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Pennsylvania sightseeing family style

Sleeping

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." - Desmond Tutu

Coffee Coffee

October 21, 2003

I didn’t get much sleep, as I got up early to take Teresa to work in Doylestown, where she has a job as a dental assistant. Doylestown is exemplary of many old and small towns in the area outside of Philadelphia. It was close enough to be a suburb of Philadelphia, but seemed a lot more like a small town than a suburb.

I went back home to try to sleep, as I had only gotten a few hours of sleep. But I could not sleep, so I found my sister, Jennie, and my nephew, Josh, who had flown in from Detroit. They were awake in their beds but still laying down, and we caught up on what has been going on with each other. I had already pumped myself up with coffee and we set out to explore a little before noon.

Map of Philadelphia area


I have fond memories of food explorations in the Philadelphia area and in neighboring New Jersey. Years ago I had been to these places. I recall walking the streets of downtown Philadelphia and buying soft pretzels from street vendors, one after the other. It had just the right soft doughy, gently salty taste. Philadelphia and surrounding areas, such as in New Jersey, have the best Italian style sandwiches, otherwise known as the Hoagie, Hero, or Sub. My favorite was always the Philly cheesesteak, introduced to me by a great friend of mine. Since I was in the Northeast years ago, I’d wanted to come back for a Philly cheesesteak. They just don’t make them quite the same anywhere in the West.

A great deli, “Silvio’s Deli”, was just around the corner from Teresa’s home in Hatboro at 100 N York Road. There they bake their own bread and prepare their food by hand. I contemplated their hoagies, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, calzones and other menu items, but this time settled for a special of theirs, veggie pizza slices for $1.00. The pizza slices were great and fit my appetite just fine.

Pretzel
Hoagie

Pizza slice

Once we got our lunch, we headed back to Doylestown to explore and pick up Teresa from work. We walked the streets of Doylestown and found interesting thrift, used book and used music stores. One music store seemed to have every kind of music imaginable and also selected CD’s for 99 cents. Used bookstores always catch my attention because books are a source of education and learning. There you can buy books for a cheap price but not cheap in value. Thrift stores are also a good place for cheap books along with a hodgepodge of other cheap items ranging from clothes to electronics to household items. I would end up buying a few books in Doylestown to further educate myself on travel and photography and such things. I would like to go back to any such small town that provides such stores.

Book browsing Bookshelf Albums

Our day was nowhere near ending, I was surviving on just a few hours of sleep. That required coffee to get me through the rest of the day. I don’t often go to Starbucks due to the cost, although they do make good, strong coffee. The Starbucks in Doylestown at the corner of State and Main Street was worth visiting for the atmosphere and the art work on the walls. There was a lot of artistry and work put in to this Starbucks.

In addition, the 250 year old building that houses this Starbucks is historically significant to this town. It started out as William Doyle's Tavern. This enterprise became a noted stopping place for travelers during the latter half of the 1700's as it was strategically located at a crossroads linking Philadelphia with other towns in the state. Eventually, the village and town that bore William Doyle's name would grow around this tavern. Since the 1700's, the building, now called the Fountain House, has changed hands and been remodeled a number of times. In addition to being a roadhouse, inn and hotel, it has also hosted Doylestown's first post office, a stage coach line and a bank. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

A stop at this Starbucks made for an interesting mix of the old and the new. It is certainly worth visiting for the atmosphere seemingly designed to spark one’s creative spirit, even if you don’t want to pay the high price for the coffee.

Coffee takeout

Image Fountain House Doylestown


We then drove to Pottstown, PA, to meet up with my sister, Bonnie, and my nephews, Duran and Nathan, who moved there recently. It was dinner time so we contemplated what we might eat. We decided on a Chinese buffet restaurant where one can eat a lot of food for a budget price.

Chinese buffet restaurants have sprung up all over the country in large cities and small towns. After living in Hawaii for 10 years, I found that the Buffet 100 located at Ward Warehouse on Ala Moana Boulevard was perhaps the best Chinese buffet restaurant I could ever eat at, perhaps due to the many Chinese who have immigrated to the Hawaiian Islands and know how to cook Chinese food. So when I go to a Chinese buffet restaurant, I find myself comparing the quality to Buffet 100. Perhaps I am a bit picky about my Chinese food now. In any case, we chose to bring our family gathering to this Chinese buffet. The quality of the food there was very disappointing, to the extent that I probably would not go to that restaurant again. And for me, the quality has to be considerably low for me to make such a statement, I’m the type of guy that eats most anything. But the staff was great, making sure our drinks were constantly filled and our plates changed as we went for seconds.

Most importantly, this was also family time. I’m the oldest of 6 siblings. Jennie, Teresa, Bonnie and I were all born one year apart. Because of this, we were a close knit part of the family for much of our lives. Later in life, different circumstances kept all four of us from getting together, so this time together this evening was precious, it would be the only time all of us would be together on this trip. Jennie would be leaving us tomorrow. We ended this special evening by having ice cream at Friendly’s, a popular restaurant chain along the East Coast known for their ice cream.

Wight family

Chinese restaurant

Sundae


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