After Shannon and I got the girls all doped up on s'mores, got the rustic creative whims out of our system and we all knew each other a tad, Saturday made for a fabulous sight-seeing day.
Now here's where I level with you: If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll notice I'm usually a one photo per post kinda girl. I like things to be just so, and my patience runs out if I'm editing 10-20 photos. (This is why I'll never be a real photographer.) I just don't have the patience to dreamifiy/edit all our touristy shots. Also, most of the shots are ridiculous, and I'm embracing it.
This train is headed straight towards Gritty, Untouched Reality. All aboard!
Our first stop in Philly was the US Post Office...official Numero Uno. We didn't pop in, but we ogled the gorgeous shutters and exterior...and I spent a little time wishing my Post Office looked like this one. It's beyond cute.
And then there was silly photo-taking. Had there been an Always Bloggy Opening Ceremony, I would have demanded Shannon burst through a history doorway...much like this...singing and jazz-handsing her way through a lengthy welcome song. Unfortunately that didn't happen. But she did pose for this photo.
Next we hit up Elfreth's Alley, the oldest street in Philly. The street is dreamylicious and we pondered pitching in to buy one of the pads that was for sale. It would be perfect for the couple** who doesn't mind gaggles of tourists traipsing across the front stoop, wondering loudly why there are so many darn brass pineapples on every door. If you're wondering...pineapples are apparently a sign of welcome. Or wealth. But really...aren't they the same thing? ;)
We stopped for a group photo opp, and feeling especially camera-hammy, I decided to assume the "1999 Volleyball Team Photo Pose". No one loved this more than a pack of Japanese tourists, seen on the right. Shortly after this photo was snapped, they all turned around, started laughing + pointing and then began taking photos of us. We were confused and simultaneously humored by their delight. Shannon made sure to holler, "TAG ME ON FACEBOOK!" as they walked away.
Something tells me she's going to have to tag herself.
**Hint: Gabe, again, Christmas is coming. It's a pad on Elfreth's or a unicorn. Your choice.
Then we hiked our lil' fannies over to the Betsy Ross House, which is the tiniest, sweetest little place I ever did see. Usually I'm a very respectful tourist...but I'm really not sure what happened in Philly. I bought a pan flute in the BR gift shop, and from there on out, I couldn't keep my crap together. I kept giggling at inappropriate times...like when we discovered that BR was thrice a widow, and Kate pitched CSI: Colonial to dig into the mystery. I lost it. I also couldn't keep my hot little hands off that pan flute. I just needed to play a colonial tune. At. All. Times.
I am a tad uncomfortable with historical actors. Faux Betsy Ross was very sweet. But, I always feel foolish if I play along. We all know you're not Betsy Ross. But I respect your creative whims and your wicked old English. Style points.
And then this happened. Right in the middle of a shopping district. It was weird and disturbing.
Next KP sunned herself, and we all peeked through the glass building surrounding the Liberty Bell just long enough to fulfill that item on the checklist. The line to get into the building was obnoxiously lengthy...and as Shannon said, "It's a bell. There's a crack. Done." A through-glass-glimpse was totally enough for me. I'd recommend the same, unless you're a complete history geek.
And then we started accosting helpless statues and sculptures. I've left the saucier photos out, simply so you'll still think me an acceptable member of our society. Also, my mother and grandmother read this blog.
Next it was off to Love Park...and I must be honest: I was a little underwhelmed there. For all the hype that sculpture got in various Art History courses, I thought it would be larger. But it was still charming, and we patiently waited for our chance at the photo-opp spot. Please note that I resisted throwing myself across the ground for this photo, but not because I'd grown too mature. Mainly because we just came from this:
The smelliest parking garage in all of Philly. If I can impart any Philly-travel advice to you, it is this: DO NOT PARK BELOW LOVE PARK. I am certain that all sorts of unsavory, uncouth deeds occur in this garage and its stairwells, as evidenced by the literal cesspool of filth that had built up in the entrance/exit doorways. KP was brave enough to head into the trenches and check for an unlocked door back into the garage. I love her for that.
After this we headed out for a Philly Cheesesteak...and I'd tired of my camera so I left it in the car. But that was a fun experience and I'd be game to high-five another PC sometime soon.
By that point, we were all touristed out and headed back to our hotels or homes for a little afternoon downtime. KP and Nellie weren't tired, so they followed us back to Shannon's house where we all sat around on our computers, looking at blogs. Talking about blogs. Staring silently at our screens from time to time...without feeling the least bit weird.
Now that's a blogger's meet up.
Later in the evening, we met up for a late dinner and drinks at Limoncello Ristorante...which was delicious. Most of us enjoyed a bottle of wine, save sweet Lainey who is still a youngster and gorg Ashley who is preggo (!!)...but they were champs while the rest of us tossed back a few glasses of vino.
Mmkay. If I'm to be honest...it was more than just wine. Limoncello brings a round of, you guessed it...Limoncello to every table at the end of the meal. And then I needed a dessert mixed drink.
At some point during the weekend, I revealed to the girls that I'd never had the true bar experience---just letting yourself get a little wild. This always surprises people, given that I'm from a smaller Wisconsin town where drinking is prevalent. But it's true! I rarely, rarely drink, and have never "gone out drinking".
The girls hopped on fixing that right away.
(KP, Shannon and me.)
On the walk from Limoncello to our bar destination, the four of us got a little ridiculous. Yes! Let's crawl on top of a dumpster and take a photo. That's a fabulous idea.
Inside Iron Hill Brewery, we had premium seats to the street show. And by that I mean we witnessed no less than three street fights, the kind where girls attempt to "hold back" their beau. Oh, and we saw the entire Jersey Shore entourage walk past our window. Okay, not really. But one girl was wearing something so miniscule, I thought perhaps an air-bound tissue happened to be clinging to her body. Not so. It was a dress.
Being the baby of the group and a total bar novice, the girls assumed "older sis" roles by ordering drinks for me and keeping watch over my crazy antics. We jammed to some old school tunes and my mouth didn't stop moving the entire night. I'm pretty sure I shared some incriminating, sordid secrets. They've been kind enough to keep them....so far. ;) Then we returned to Shannon's house, where four of us found ourselves cuddled up in her guest bed, drinking champagne from plastic tumblers.
Unclassy night of drinking with the girls: Check off life list.
On Sunday morning, half of us were feeling a little...slow. But Nellie and KP made up for our sluggishness by jetting over to the grocery store and whipping up some seriously tasty breakfast that got our lazy rears moving. (Have I mentioned I love these girls?)
After that we headed over to Terrain.
(Photo stolen from Shannon. Lauren and me.)
There are not enough words to describe Terrain. Imagine Anthropologie...but no clothing. Wait-no clothing to purchase. You're wearing clothing. This is getting weird. Just luscious home goods, jewelry and outdoor decor. And half of it you can make yourself for $5. Being there with a group of girls who were just stellar made me never wanted to leave.
Sidenote: If I lived in Philly, I'd make Lauren hang out with me all the time. Even if she didn't want to. I loved meeting her.
(Photo also stolen from Shannon! Lainey, Ashley, me, Lauren and KP.)
Shannon instructed us to all grab thick woolen blankets and "snuggle up" 'round the fire. It was 80 degrees. I'm a pretty temp sensitive girl. I've rarely sweat that much in my life. But anything for a good photo opp, right? Shannon says jump and I say, "How high?".
And then it was done. Most of the girls peeled off to catch flights, drive back to Philly or their hometown. I was so sad to see the girls go, and found it hard to believe that the weekend we'd dreamed and planned for months was over. Nellie and I didn't have flights until Monday...so we lingered about Shannon's house and I even packed in a visit to Lizzie Beth, who just welcomed little Baby Hunter days before my arrival! But eventually my Monday flight time rolled around, and Shannon had to take me back to the airport. Both she and I are awkward airport-goodbyers...so we discussed in advance all the uncomfortable things we could say to each other, the tears we could cry and so forth. But we kept it together...and I watched her and adorable baby Gabe drive away without a tear.
Saying goodbye to all the girls was so strange, because I truly knew I'd miss them. But I also knew that I would make the effort to see them again next fall...if not sooner.
For once in my blog history, I will not wax poetic. Mostly because if I start waxing, I'll probably cry. But, I will simply say that I felt like I uncovered some friendship soulmates...something I've only found a few times in life. And you don't throw that away.
Always Bloggy 2012 cannot come soon enough. :)