These Go to Eleven

Every time I drive through Northern Virginia on I-81, I want to stop at Route 11 Potato Chips but the timing is never quite right. Last weekend, I was rushing to Frederick to see a high-wheel bicycle race. On Friday, I needed to get to Bristol to meet some friends who were taking me to a NASCAR race.

I had just decided to skip the chip factory yet again when I flipped on the radio and hit scan. The dial landed on a discussion about potato chips. The station was WMRA, the NPR affiliate for the Shenandoah Valley. It only took a moment to realize that I was hearing an interview with the founder of Route 11 Potato Chips, Sarah Cohen. I also realized that the local interviewer, Martha Woodroof, was doing a better job than the nationally syndicated host of “Fresh Air,” which airs in that same time-slot the other four days of the week.

I figured that fate had intervened and that I should stop by for a look. The radio interview ended as I pulled into the parking lot outside the chip factory. I hoped they would have sweet potato chips, but I was ten days too early for the seasonal treat. Instead I picked up a bag of Chesapeake Crab chips (which contain no seafood) to take to the race and another one to take home.

Route 11 Potato Chips gift shop A clerk named Ben said he would give me a third bag for free if I promised to “like” them on Facebook. I said I would and I let him pick the flavor of the free chips. He chose Salt & Vinegar.

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