I should begin thus: This is not a restaurant.
One of the problems with taking road trips is the hit-and-miss nature of roadside lodgings. Some are inexpensive and quite pleasant, but the majority cost too much, haven’t been renovated in a generation, serve battery acid thinly disguised as coffee, and contain more bedbugs than patrons. Even the most expensive chain hotels can provide unpleasant surprises, especially in a travel nexus like Export, Lumberton, or the state of Florida. (If you’ve ever stayed in Lumberton, you’ll understand. It’s not for the squeamish.)
The Darien Waterfront Inn is among the more pleasant places I’ve spent the night. Originally a derelict warehouse, it now boasts a grand total of eight guest rooms of surpassing comfort and cleanliness, seven of which open onto a near-perfect back porch. The furniture is well-worn and extremely comfortable, the atmosphere is relaxed and inviting, and breakfast in the morning is an event not to be missed. The coffee is just about perfect.
(One of the best features of this place is that it’s an easy walk to Skippers Fish Camp, which serves arguably the best shrimp south of Heminways and east of Breton Sound.)
Of the many potential tourist destinations along the eastern seaboard, the muck-filled harbor at Darien may not seem the most inviting. But give it a try, and tell them who sent you. They’ll get a kick out of it.