Summer is winding down and my summer was rather uneventful for me– I managed to slip in some day trips with childhood and college friends before school started. It was mainly trips within PA for the most part and then a day trip to NYC. I did manage to slip in something over Labor Day Weekend, which I was thankful for, looking back.
Eastern State Penitentiary
One of my college friends came from Ohio to visit so I was showing him around Philly. In the end, it was a toss-up between the Mutter Medical Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary. Eastern State won out in the end.
One of my other friends wanted to visit a few years ago and I was ambivalent so I never went. Eastern State Penitentiary was the first penitentiary in the world when it opened in 1829 as it focused on reform rather than punishment. It served as a model for other penitentiaries across the world. As such, some believe that it’s haunted.
Eastern State is basically a preserved ruin. It was abandoned in the 1970’s when it closed and a group of people rescued it from demolition. Now, it serves as a museum of sorts– visitors can see how the penitentiary evolved across time, what people were incarcerated for and how the culture of incarceration changes. It’s an incredibly educational experience, especially if you go on the mini tours that occur throughout the day about various topics such as surgery in the prison, solitary confinement, and religion inside of the prison.
I stopped by Federal Donuts on my way there and it’s one of my favorite places in Philly. They make hot, fresh cake donuts and it’s the best. I sing its praises to anyone who will listen to me. There’s a couple locations scattered around Philly so definitely worth going.
I met up with Jenny in New York after an incredibly long time of not seeing her so a catch-up was needed. I ordered a good bowl of Thai noodles at a restaurant in her Upper West Side neighborhood that had my favorite vegetable in it, kale, so I was very pleased, especially since the flavors weren’t overpowering. We didn’t really plan anything so I decided that we should go to Hudson Yards to see the Vessel. The wait for free tickets to go up wasn’t bad (the shopping complex is right next to it so it was an excuse to window shop). We wanted to see The Farewell but show times weren’t working with my schedule so that didn’t happen.
Would I go again? Probably not but you can get some photos for IG there. The Highline is also nearby and you can see good views of the river there.
I went to Longwood Gardens a few times as a child and I remember that I really liked it. I met up with Karen and her sister on an incredibly hot and sunny day so I was glad for the trees inside of the Garden.
Longwood Garden is the legacy of Pierre Du Pont, who turned it into a horticultural oasis spanning over one thousand acres. It’s definitely worth visiting (over and over again) and I always appreciate something different whenever I go. The fountain light shows are also staying until late evening to watch during the summer season. I also really want to visit the other DuPont estates that are scattered across Delaware.
My friends and I wanted to go hiking over Labor Day weekend so the most experienced hiker out of us decided on Hawk Mountain in Kempton, PA for a half day hike. Details are hazy on whether or not I’ve actually hiked before so you can imagine how this hike went. It’s rated a “hard” on All Trails and the reviews all mention how rocky it is. I was climbing on rocks on the side of the mountain, stepping on rocks and spent over a mile walking on large rocks on an incline (Rocky River Trail is incredibly rocky). My phone tells me that we did 8.3 miles and covered a total elevation of 680ft so it was a good workout. We somehow also did a little over a mile on the Appalachian trail so that’s cool.
We did see a bird of prey of some kind but it wasn’t migration time so we probably could’ve seen more if we came a little later in the year. Views were really nice and despite all the rocks, I did appreciate it.