over easy and country sausage. Parisian it's not. But it is extraordinarily good.
LOVED Tom Sietsema's "Postcard From Tom" on eating in Barcelona [June 6], and I'd like to add another delicious food find. La Fianna (15 Banys Vells) hosts a delighful Sunday brunch in the heart of the old Born district. It's a huge and cool sofa-strewn place with comfortable nooks all over. In addition to a traditional full English, Irish and American breakfast (and who doesn't crave that at least once on a trip?), it supplies stacks of English-language Sunday newspapers for patrons to peruse while tucking into eggs and bacon. A joy.
At night the place is a spacious, cheerful bar, but the Sunday brunch . . . mmmmm.
M. R. Bradford
Squalling Toddlers, Cont'd
REGARDING YOUR May 23 CoGo item concerning the Southwest flight between Albuquerque and BWI: Thank God for the attendant who ushered off the family with the squalling child. There are few things more traumatic than a 41/2-hour trip trapped in an airplane with a screaming child aboard. I know; I've been there. Exits of this kind should happen more often. Airlines used to regulate smokers to the rear-most seats of the plane. I suggest they do the same with children. Let them experience the screaming, seat-kicking and food throwing all to themselves, and leave the rest of us in peace.
CONGRATULATIONS to Southwest Airlines for deciding that the obnoxious behavior of the uncontrolled toddler was sufficient grounds for removing him from the flight. "He's just a child" or "he's soooo tired" is not sufficient justification for others to endure behavior that, if exhibited by an adult, would be assessed as "disturbing the peace." Families traveling with children should determine their travel capabilities and adjust their plans accordingly. I pay for my airfare. Why should I be required to tolerate the screeches of a toddler traveling at no cost? I applaud the crew that recognized that others have the right to enjoy the peaceful flight for which they paid.
Has anybody considered that a child throwing a tantrum could be just the diversion that a terrorist needs?
Nancy G. Chapman
Front Royal, Va.
Victoria Ferry, Cont'd
MARTHA JOHNSTON could not be more wrong in saying it is not convenient to get to the ferry terminals from downtown Vancouver or Victoria without a car [Travel Q&A, June 6]. The Pacific Coach Lines transport could not be easier or more accommodating, with frequent daily departures.
The bus does not simply drop you off at the ferry -- it is your direct transport to the airport in Vancouver. It goes onto the ferry, luggage is safely aboard and you next see it at the airport in Vancouver. The ferry ride is beautiful and meal accommodations are varied, from fast food to a lovely sit-down dining room with great views and good food; breakfast was less than $10. The same trip can be made in reverse from either downtown Vancouver or the airport.
In Victoria I stayed at the Strathcona Hotel, a few blocks up from the PCL office/depot. The night before departure I wheeled my bag down to the office, left it in the closed luggage area for no charge (lockers are available but were full), then the next morning walked unencumbered to catch the bus. It was a stress-free and very pleasant day!
Disney World, Cont'd
I JUST read Steve Hendrix's article on Disney World ["Don't Make Me Stop This Vacation," May 16] on Msnbc.com. As someone who has gone to Disney eight years in a row and stayed on property with my family each time, I must say he is right on the money: planning, adapting, bailing out in the afternoon, taking advantage of extended hours, Fastpass, parent-switching.
Another tip: You don't have to use your Fastpass by the ending time stated on the pass. We now accumulate Fastpasses and use them when it best fits the plan, especially on rides that tend to have long Fastpass waits (GM test track, pooh). Get the passes first thing in the morning but don't use them till later, when the Fastpass wait is longer. Also, use Fastpass to go on a ride two times in a row with only waiting once.
My wife used Birnbaum's as our tour guide initially. We have refined our plan over the years to adjust to the kids' ages (now 10 and 6), but never have a bad experience because we change the plan when situation dictates. Whenever people mention Disney to us, we give them our road map to sanity.
Paul C. Hoffman
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