After an easy New Year's Eve, my wife and I took our annual top-down road trip to water. In the past, we've been to the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River, Atlantic Ocean, James River, and more, depending on where we were living at the time. This year, we went to Great Falls National Park--really nice, and quite impressive, even for Paula, who grew up within half an hour of Niagara Falls! After the water and top-down ride (maybe two minutes--it's a lot colder here than in New Orleans and Cameron), we headed to Ford's Fish Shack for our traditional New Year's Feast of shellfish and Bloody Marys. We sure picked the right place! Ford's is a local institution with locations in Ashburn and Chantilly, but this was our first visit. It certainly won't be our last. Unfortunately, I don't remember the bartender's name, but she was terrific: she makes a good spicy BM, and she is personable and very efficient. The oysters, Blue Point and Vancouvers, were cold, briney, and delicious. The fried belly clams were perfectly cooked and really good--so much better than the ubiquitous tasteless clam strips HoJo made famous. The clam chowdah was probably the next-best I ever had, second only to a bowl I had in Ogunquit, Maine, several years back. The perfect way to begin 2014.
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