Tom and I broke one of our golden rules: "Never eat in an empty restaurant!"
We learned from experience it's usually a bad sign. However, after hiking for two hours in Rocks State Park we were so hungry we would have eaten anything, anywhere!
"How about the Gunpowder Lodge?" I suggested. We had been wanting to visit anyway, but kept putting it off at the request of our wimpy kids—who swore it was a biker bar! So silly.
Pulling up we noticed two older women leaving the restaurant and no, they did not drive off on their Harleys! So, we figured our kids must be a little mistaken. Oh yes, they were—t's not a biker bar, it's more of a ski lodge with warmly painted walls, adorned with snow shoes, big wooden canoes and ski bindings cleverly fastened to the booths for hanging your jacket.
Entering through the rustic bar, we were greeted by a friendly waitress and led to a comfy booth. A soccer match was playing on the huge flat screen TV hanging on a stone fireplace, flanked by sunny windows and one other group of "safe" looking diners who were happily eating in the other corner. "Whew, I think we're gonna be OK in here!"
One thing that's so great about this place is its location across from the Big Gunpowder Falls parking area. Belair Road is too dangerous to cross, so it's best to drive. I suppose you could swim across the river and climb up the embankment, however, the hostess might be a bit upset. There's some outdoor seating on the deck and grassy picnic area below. Perhaps she'll let you sit there? Oh, and there's a fun wooden jungle gym for the kids!
Being it was mid-afternoon (no man's land between lunch and dinner) we were a little skeptical about what to order. We decided to share the Ahi Tuna Wrap Sandwich and a large house salad. I let Tom splurge by ordering Potato Salad as our side. Yum! The wrap was delicious! And, as you can see in the photo, the salad wasn't too shabby either. We had asked for the tuna to be medium rare and it really was—kudos to the chef. I swear, some restaurants cook everything to the same temperature no matter what you order. We happily ate every single bite and it wasn't just because we were famished.
Our only complaint was they were playing different music in the bar and the dining area. We were sitting on the borderline of the two sounds and so we listened to mixed up music the entire time. Perhaps they might consider playing the same music or reworking the speakers a little.
Stuffed, we skipped dessert and asked for the bill. I handed the waitress my "Hon Fun" business card and explained what I do. She immediately disappeared and returned with an oval bumper sticker. Cute! Then she excitedly told me the owners had bought a second location in Essex, "The Old Duck Inn," she said as I earnestly wrote this down. "No," she laughed. "It used to be the Duck Inn!" Embarrassed, I quickly crossed that out. "They renamed it Sunset Cove."
Apparently, it's on (or close to) the water and if it's as good at the Lodge, it'll be another nice place to eat. That evening, we told our kids all about it, assuring them it's a wholesome environment and no need to worry about 'bikers,' which, by the way, I want you to know I have no prejudice against. So, the next time we go, they're coming too!