First, we crossed the Mason Dixon line, and immediately I felt about five years younger. I am not really sure why I still live in the South. It's here, at the Pennsylvania border, that forests begin to look like forests. You can see the underbrush that isn't hidden under so many vines.
We were driving from D.C. to Quebec, first passing through the rugged area around Gettysburg where there are cornfields and haystacks on uneven terrain. There is a mountain ridge to the west that in the evening really does turn blue. This is a corner of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia that I've heard people call the "Shire."
As we started to climb the ridge, almost immediately a mountain valley opened beneath us in all its customary beauty. In the middle of coal country, there is a diner that served Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, with so many dolls and stuffed animals and jars of jam inside that the overall effect of the interior decoration is to make the place look like a quilt.
Then the road winds along the meandering rivers of upstate New York, where there are mansions that you can already imagine transforming into ruins.
Dipping up and down, like on a mountain pass but with no panorama to speak of, you see birch trees and yellow flowers.
The hills mostly go away once you approach Lake Ontario, driving, one would assume, on flat land leveled by the glaciers.There are streams with names like "Sandy Creek" with tiny beaches that look inviting.
You reach the St. Lawrence River upon entering the "Thousand Islands" region, about which I have two comments. 1) That's where the salad dressing comes from; 2) Avoid the I-81 border crossing if possible; there are too many boats and recreational vehicles. You can follow a two-lane road to another bridge at Ogdensburg, which makes for a slow drive but, we found on the return trip, ends up being worth it.
We found lunch in a riverside village in Ontario, on a cobblestone main street with several Asian restaurants, including one that offered "Chinese and Canadian" cuisines.