I had a wonderful trip to Philly and New York. It started out a little rough as I missed my flight out of SF at 8:30am – there was a lot more traffic than I expected. However, I did safely make it to Philadelphia around 11:30pm. I took my first Lyft ride with a nice woman named Cynthia. She drove a little slow, but safe and got me to my destination despite a slight detour when we went to Walnut Lane instead of Walnut Avenue.
I spent my first night with my friends who recently moved to Berwyn, outside of Philly. Her kids woke me up at 8:30am and it was so good to see them! It was a brief visit as they were heading off to school. Erin and I spent the rest of the day visiting. We went to a wonderful coffee shop/bakery called Malvern Buttery. It’s a large open space with benches and table inside and outside, plus sweet living room-esque seating areas inside. We settled into two chairs and I enjoyed a coffee and Erin a hot chocolate; we spent an hour enjoying the ambience and each other’s company. After finishing coffee and a croissant we headed out to Valley Forge.
Valley Forge is a huge open area; it was purposely restored for its historical interest. The houses and businesses were removed and the place looks more like it did when Washington camped there. We toured a redoubt, several bunk houses and an arch that is a tribute to the military. After sitting so long on the flights the day before it felt good to get out and walk.
From there we headed over to a suburb called Wayne for lunch. We both had catfish po’boys which were delicious. After eating we walked around the absolutely enchanting downtown – a great bookstore, an even nicer consignment furniture store (I’d have done some damage to my bank account had the shipping not been out of the question) and a fantastic French bakery. At 3pm I caught a local train into Philly center; my friend Darcy met me and the second part of the trip began.
We hit the road around 5pm and headed north, aiming for White Plains. It was a good ride, without too much traffic. I heard about Darcy’s new home; after renting for years she and her husband decided to put down roots and buy a house. We had another snafu with the address – we ended up in a different town with the same address; fortunately, it was only a short distance to the correct town and our hotel.
We met up with four of the others at the hotel’s bar; they were one drink up on us and we didn’t try to catch up. We had a passable meal and retired to one of the rooms and opened up a bottle of Witching Stick 2011 Cerise Pinot noir. I had dragged two cases of wine across the country with me – one for the Philly friends and one for the eight of us to enjoy in New York. I had the west coast time advantage – while they all stayed up late, hitting the hay at 1am, it was only 10pm for me.
Saturday we met up at 9am for coffee downstairs. It took a while, but we finally decided on a breakfast spot in Tarrytown, just down the road. It was a pleasant diner with quite good omelets and other items. After breakfast we walked around the very cute town, window shopping, though we did spend quite a bit of time in one store. We walked a way, then turned around and walked in another direction. After a bit we decided to go back to the hotel, let the new arrivals check in and grab some more wine. We did that then drove around until we found a lovely water front park where we sat and enjoyed the afternoon. We had an early dinner at a nearby restaurant and went back to the hotel to put on warmer clothes.
We then drove out to Sleepy Hollow for the Pumpkin Blaze. It’s somewhat like the Festival of Lights that the Coast Botanical Gardens puts on, only it’s entirely made up of pumpkins. It was amazing; one of my favorites was the Statue of Liberty.
Sunday we met in the hotel restaurant for dinner, then headed to Fordham for the alumni mass at the church on campus. The campus looked great – all the fall color, plus a lot of work has been done in the 30ish years since we attended. I haven’t been to mass in a few years and it was nice to attend with good friends – and the daughter of one of them who is currently at Fordham.
We walked across the campus and over to Little Italy, Bronx version, where we ate an entirely wonderful meal at Ann & Tony’s, enjoyed with a lovely bottle of Chianti. Another treat was walking to Egidio’s bakery and eating cannoli.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and Darcy and I had to drive back to Philly. We had a good drive and got back in time to do some shopping for her week and for our dinner (she made delicious spaghetti squash with a marinara sauce). All too soon it was time for me to get some sleep as I had another early flight.
Overall, it was a great trip to Philly and New York. The flight home was uneventful – I made the flight, we landed about an hour behind schedule and I was home by 5pm.
This week I’ll be in Maui. Van’s niece is getting married mid-week and his whole family (almost) is flying out. I’m looking forward to some sunshine, some pool and book time and enjoying the aloha spirit. More on that when I return.