Missing The Shoulder I Used To Cry On

From Waverly, we’re due to ride to the Blue Heron Inn in Darien, Georgia. Our ride to Darien starts out cold, but the sun is shining and we are very happy that the rain has stopped. We warm up quickly, and the ride is mostly a pretty one. It’s also not one of our longer rides. We pass through countryside, plantations, small towns, and – on the outskirts of Darien itself – a shell recycling plant. Later, we’ll learn from our innkeepers that people do, indeed, bring their shells – mostly oyster shells, to the plant for recycling (for fill, and to mix into cement and asphalt).

Much of our ride is along route 17, a road that can be very busy, but isn’t too bad today. I will say that we’re missing the wide shoulders and sidewalks, and generous bike lanes, that Florida provided. Say what you want about Florida; they do make room for bicycles. (Unless … maybe … all those walkways were for wheelchairs? Nah…) The worst it ever gets, for me – and I think for Jerry, too – is a narrow bridge with fast cars and no shoulder. We do ride on a few of these before arriving in Darien.

For such a small town, Darien seems to have a lot to offer. There’s a charming little florist and gift shop called Doodlebugs, and a small restaurant called The Purple Pickle, where we grab coffee and a slice of chocolate peanut butter pie. We see a very upscale-looking wine shop, at least one nice restaurant, and lovely residential streets paralleling the town’s main road.

We ride on. The inn is actually almost ten miles outside of Darien, in the countryside. The homes we pass become more modest, and we see more churches. Finally, we arrive at The Blue Heron. It is a sight for sore eyes, because by that point, we’re pretty tuckered. We’re also wondering if dinner might be part of the scene at the Blue Heron. We’d read that they serve wine in the evening and breakfast in the morning, but no word on dinner, and no restaurants in walking distance – which can be a worry if you don’t want to be biking in the dark.

As we approach the house, we see a man and a dog in the driveway. The man, Bill, is one of the inn’s owners. He’s soft-spoken and friendly. He invites us to park the bikes in the garage. When we walk into the house, he introduces us to his wife, Jan. Bill and Jan have a full house that night, as at least three other couples are staying. Right away, when we ask about nearby places to eat, Jan and Bill both offer to drive us into town so we can eat at their local seafood restaurant. Apparently, they’ve done this sort of thing for guests before. But in addition, this will give Jan a chance to see her sister and attend the local wine tasting event at the upscale wine store we saw earlier. Bill seems less than excited about it; he says he prefers a beer.

Our room overlooks the salt marshes. It is lovely (both the room and the view).

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Salt Marsh Sunset From the Porch Outside Our Room

Over wine later, I ask if anyone might have a Mac that I could try to fix my phone with. Jan has an iPad! It does not work to unstick my phone from the terrible frozen screen. Ah well. We drive into town, and Jerry and I eat at the seafood place. Later, Jan and Bill drive us home.

Before leaving the next morning, we are treated to an amazing breakfast of sweet potato pancakes, bacon, fruit, and I-don’t-even-remember-what-all-else. It’s wonderful. Jan snaps our photo before we get back onto the bikes. Our expressions have, I think, more to do with the sun than with any freefloating anxiety about that day’s ride. We could have had anxiety, if we’d known what it would be like, riding into Savannah! (But that’s a blog for another day…)

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