hello, friends! yesterday, i got back from a three day adventure in pennsylvania with my mum. this post is sort of a guide to anyone who might want to visit that area of pennsylvania (chadds ford/brandywine river valley), and my thoughts during the trip.
(i took lots of pictures, but since this post is long enough already, i’ll be sharing them later.)
« day one »
i woke up at seven, and we didn’t leave our house till nine thirty. i did some last minute packing (aka raiding my desk for art supplies), grabbed a muffin for breakfast, and called shotgun.
my grandparents let us borrow their car, since ours is, well, a bit of a disaster (
who else can relate to a car? my life is a mess, haha.). it was kind of weird riding in a different car, but i did have a lot more leg space than usual, which was rad.
during the four hour ride, i entertained myself by talking about donuts, watching my mom jam to old songs on the radio, singing blink-182 to myself, reading the hollow boy by jonathan stroud, and taking cliche travel pictures. every time we entered a new state, i would inform my mom that one of my internet friends lived there. i wish i could have met some of you guys, but our schedule didn’t really allow for that.
when we were are about ten minutes from our hotel, my mom took a detour, and we ended up at a place called baldwin’s book barn. from the outside, it looked like it belonged in the shire. the inside was a five-story maze of used books and dusty shelves. i found battle of the labyrinth by rick riordan, and my mom was kind enough to get it for me. :)
after that, we headed up to the brandywine river hotel. our room was pretty so-so: two full beds, a tiny bathroom, a mini fridge, and an old tv with nothing good to watch. however, there was an elevator (those things are fricken rad), and the hotel served tea at four thirty. there was a rather impressive collection of tea bags to choose from, but i got hot chocolate instead. a plate of cookies was also available.
once we finished our drinks, my mom and i walked around a tiny cluster of shops beside the hotel. they were all closed because it was sunday, but the flowers planted all around were fun to photograph.
for dinner, we went to a place called mod pizza. it’s basically subway, but with pizza instead of sandwiches. you could get as many toppings as you wanted, and you didn’t have to pay extra.
so now it’s after ten and we’re back at the hotel. i’m wearing these really soft lounge shorts i just got, listening to the all-american rejects, and drawing a rose i saw today. i got to text N, and he was freaking out about the new season of sherlock. i’ve only seen the first two episodes of that show . . . oops? i’m pretty sure N is going to disown me as his friend for that.
« day two »
i had to figure out how to use the shower today. it was a very loud, aggressive shower, and i felt like it was screaming at me.
breakfast was served in the same room as tea. there was cereal, oatmeal, fruit, coffee, a waffle maker, a case of assorted bread-y things, etc.
today’s plan was to visit the brandywine river museum of art, which is mostly the paintings of three generations of artists from the wyeth family: n. c., andrew, and jamie wyeth. admission was $15 for adults, and $6 for students and children. i enjoyed the first few exhibits, but by the time we reached the main attraction (andrew wyeth’s paintings), i was getting a little bored. he painted a lot of plants. i probably would have liked it more if i was interested in watercolor.
then my mom dragged me on a tour of the artist’s home/studio. we took a shuttle from the museum to a little white house tucked into the trees. a woman led us around the house for an hour, going into much more detail then was necessary. photography was allowed, but there wasn’t anything that was interesting enough for me to photograph.
after resting at the hotel, we walked around the tiny shopping center again. it’s called chadds ford village and barn shops. there was an art gallery, a cosmetics shop, a salon, a yoga place, and a florist — which was the only store open.
my mom’s best friend from middle school lives nearby, and we met up with her in delaware for dinner. the restaurant we went to is called anthony’s coal fired pizza, and they serve italian food, as well as salad and chicken wings. i got a calzone, which is something i’ve never tried before. it’s like an inside out pizza, kind of. even though i got the small, it was still super huge, and we have lots of leftovers.
now we’re just chilling in our room playing card games. my mom taught me how to play speed, i showed her how to play slap jack, and i thought about when my brother’s friends made me play fifty-two card pickup.
the weather hasn’t been that great while we’ve been here. yesterday was cold and windy, and it rained today. hopefully tomorrow will be nicer, since we’re planning on going to a huge garden. that’s why i came on this trip. i just really love flowers.
« day three »
sleeping in this hotel isn’t easy for me. i woke up at one and three before i got up at seven. the beds are quite comfortable, though. it’s like you’re wrapped in a heavy cloud.
we packed up our stuff and made our way down to breakfast. some of the trays were empty already, the food taken by the other guests. i had a waffle and piece of lemon bread.
after we ate, we took all our bags from our room and stuffed them into the car. then we set out for our destination: longwood gardens. it took longer then it should have to get there, because construction work made the cars slow to a crawl. when we got there, we purchased our tickets to the garden — $23 for my mom, and $12 for me. you could rent wheelchairs, electric scooters, and strollers.
we entered the garden, armed with only a map to help us navigate over one thousand acres. staff were scattered over the grounds, and they gave us directions and suggested places to visit.
we stopped at a cafe on the property called beer garden. i got a german braided pretzel for $6, which came with ranch, spicy mustard, and beer cheese dip.
we were there for over four hours. and we didn’t see everything. it was just so huge, with tons of gardens to walk about in, and i was too tired to see everything. but we did visit the meadow garden (not much blooming this time of year), the italian water garden (huge fountains), two tree houses (large, really pretty tree houses could be found across the property), the flower garden walk, the conservatory, etc.
the conservatory was absolutely breathtaking. it was probably amusing for my mom to watch me get so excited about plants. there were twenty rooms filled with plants from all over the world. there were bonsai trees, orchids, cacti, bananas, jungle plants, and tons of things i had never seen before.
we left the garden after exploring the conservatory and began the drive back home. goodbye, pennsylvania! you have bad roads and weather, but you’re very green and pretty.
we’ve been in the car for about three and a half hours. it’s been rather uneventful so far. (i’m not bored, exactly. it’s hard to be bored on a trip. i like long car rides, because i can feel the bumps in the road and watch the scenery and have lots of time to think.) i tried reading, i tried sleeping, my legs hurt, etc. i got to talk to N for a few minutes while we were at a rest stop. (he likes the band pierce the veil.) so now i’m writing this while we look for a chick-fil-a. i want a milkshake. those things are heavenly.
i get such a weird feeling when i’m traveling, because i realize that every little town i pass through is someone’s home. they know who all their neighbors are and they can walk to the grocery store with their eyes closed. they have memories attached to everything there. but i’ll never know those people or the story about that crooked tree on the hill. i’m just a traveler, and their hometown means nothing to me.
and now, we take a break from deep thoughts with loren and return to the commentary.
guess who has two milkshakes! it’s me. no, i won’t share with you. the woman at chick-fil-a gave us our milkshake, and when i tasted it, it was vanilla instead of chocolate, and it looked a lot bigger than a small. she hurried back to us with another drink and apologized for giving us the wrong order. we got to keep the vanilla one, though, so my mom is drinking that.
since i forgot to give my mom a new straw, she’s using one with my delicious saliva on it. my dumb brain started singing “tastes like you, only sweeter.” (from thnks fr th mmrs by fall out boy.) I’M CRYING, I HATE MY SENSE OF HUMOR. SOMEONE HELP ME, I’M SUCH BAND TRASH.
songs that have been stuck in my head on this trip:
san diego // blink-182
i’m just a kid // simple plan
vanilla twilight // owl city
move along // the all-american rejects
bang bang // green day
i wanna // the all-american rejects
i’ve done three drawings while up here. i guess boring hotels are good for creativity. (i never thought i would call a hotel boring, but that one was.) my drawings were inspired by the first three songs on that list. i’ll post pictures of them once i’ve done a few more.
every time my mom says the word “lane,” i start singing lane boy by twenty one pilots. she probably hates me. we almost missed our exit because of my performance. have i mentioned that i’m band trash?
it’s raining and we’re listening to old rock songs on the radio. this would be even better if i had a friend here. i wish N was with me.
• pennsylvania has lots of enormous rhododendrons.
• my town looks pretty in the rain.
• our radio stations aren’t that great.
• realizing that you’re getting close to home feels like being put on a leash.
• i’ll be impossible to take on dinner dates.
• people don’t like the idea of someone not wanting kids.
• passing my best friend’s house make me feel laughing-at-two-a.m.-at-a-sleepover happy.
• i spent the whole trip thinking this is fun, but i want it to be over.