Return to the Road, Part 4: Looking to the Future, Wrapping Up the Past

The end of the season is fast approaching, and before it all goes dark I plan on hitting the road one more time. Here’s the itinerary:

8/30: Williamsport

8/31: Aberdeen

9/1: Hagerstown

9/2: Bowie

9/3: Delmarva

As you may recall I visited Williamsport last season, but this time around I’ll be spending the evening as a member of the team’s promo crew. From there it’s off to Maryland, taking in four games within a region that is definitely not lacking in Minor League Baseball. The relatively last-second nature of this trip, combined with the hurricane uncertainty surrounding the east coast, means that many of the specifics have yet to be ironed out. But I’ll do my best to roll with it; we all will.

As always, get in touch with any recommendations regarding things to do/see/eat while on the road. Time is always at a premium, but I do my best to take everything into consideration. Really, I do.

But, jeez, since I’m returning to the road I better hurry up and finish this “Return to the Road” series of blog posts. The previous dispatch covered Day 5 of my Carolinas trip, focusing on the culinary delights and shopping meccas to be found between Durham and Burlington.

Today’s post, then, starts in Burlington. One more time, in bold:

Day 6: Burlington, N.C.

I attended the B-Royals game the night before, but before departing I the next day I made a point to explore Burlington’s downtown area.

It’s an appealing place, with more traditional establishments such as shoe stores, tailors, and banks sharing space with tattoo parlors, art studios and dive bars.

A Rookie ball town with Class A aspirations:

The ultimate destination was Zack’s, an iconic hot dog joint that’s been in business for 83 years.  Simply put, this is a must-visit establishment if you’re ever in Burlington.

The place was jam-packed and the service lightning quick. I ordered a hot dog with slaw and onions, cheese fries, and the third (and best) Cheerwine incarnation I was to come across: an ice-cold glass bottle.

Thoroughly satiated, I then made the idyllic drive to Danville.

Unfortunately, the remainder of the afternoon was spent in a losing battle with the Danville Best Western’s internet connection. I should have explored the town instead, especially the famous “Millionaire’s Row.”

But such is life on these trips, mistakes are made and you can never do it all.

Day 7: Winston-Salem, N.C.

The final destination was Winston-Salem, home of the Dash. Not too much to report from here that hasn’t already been reported, but I would like to note that prior to attending the ballgame I stopped at Bib’s BBQ in the city’s downtown.

The motto of this establishment is “It’s Not Eastern or Western…It’s Bestern!”

“Bestern”, in my case, consisted of a three-bone plate of St. Louis Style ribs, red cabbage slaw, hush puppies (the best I had on the trip!), Texas toast, collard greens and a sweet tea.

Writing these posts agitates me — why can’t these plates of food actually be in front of me now, in real life? In New York City I subsist on red velvet donuts, taco trucks, and Triscuits.

Bibb’s is located on 5th Street, not be confused with 4 1/2 Street.

As for downtown itself, I didn’t have much time to explore. The two photographs I have feature buildings right across the street from one another. This historic and dignified church…

is in a perpetual stare-off with this monolithic fortress of unspecified commercial concern.

Anti-climactic as it may be, this really is all that I’ve got from the Carolinas (save for the inevitable pics of the random swag that was accumulated).

Thanks, as always for reading. Hope everyone safely weathers the storm this weekend, and here’s to an excellent last week of the Minor League season!


  1. Bruce H. Voge

    When in Hagerstown check out a place called Krumpe’s Do-Nuts after the game. The place is only open 7pm to I think 3am Sunday to Friday. It is located in Do-Nut alley, which you can miss if you are not looking for it. They are some of the best donuts in the country.

    • BensBiz

      This will actually be my first time at the Ripken complex, looking forward to checking it out. And the evening I’ll be there is indeed “Crab Night.” Hopefully I can get a piece of that action…

  2. Chris Bunting (@bzblfan)

    Zack Hot Dogs! I will have 2 Combinations with chili. And a cold bottle of Cheerwine. Glad you made it to Zack’s. It has probably cut 10 years off my life over the years. No longer live in Burlington, but you brought back some good memories of working with the Indians/Royals and in the old BAP. Great series of posts. I look forward to your next road trip series.

    • BensBiz

      Thanks, Chris. I really enjoyed being at Zack’s — good food in a great atmosphere with tons of character. I think having just one meal there cut 10 hours off of my life, but it was worth it.

  3. Bruce H. Voge

    The other cool thing to note at Ripken is the scoreboard. Just like the “The Baltimore Sun” at Camden Yards blinks for certain on field occurances so does the one at Ripken. The K blinks for a strike out, the RIP blinks for a base hit. etc… Also the kiddie area tokens are Aberdeen Ironbirds tokens, and in the out field one of the markers is made of baseballs, it is the Ripken family jersey numbers (I think that’s what it is).

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