by Dannielle Cresp on April 16, 2013
I’m home now, and trying to settle back in – but more on that and my trip home another day. Today I want to finally share my trip to Philly. x
I left Charlottesville early-ish on a Saturday and took the train the 5 and a bit hour trip to Philadelphia, PA. The train trip went by faster than I expected once I got over the fact that the free wifi promised wasn’t working. (Yes, I ranted to myself for about 30 minutes and then decided to work on something that didn’t require internet). It was a little chilly when I got into 30th Street Station, but the lovely Zoe and her boys came to pick me up and we went to get dinner.
Sunday morning I caught the train into the city from Zoe’s and decided that I would just wander the streets and see what took my fancy. Because Philly was stop 8 of 9 US cities, I didn’t really research the things to do, though I knew that there were things to see and do. My first stop was the Anthropologie flagship store, 4 floors of Anthro amazing-ness! With it so chilly out it was great (and necessary) to stop in little shops all along Walnut Street as I walked from the Anthropologie store across to Independence Mall to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
The queues were crazy long as it was a long weekend so I decided that I wanted to see the Liberty Bell more than inside Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed). It was freezing in the queue for the Liberty Bell, but the exhibit information was really interesting and it was great to see the bell!
I wandered the streets and stopped in some lovely craft shops and just really took in the city (whilst muttering about the cold – it got down to -1C in my defence). I loved that the area was clearly signposted for visitors to the city and it was quite easy to get around. I needed to time my trip back as the trains were running a Sunday timetable, but I got back in time for some snow flurries.
On Monday I had arranged to meet up with Megan Auman at her trade show booth at Buyer’s Market of America. I’ve known Megan online since I started my business online in 2009 and it was great to finally catch up in person. The trade show was in the Convention Center which is right across from Reading Terminal Market (a must see food market). I popped out of the show at lunch time and got myself the two things you must get in Philly: a Philly Cheese Steak and a Whoopie Pie (from FlyingMonkey no less)! They were both delicious!
The market was bustling with people and just a crazy busy atmosphere. I can see how people would get lost in there without a good sense of direction. It was fun to see all the different businesses and the range of food available.
Getting to sit in on the trade show was great! It was so interesting to see how different it is to a retail market and to see all the stalls looking their best. It was fun to have a catch up with Megan and to see her gorgeous jewellery in person!
My stop in Philly was so short, that it was the first place I left wishing that I’d had more time to spend exploring. It’s definitely a place that I’d love to visit again to see all the treasures that I missed. Everyone seemed so welcoming and friendly and if you’re ever looking for postcards, the 30th St station has them in the news agent and they have a post office inside the station too!
Thanks so much to Zoe for having me and to Megan for catching up. I loved Philly and will be back some day.
by Dannielle Cresp on April 2, 2013
My family here in Michigan aren’t big Easter celebrators, so I wasn’t expecting much to happen this weekend. My cousin C took me ice skating on Friday night, and I’m proud to say that I made it around the Ice Rink holding onto the edge 3 whole times without falling over. Woo!
Ice Skating could now be ticked off my imaginary list. Then on Saturday we went out for National Coney Island (a diner chain) where I had the most delicious Tuna Melt and we went to Marshalls and Walmart. (No trip to the USA is complete without a trip to Walmart! or so I’m told.) I found some Chuck Taylor’s for $25 and some 80′s Glam Sharpies!
It was awesome, and I thought that was the fun part of the day over. But my other cousin (both are equally awesome) G came over late in the evening and all 3 of us went out for pancakes at IHOP at midnight!! (This may be normal where you’re from, but nothing (reputable) is open for pancakes back home that late, so it was a real treat)
We had great food and lots of laughs. Our “Easter Brunch” was quite the feast. I felt the happiest I have in a long time. We followed it up with a day in our PJs and dinner at trendy Michigan restaurant called Vinsetta Garage, where there was more great food and good company. It was honestly the best Easter I can remember and I wouldn’t give up that memory for the world.
I’m feeling happy and calm and ready to go home on my terms. It’s funny that Michigan was the place where that low feeling started in late 2011, and now it’s the place where it’s finally gone. Maybe I knew I was meant to come here?! I’ll never know, but I’ll never regret the decision to get on that bus when I needed to, because it took me somewhere I knew I’d be safe, and I was. And it gave me an Easter memory that I can have for the rest of my days and you can’t beat that.
P.S. I’m flying home later this week. Yay!!
by Dannielle Cresp on March 18, 2013
I left for Charlottesville, VA on a Tuesday morning. I couldn’t wait to get out of Wilmington. Whilst I loved historic downtown, the roads are awful and with the tire blowout and the nail polish exploding I was starting to feel like North Carolina hated me.
The drive was lovely and really pretty straightforward. It was 5.5 hours and I stopped at the Welcome to Virginia sign about 2 and a bit hours in and once more at a petrol station in the middle of nowhere. Note for Aussies: They want you to pay before you start filling up your tank not after like we do (oops!).
It was interstates and highways all the way. My GPS would say drive “215km and then make a right”. The new rental car had an iPod jack that you could work from the steering wheel so I could listen to my roadtrip playlist and turn control the songs without having to look at the ipod whilst driving, which was awesome. I thought I’d stop along the way and take a proper break but I got to where I was about an hour away from C’ville and I just decided to keep going. Thankfully there were no real dramas.
Unfortunately for me I’d asked someone for a guide on things to see and do in Charlottesville and for whatever reason, it never came through, so I was there really unprepared and I quickly learned that it’s a place that you need to know what you want to do there before you go. This was my fault, for not also doing my own research, but with 10 stops on the trip, I kind of forgot about it. I wasn’t much interested in going to Thomas Jefferson’s house, and other than visiting my lovely friend Tif and her family, I found it to be lacking what some of the other cities had. It has a cute main street, and there’s a fun stationery shop called Rock Paper Scissors that you should definitely visit if you’re in town, and I’ve heard the university campus is great but I felt weird going there on my own just to look around.
I think Charlottesville is probably one of those places that’s got a wonderful community and is a great place to live, but it’s definitely somewhere you need a car to get around. I’m glad I finally got to meet Tif in person and her lovely family, but I’m sure there are better people than me to tell you about all the things to see and do in this area.
As with everywhere, you never know until you go, and I’m glad that I went, so that I could see this quaint small town and it’s sweet winding roads.