Thursday, November 20, 2008

Five Things I Love about Pennsylvania

So, a while back, I did the 5 things I miss about Connecticut. Now, I'll give you some things that make me very happy to be living where I am.

1. Friends -- some of you may recall that before I moved, I was afraid I wasn't going to make friends. Silly me. I've made some wonderful new friends in the past year. The way people have reached out to Bob and me since we moved here has just been humbling. For instance, we will be enjoying two Thanksgiving meals this year, one on Thursday and one on Friday. Oh, and I have to add that some of these friends are as insanely bookish and nerdy as we are.

2. The Amish -- I love hearing the clip-clop of the horses and buggies passing in the streets. I love their beautiful farms and the resulting goodies at their farm markets. I love their gentle, quiet ways of being. I love their oh-so-European-looking (and sweet) children. Oh, and did I mention I love their sticky buns and cherry pies?

3. The Free Library of Philadelphia -- I just love the fact that it's called "free" -- echoes of the significance of the city in the founding of a free nation, as well as, of course, blatantly stating "you don't have to pay to read our books." I haven't bothered to look up the history, but I'm guessing it was founded during a time when fee-paying lending libraries were still the norm and that it was something special for being "free." Oh yes, and it's also a magnificent old library, one to rival (dare I say it?) New York and Boston.

4. History -- in downtown Lancaster, you can still drive down narrow brick streets. The Central Market is America's oldest farmer's market building. To our east, we have Valley Forge and Philadelphia (with its free library). To our West, we have Gettysburg. We have magnificent old homes everywhere and all kinds of parks and trails that trace the state's natural history.

5. Location, location, location -- it's quite cool to live in a state that's pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the east coast. It means that in less than eight hours, I can drive to such diverse locations as Boston to my north; Raleigh, NC to my south; and Cleveland, OH to my west. NYC; D.C.; Baltimore; and Wilmington, DE are all day-trip-drives. (Of course, I haven't taken much advantage of this yet, but we've only been here a year). And then there are oh-so-many beautiful beaches, also all within an 8-hour drive (and some much, much closer than that) from Rehobeth, DE to Nags Head, N.C. to Cape May, NJ, to Cape Cod, MA. doesn't seem that five is enough. I'll have to do Five More Things at some point, because I want to talk about things like country roads and covered bridges and pretzels. Stay tuned...


Anne Camille said...

You are so lucky to have moved somewhere that is not only a wonderful place to live, but one that has embraced you & Bob as you have embraced it.

knitseashore said...

You almost had me, until you said something about beaches being *within eight hours* (gasping and choking now at thought of this...). But you *do* have a great cycling community there, and you live not far from where Floyd Landis and his family live, so that not quite makes up for the beaches part. :)

P.S. What you said about book shopping with Hobs and Dorr...I so agree. I've been looking at my McReading lately in light of visiting some shops with them and feel terribly ashamed. Chris at least has saved the family name with Ray Bradbury and Poe and Wharton.

Emily Barton said...

Cam, yes, we are lucky. Although, if you'd gotten to meet Bob, you'd see that it's pretty hard to find a place where people wouldn't embrace him.

Ms. Knits, well, they're not ALL 8-hours away. The DE and southern NJ shores are only 2-3 hours away. But Cape Cod, yes, is 8-hours away (sigh!). And glad to know I'm not the only one who feels ashamed of my McReading (love the way you put that!).

Watson Woodworth said...

1 Tasty Cake.
2 The Wall-mart next to a cake factory where everything smelled like cake batter (I drove a truck for evil, evil Wall-mart for six weeks)
3 The truck stop in the Poconos with a free internet kiosk (It's where I let the folks know I was still alive)
4 Whyy in Philadelphia.
5 Jersey.

Rebecca H. said...

Those are all wonderful things! I'd enjoy PA too if I lived there :) I'm so glad you have found those friends, but I'm not at all surprised. If there's one thing I've learned about you, it's that you have a genius for making friends and for helping your friends make friends!

Emily Barton said...

Nigel, I want to find that Walmart! (Not so I can shop at Evil Walmart but so I can smell that cake batter.)

Dorr, hmmm...maybe I need to rethink my assumption that I'm the shy one who's always sitting uncomfortably in a corner somewhere? Maybe Bob has rubbed off on me over the years.

Anonymous said...

Great idea, to think about the things you like in your current home, not just what you miss about your old one. I'll have to do this myself.

Emily Barton said...

NS, I think it's a good thing to do every so often.