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08 July 2013

Dear Pennsylvania: I love you.

Last weekend I fell in love with the woodlands of the late Mr. William Penn (a.k.a. "Pennsylvania"). 

It was love at first sight, I tell you. I didn't see it coming and all of a sudden BAM! I got smacked in between the eyes. How romantic.
Pennsylvania, "you had me at 'hello.'"
Earlier in the spring, I decided that I wanted to take a summer road trip out to Philadelphia to see one of my BFFs, Kelly. Being that Philadelphia is 10.5 hours away from me, it had been well over a year since I had seen Kelly. It so happened that Kelly would be co-hosting a party that weekend, along with our other, mutual BFF Margaret (who also lives in Pennsylvania, though in Pittsburgh). I decided to invite myself to the party (and thus Kelly's home since I clearly was not going to drive ten hours, party it up, and drive ten hours back). Good thing Kelly was more than happy to oblige me. Whatta gal, that girl!

Kelly, me, Margaret (looking fiiine on Sunday morning, post-party)
The drive was totally worth it. I am Midwestern born and raised. I am most familiar and comfortable with long drives that consist of farm fields and the occasional rolling hill. Once you pass over the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line the landscape changes dramatically!!


Hills. Hills. And more hills, I tell you! There was a nasty rainstorm at one point; the hilly landscape looked reallly cool against the clouds.

The rain passed just in time for us to catch the most exquisite sunset...

I found the views so breath-taking that the drive itself was very enjoyable and passed quite quickly (it helped that I stopped in Pittsburgh to pick up Margaret's sister, Emily, who accompanied me for the second-half of the drive...and assisted in taking pictures for me!). After such a wonderful drive, the City of Brotherly Love did NOT disappoint!

Kelly knows how much I love design and architecture. She was awesome at indulging my oogling eyes, craning neck, and oohs-n-aahs as we drove around the city.

City Hall: topped off by Ben Franklin...who, at certain angles, looks like he is peeing. This snapshot is not of that angle, btw

More shots of City Hall, as reflected off a nearby building

the Masonic Temple...classy Philly.

This next shot is of Philly's ship-building yards. Not terribly exciting, but I thought the picture looked neat. I took it as we zoomed by on the express way, which was lined with metal gates.

This is "Smashy's." It's where you send your car when it doesn't work any more.

And they do this to it:

No. I'm not kidding.
Another aspect of Philly that I totally loved was their practice of incorporating mini-parks through out the downtown area. This was the best shot I could get of one such green space. Trust me, it was tres charming.

More pictures of downtown:

Philly also had a nice dose of "weird" in the form of artistic murals such as this. It was kind of cool looking. I can't really tell you much us about it though...

After cruising around downtown, Kelly and I went to her parent's house in the suburbs. Oh my gosh, guys, I felt as if I were in the English country side!!

Sunday morning, we hit up the Traditional Latin Mass with Kelly's family, a large, predominantly-daughters family. All together, we were ten women sitting in our pew.

The church was 'okay.'

The church was located within walking distance of the city's Italian Market. We ambled over after Mass (actually, it was more like trotting, since it was raining). Kelly insisted that I try a FOR REAL Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. I am so glad I did. Those things are divine. 

I found the Italian market to be incredibly neat. Such ethnic/cultural hubs do not exist in my town. 

While waiting for the (fresh) sandwiches, Kelly's mother very kindly treated us to some delicious Italian coffee. 

I told you there were a lot of us! 
I spotted this classy-sassy joint across the way. Yup, folks. That is an alcohol-serving bar.

 After inhaling the Philly Cheese Steaks in the ever-most ladylike fashion, we zipped back to the family abode for some more quality time before hitting the road. But not before enjoying an impromptu tea party. It was absolutely delightful.

total failed attempt at an artistic shot of said tea party

After some long good-byes, I climbed back in the car with Margaret and Emily, who were driving with me to Pittsburgh, the city they call home.

Pittsburgh: The city of bridges 

Pittsburgh, another favorite city of mine, is also the home of yet another BFFL, Kathleen. Kathleen too is friends with Kelly and Margaret, but was not able to make it to Philadelphia for the weekend. Nevertheless, I was able to extend my weekend a little bit by staying with Kathleen that night.
a picture of the four of us from Kathleen's 2012 wedding
Kathleen, who is currently working in Cleveland, and I were up suuuper early the next morning to start our respective drives.

The last 100 miles of the 1250+mile trip were a little rough. A sighting of the Oscar Meyer wienie mobile gave me a hearty laugh, providing enough endorphins to hold me over until I got home.
#borntobun, indeed
It was a fantastic weekend. I am so grateful that I could visit with my girl-friends. Being with them enriches my life, replenishes my soul, and gladdens my heart. The 21 hours of driving was more than worth it! Not only is Pennsylvania an awesome state, it also is the home of three of my closest friends. It has so much going for it that I can't help falling in love with the "virtuous commonwealth," as some are inclined to call it. (though it's not as if I was trying not to!)

1 comment:

  1. I really hope this happened just this past weekend because if you drove through Pittsburgh and didn't call us you would be in big trouble! Just throwing that out there! Also, since you love it so much, you should probably come back. :) That's all!


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