I-95 gets all of us from here to there lickety split (as long as there aren’t accidents, traffic jams, construction or other hindrances.) But as Stan and Sandra Posner can tell you, this 1,920 mile highway doesn’t just take you from Florida to Canada, it takes you to small town America, amusement parks, scenic areas — places you just gotta see.
The Posners have been writing Drive I-95 through six editions, the most recent published in August. In the process they’ve gotten off every exit, checked out restrooms and truck stops, eaten at restaurants and visited local attractions. If it’s going on near I-95, they know about it.
“Every exit is his child,” Sandra said about her husband Stan. The couple — seasoned travel writers from Montreal — seek to make the book fun to read as well as fun to use.
So they know — and write about — all kinds of stuff: trivia, history, radio stations, where to eat, sleep, and have a good time.
When I asked them for recommendations for exits not to miss, they came up with three. All are perfect for a day away.
Fayetteville, North Carolina
First, there are the bison at Jambbas Ranch. “A whole herd just wanders over to you,” Stan explained.
If they weren’t enough of a surprise, the Posners were delighted to discover they could visit Fort Bragg, one of the nation’s largest military bases. They visited two museums, ate lunch and rubbed elbows with members of the Armed Forces and were lucky enough to see paratroopers jumping at night.
If all of that isn’t enough of a thrill, the Posners recommend a visit to ZipQuest, which goes over a waterfall.
“There’s so much to do there,” Stan said of this historic seafaring town.
“What he’s talking about is time travel,” added Sandra. “People don’t know you can do it there. It’s really stepping into the 19th Century.”
Some of their favorite stops are Mystic Seaport — complete with historic houses, boats and history exhibits on whaling.
“That city is great for eating,” Sandra said.
In nearby Groton, the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine, is open for tours. It’s free, Stan said.
Fans of old time country stores will want to stop at Franklin’s General Store for their fudge, wooden toys and other old-fashioned wares.
“Alexandria, Virginia wowed us from the moment we arrived,” Stan said. They were awed by the feelings they felt as they saw George Washington’s townhouse and the apothecary where Martha shopped, the historic Gadsby’s Tavern — even the streets which look much as they did two centuries ago. “He walked on these cobblestones,” Stan said.
“It’s a great little city,” Sandra added.
In addition to the history all around, they recommend visiting the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, the Torpedo Factory Art Center, as well as any of the little restaurants around town. “It also has the water,” Sandra said. She also noted that Alexandria’s location makes it a great base for visiting Washington, D.C., or National Harbor across the Potomac.
The book isn’t all the Posners do. Having made I-95 a 12-year project, they have additional information on their website, including listings of events and help planning your next road trip. You can even get your own copy of the book here.
Most importantly, they encourage motorists to get off the highway once in a while. There are plenty of adventures out there — and lots are at bargain prices.
“There’s a lot of free stuff to do,” Sandra said. “You can just get off an exit and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.”
© Text Mary K. Tilghman
Book cover and the Posners’ portrait courtesy of the authors.
Jambbas Ranch photo courtesy of Jambbas.
Charles W. Morgan photo courtesy Mystic Seaport.
Masonic Temple photo is my own.
I-95 sign illustration by Brigid Truitt/MK Tilghman
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