Philly’s More Fun When You Sleep Over

Several years ago the Philadelphia Visitors Bureau had a series of commercials with a catchy little saying, “Philly’s more fun when you sleep over”. For seven years we lived two hours from Philadelphia, so, although we went to the city, we didn’t sleep over. My son, Eric, graduated from St. Joseph’s University in Philly (go Hawks!). Our trips were quick. Day trips. Campus move in (and move out) days. Parent’s weekend, etc.

My sister, Dora, on the other hand, went to Philly for business. For trade shows. She talked about staying in Center City and the fun she had sleeping over in Philly. So when a chance came for me to meet her in Philly and help her with her booth at the 2014 Made in America Buyer’s Market, I seized the opportunity and tacked a few days onto the beginning of my already planned mid-winter trip.

The weather in Philadelphia in January can be dicey. And icy. And snowy. But 12.5” of snow? Not exactly normal.

Of course, we didn’t know there would be 12.5” of snow on our last day in Philly when we boarded our flights in California (Dora) and Kansas City (me). At last minute I decided to take a larger suitcase making room to throw in a pair of snow boots. If I was going to walk to and from work each day I wanted warm feet if there was snow or not. More about that suitcase later. And more on the warm feet too!

Dora is a pro when it comes to having a booth at a trade show. Me, not so much. But I have been to my fair share of quilt shows and quilt markets and it isn’t all that different. Besides, my role was easy. I was the runner for lunch.Redding Terminal

Each day I walked from the convention center to the Redding Terminal and returned with such delicacies as Corned Beef with Cole Slaw on a hoagie roll, Shredded Pork with Broccoli on a hoagie roll (you have to call it a hoagie when you are in Philly), cookies from the 4th Street Bakery (3/4” thick and 4” across – yum, I bought a different type each trip), and our favorite, pizza. Thin, whole wheat crust, pepperoni or the one with eggplant for Dora, fire roasted peppers, feta cheese and spinach for me. I can almost taste it just writing the words.

I don’t have pictures to share mainly because there was an international soccer convention going on and the place was packed wall to wall with soccer players. Don’t get me wrong, as Dora pointed out, they made for nice eye candy but we were after sustenance and stopping for photos was low on the priority list. Besides, food photos never make the food look as good as it tastes!

Suffice to say a trip to Philly’s Center City is incomplete without a stop (or one stop a day) at Redding Terminal Market.

The Buyer’s Market was filled with fabulous artisans and their wares. Jewelry, glassware, pottery, apparel; items made from wood, metal, clay, and silk; art for the home, garden, body and soul. There is a code of ethics at this market that you just don’t take photos of the artists, their booths or their works. But, with her permission, I snapped a few shots of Dora in her booth.

Dora of Bella Esse Naturals

Dora of Bella Esse Naturals

In order to show you other favorites I have included links to the artist’s websites so you can see the wonderful items I feasted my eyes on for four days. Dora may call the soccer players eye candy, for me, the true eye candy was the artwork at the trade show!

For wonderful recycled glass tableware check out Fire and Light Glass. Made in Arcata, CA from recycled glass, I love the colors and shapes of this fabulous tableware. See for yourself by clicking here.

Clocks, clocks, clocks. Who would’ve thought there could be so many creative, beautiful clocks? Dora carries artist, Duane Scherer’s clocks in her store, poppies Gallery and it turned out that his were my favorite at the show. It was fun meeting the artist (and his twin brother, also a clock maker). I love Duane’s whimsical, bright, unexpected clocks. Take a look by clicking here.

Silk scarves. Woven scarves. Hand painted scarves. Hand dyed scarves. Many beautiful, practical, wonderful scarves but my favorites were made by the lovely Kavita Singh of Kavita’s Silks.

Although called a “buyer’s market”, it’s really a “place your order market”. No cash and carry. Except when a big snowstorm comes to town on the last day and the show closes three hours early. Then there is a chance you can buy a trinket or two. And that is how I came to leave Philly wearing  bright, cheerful, mismatched socks.

My new mismatched socks by Solmates

My new mismatched socks by Solmates

The Socklady of Solmates, claims “life is too short for matching socks”. See more crazy socks by clicking here.

Good thing I had warm socks because the snow was falling at a rate of one inch per hour by the time we left the convention center. I think Dora thought we would take a cab to the hotel but I thought it was safer to walk. It was just one mile.

Dora trudging to the hotel.

Dora trudging to the hotel.

An occasional gleeful squeal from Dora reminded me that she is from  a part of  California where snow is a novelty. For me, it’s winter. I bowed my head to the wind and trudged my way to the hotel throwing out instructions to Dora, “drag your feet a little and take shorter steps so you don’t slip”. It was light, fluffy snow. Perfect for a snow angel. I told Dora, “Rule of thumb for those of us over the age of 40, ‘don’t make a snow angel unless there is someone standing by to help you up’.” No, Dora did not make a snow angel, although I think she wanted to.

As we entered the hotel lobby, shaking snow off our shoulders, Dora said, “Now I can say I actually walked a mile in the snow.”

The airport was closed. The train stopped running. Cars were slipping and sliding. Taxi traffic was light. The foot traffic was little to none. Night fell on a quiet, wintery city. There was just one problem: Dinner. Where would we eat? The front desk checked and discovered that most downtown restaurants were closed because their staff couldn’t get to work. But wait, what’s this? The Midtown Diner was open. “They are open 24 hours and they serve beer and wine.” Just three blocks from our hotel, let’s go.

Ok, so, I lived in Pennsylvania for seven years and I know a little about the regional cuisine, but even I was surprised by the menu.

Midtown Diner sandwich menu.

Midtown Diner sandwich menu.

A can of tuna? Someone asked me later, “What, they really bring you a can of, what, Bumble Bee Tuna?” I replied, “I have no idea, we didn’t order it!”

But I remembered egg salad with green olives from my Carlisle, PA days. I liked it. So I ordered chopped egg and olive. On whole wheat bread.

I have to break my ‘no food photos’ rule to show you what I got:

Chopped egg and olive sandwich.

Chopped egg and olive sandwich.

Sliced egg. Not chopped. No mayo. Maybe I ordered the wrong thing. Maybe I should have ordered deviled egg and olive? I’m so confused!!!

I asked for a little mayo on the side to hold it all together. It tasted good. But then again, it was a snow storm, I was willing to eat what I got. I take that back, I’m not eating scrapple. No way.

Jan 22, 2014

We woke up to a mess of slick roads but Liberty Airport Shuttle was running on time and airplanes were flying. So I said good bye to Dora and left Philly for sunnier skies, Florida bound. See you there!

It was zero degrees (or at least felt like it) when I departed Philly, and a brisk 60 degrees when I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, FL . The poor Floridians were complaining that they just couldn’t get warm. Me? I was shedding layers right and left – first off, fleece lined vest. Next, I swapped out my snow boots for regular shoes (but I kept my cute socks on!). And I smiled. As those around me complained about the cold all I could say was, “It’s all relative!”