June 2015

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We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.

Malcolm X



VICTORII REBUILD, artist San Priest.

Made from remnants of the World Trade Center

There are few events as heartbreaking as the death of a child, even in the eyes of strangers some 246 years later.

Welcome to the final installment of our Pennsylvania road trip! The above photos are from Bethlehem, another town with a steel industry that bit the dust, the old mill doing it’s beautiful best to rust across the ages. Bethlehem was founded on Christmas Eve in 1741 by a group of Moravian Missionaries (creators of beautiful stars and ultra thin and delicious cookies). The third photo down is the building where the first water works for public use dates to 1762. The thrilling luxury of pumped water. History in combination with beautiful buildings gets me jazzy-jazzed!

Speaking of jazzy-jazzed, I love a rolling landscape. This photo is the tip of the iceberg, or perhaps I should say top of the hill, my friends. You’ll see.

Our brief foray into Pottsville included driving some 45 degree angle streets, zipping past the Yuengling Brewery (the oldest in the country) too fast to snap a photo, and lunch. What a lunch it was. Tex-Mex in an old diner, that, in front of which, back in it’s diner heyday, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a speech to some 12,000 people. There’s a lovely photo right above the counter. More history! And that was the hubster’s pulled pork torta. Good to the very last, he said.

Centralia – The Town that Was. A few roads, a few houses, and a few stubborn and sentimental residents are all that remain of a once thriving town. The mine on which the majority of its citizens made their living caught fire in 1962 and has been burning ever since. If, like me, you read A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson (Egads! This was in 1998?), it probably rings a bell. Though I think it is much more deserted since his visit. Learn the history in this interesting documentary.

We toured, with our expert and quite amusing guide, Joe, a coal mine! the Pioneer Tunnel is absolutely fascinating, beautiful in its own way, and terrifying, too. The second picture of the mine? Twenty minutes straight up that ladder was our escape hatch. Some people do this every day. Bless them.


I never tire of pastoral landscapes. Never.

Millheim, happily sated after a meal at the Elk Creek Cafe, mere seconds before a storm.

It followed us all the way to State College.

A liege waffle at Sadie’s. Mmmm…

Penn State


Dean’s Diner (about an hour east of Pittsburgh) has got to be coolest looking, ever. Their baker arrives at 3 am to make marvels of the simplest ingredients, thirty pies on weekdays, fifty on weekends. The selection is phenomenal. The taste even better.

Thank you, Pennsylvania, for a tremendous trip!


Bartram’s Garden: the oldest Botanic Garden in the United States. Located on the western banks of the Schuylkill (skoo-kul, I kid you not), it is far from the center of town, though within sight of it, a winding path leading to the view below. It’s mostly a place for weddings and school children to learn about the wonders of the natural world. The house was completed in 1731, and the wisteria arbor, while not the original, is in the exact location where Bartram hosted his friends, the likes of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. I like to imagine Benjamin bumping along winding country roads in a candle-lit buggy before arriving to discuss independence and the latest advancements in botany over hard cider or maybe a tankard of lager.

I loved flag lined Broad Street to Philadelphia City Hall – the building was the tallest in the world from 1894-1908 (the year my Great Aunt Mary was born).

The hubster caters to my photography whims at the Barnes Museum. What an amazing collection! Also the focus of a fascinating documentary. I thought I wrote about it ages ago but can’t seem to find a post. Drat. Anyhoo, it is proof positive that people often don’t give a rat’s ass about your wishes upon your death, in particular the wealthy heirs of your envious enemies.

Wowie zowie salad and pizza at Vetri!

Sweetie pie kitty cats at The Book Corner

Another grand old house, The Francis Cope at Awbury Arboretum.

Bridges across the Schuylkill

The Irish Memorial

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge across the Delaware River. Hullo New Jersey!

Dinner at the Lucha Cartel – the best Mexican food we’ve had since crossing the Mississippi. Muchas gracias!

What do you expect with a parrot and a monkey?

The view from our digs in Society Hill, pretty sweet.

Neighborhood murals and fantastical mosaics at Philadephia’s Magic Gardens. Art is the center of the real world…

The Beasley Building, founded 1785

For everyone who dreamt of running naked while brandishing a rubber chicken and a cleaver as a child, this is for you.

Carpenter’s Hall

Discussions about the beginnings of the United States were held here! Also the location of the first bank robbery on American soil, with nearly 140,000 stolen from a vault in the basement.

Independence Hall

John Barry – Father of the American Navy

The Dream Garden, by Maxfield Parrish

15′ X 49′, it is made from over 100,000 pieces of favrile glass. Constructed by Tiffany Studios and completed in 1916.

Where Thomas Jefferson wrote The Declaration of Independence!

Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness.

The Pennsylvania Hospital – America’s First

 A serious nod to Mondrian

Crazy good dinner, service, and generous pours of bourbon at the Twisted Tail. They have plaid wallpaper! This is important, though I’m still deciding why.

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Bye, bye Philly, you sure were swell!

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Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge across the Susquehanna River

Cheeky Intercourse is a tourist haven, with every manner of home good and trinket available on offer.

The lovely Revere Tavern, situated on an old pike, it was owned by President James Buchanan, and has been serving pretty delicious dinners for more than two hundred and fifty years! The history around here is astonishing, and I am likely to sound like a broken record on this subject until my musings on this trip are over, so apologies in advance. As Westerners, it is wild and wonderful to be in the presence of such age, to think about all the people who have ever lived here and there, shared a meal, shed a tear, with hardly a trace of the majority. That will be us. That will be me. Fear not, I am not gloomy about it, only philosophical. This is life.

Dutch Haven is famous for its Shoo-Fly Pie. It wasn’t my thing, but the building is the TOPS!

Before traveling to Lancaster, we wondered if we would actually see horse drawn carts and buggies or if it was mere tourist campaign propaganda. My friends, it’s real. There are buggies galore, of all shapes and sizes, on every manner of road, even parked alongside cars at markets and roadside stands. We were quite awestruck.


Lancaster Central Market – the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in the country. It did not disappoint.

Home of Henry Muhlenberg, a famous botanist who lived from 1753-1815.

First Presbyterian Church, circa 1851

This mosaic is made from bread clips! Take a step back to fully appreciate the awesomeness. It is on display at On Orange, where we enjoyed a fabulous brunch and some of the best service anywhere.

Great browsing and buying at Dogstar Books. The ladder, peeps!

Lancaster County is truly marvelous, with a vibrant downtown and college campus, to fine architecture lining streets named Lemon, Lime, and Orange(!), to fabulous cupcakes and beautiful handmade pottery, to the splendid pastoral rolling farm scenes of our imagination, we were surprised and delighted at every turn.

Look, the hubster in Philadelphia!

Shane Confectionery – old-timey beautiful sweetness. Try the Coconut Batido!

Charming Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia’s Old City is the oldest residential street in America. The buildings date as far back as 1728.

This was our favorite coffee shop in Philly – Menagerie.

United States Custom House

Society Hill Neighborhood, our home away from home.

More Philadelphia to come!

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Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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