As much as I love our neighborhood, I often feel hemmed in by suburbia. We go back and forth about what we'd like, the solitary silence of nature or the vibrant pace of city life? Cities feel so alive, don't they? Teeming with humanity. I love the idea of living downtown in some metropolis and walking everywhere we need to go. This weekend, visiting our friends Erin and Boyfriend (and I'm proud to call them "friends" not "creepy stalkers we met on the internet"), gave us a sample of that. As soon as we pulled into town, we dumped our car at the hotel and didn't lay eyes on it again until it was time to leave.
Meeting Erin was nothing short of amazing. We quickly left our bags in the hotel and paced around outside waiting for her to arrive. Now that's an interesting moment, isn't it? Meeting someone you've never really seen before, but can't wait to? We took bets on which direction she'd come from, and Callum called it. He saw her first and as soon as he pointed her out (she was unmistakable!), I darted off down the street like someone in a cheesy movie. I promptly stepped on her foot, but she didn't seem to hold that against me. As for Neel and Callum, no introductions were necessary. I don't think we stopped talking for the rest of the night.
Erin suggested a wonderful diner for breakfast the next morning that was right across the street from our hotel, but sadly we had to bypass it. I love me some diner food, but we knew we'd be having a big lunch (hello, Parc!) and ball park food that night. We opted for pastries and coffee at Miel, just a door or two down from our hotel. And this is why city life is so nice. Walk to pastries? Not shabby.
Our hotel was located around the corner from Rittenhouse Square, named after a famed astronomer in the early 1800s. By the second half of the 19th century Rittenhouse was home to the fashionable elite of Philadelphia, which, I'm sure is why Neel's parents lived here for a bit when they were first married. Many years later, though. The square still teems with life. A farmer's market was set up on Saturday with Amish farmers selling gorgeous flowers. There are kids playing, people running and walking, sitting and talking. All manners of doggies sit and walk or bark at squirrels. It's not at all a bad place to spend a weekend morning. Or any morning really. Except perhaps a sleety, cold Pennsylvania morning when you're late for work and your dog won't pee damnit.
I, too can take photos of people when they aren't looking! Erin is a wonderful host in her beloved city. She bought us bus tokens and zipped us around town with ease. Part of why I love traveling to visit people in their spaces is how relaxing it is. I didn't have to worry about a thing. Erin had the tokens. Erin knew which bus to take and when to get off. She knew where to hop into the gift shop for Independence Hall and how to time our tours. We certainly felt well tended to. And besides, Philly is fun! We met up with Boyfriend for lunch at Parc, and I didn't take many photos because we were too busy having fun. We shared some mussels and pommes frites, and we laughed and talked the whole time. You'd never, ever know we'd just met BF. Ever! And you'd never have known he was feeling crummy either. Poor guy. What a trooper.
After naps all around, we were escorted to the ball park with more of Erin's mad skills. You can see how dark the skies are. No more on this shall be spoken. We're still sad.
Oh, but nothing some doggie love can't cure! Brunch with Erin, Boyfriend and Fitz was the perfect cap to our weekend. Their city condo is so charming, and I can attest that the guest room project continues apace. It's going to be an amazing space...it already is! Boyfriend made an amazing quiche and having Fitz around was like some kind of interactive dinner theater! He and Callum got along famously! We felt welcomed beyond belief and it was hard to tear ourselves away.
I should probably go on the record here and say that Cal (and Neel, but really, Cal) just loved Erin (and Boyfriend, but really, Erin). Meeting her and spending time with her was just about the only thing that could make up for that-which-shall-not-be-spoken-of. He had a wonderful time. I think she's probably his first celebrity crush! I We can't wait to go back.