A Drifter must start somewhere…
I realize that in a blog about travel and life, people want to get to know the blogger. And no matter where I travel to, there is obviously a place I call home. Now a wise man reminded me “Home is where the heart is”. For me, home has been a number of places. By now you know I like to write a post for each area because everything has its own story, so I will start by talking about my least meaningful from my list of homes: Pennsylvania. Now I really have a strong affiliation with parts of PA and owe a large chunk of who I am as an adult to the state. I lived there from the time I was 24-29 years old. My first two full time professional jobs were in Pennsylvania. I spent my whole adolescence in and out of Chester (where I was born) and Philadelphia. By the time I turned 18, Philly became the “fun” place. It had under-21 clubs and I could just walk around and act like I wasn’t from a small white town. In college, it was a way to get off campus and visit schools like Temple, UPenn and Drexel. In grad school, people, including myself, would intern in Philly and I would meet my first serious boyfriend there. Many of friends moved to Philly and I really fell in love.
The food in Philly is like no other. To this day, cheesesteaks are my favorite food. Don’t you dare ask me if I prefer Pat’s or Geno’s; I will honestly uppercut you. The best cheesesteaks are not from chains but from the corner store or some family joint that the ‘gentrifiers” are scared to go to. My favorite sandwich place has since closed but Stacky’s will always have a place in my heart. Now when people come to Philly with me (so I can give them a good tourists view of the city), I take them to Ishkabbiles. It’s on South Street so they can feel like they are being cultured but not too far in the “hood”. Every person I take falls in love. To start them off I enjoy making them order a “wiz without” then add ketchup to their liking.
After graduate school, I moved to Stroudsburg, PA, better known as the Poconos. I didn’t know until recently that only people from the area actually know what the Poconos are but it’s the mountain area of Northeast PA. As a 24 year old Black woman who had JUST decided to go natural, East Stroudsburg was not the best place to find a job. But I persevered. I made friends at my job and tried to make the most of the Poconos. It was much more a tourist location that I thought. Beautiful throughout the year, I could easily find a picturesque landscape whenever I wanted. The resorts will filled with interesting people and there’s plenty to do. The food isn’t anything to write home about but I always suggest Trackside‘s spinach artichoke dip, Teddy’s wings, Compton’s pancake specials, and Arlington Diner breakfast. You can always find good drink specials on Main Street for sure!
After two years, I moved to State College, PA, better known as Happy Valley. The land of Penn State. Here is my FIRST suggestion when it comes to State College: Do NOT drink the tap water. Just don’t. Buy a Brita. Buy a water bottle that filters for you. The water is disgusting. And it’s terrible on your hair. HOWEVER, I do believe that if you like football or just like the feeling of being proud and naïve, Happy Valley is the place to go. Beaver Stadium on a Saturday in the fall is like no other experience I’ve ever witnessed. Between the tailgating, the life-long fans, and just thousands of people drunk and excited (or angry) is enough to make the sociologist in me jump for joy! The best thing I ever ate there was cheesesteaks egg rolls from Letterman’s. Oh my goodness! My favorite thing. Next I would suggest tea pitchers at Café 210 and their wings for sure. Lastly, Mad Mex (which is a chain so order this at any one), their BBQ chicken burrito. Also Mad Mex’s margaritas and tequila flights are a fan favorite. If you like a good Cinco de Mayo celebration, go there!
There are so many other towns in Pennsylvania that I have enjoyed throughout my time. I’ve spent time in Allentown, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh tasting the food and living my best life. (Please have Primanti Bros. one time in your life and thank me later!)
I’d love to hear your suggestions!! Have you ever called a town in PA home? Where’s your favorite place to eat? What do you like to do? Comment away!!