The second weekend in March is an anniversary of sorts for me. Five years ago was my first visit to New Hope and in many ways it was the first day of my new life.
It would be an understatement to say that the move to Pennsylvania was a challenge on many fronts. At that point in my life I did nothing but worry, and in my mind I had a lot to worry about. The company I moved to here to work for declared Chapter 11, the adjustment to living in a new state far away from friends and family caused many emotional difficulties, and the fact we hadn’t sold our house were at the top of the list.
It didn’t help matters that we didn’t leave the apartment for anything other than to go to the grocery store or to go to work. I was thrilled when we finally found a dog sitter and arranged to take a day trip.
I remember it like it was yesterday. The forecast prompted a last minute change. It was a Sunday and we’d made plans to go to Manayunk, PA but the chilly March temperatures, threat of rain, and dog sitter schedule limitations caused a change in plans. Instead we went to New Hope, which is twelve miles away not fifty and going anywhere was better than staying home. All I knew is I was desperate to get out of the apartment.
Our first stop was Made In Italy. Elaborate Venetian masks covered the walls, glass shelves held hand tooled leather belts and accessories, and black velvet jewelry busts showed off bright colored beads and bangles. I was drawn to the case dedicated to less elaborate necklaces and fell in love with a solid silver sun with wavy rays.
I’ve always had a thing for the sun; it could be because I’m a Leo, but it’s more likely because my favorite memories are made of endless days spent playing in the sun at Big Sand Lake in Minnesota.
I started to play the rationalization game to justify the purchase and promised myself that if the necklace was still there when it came time to head home it was meant to be mine. We visited all of the eclectic shops we could and at the end of the day, my mood was lighter than it had been in months, the grey skies parted just enough to let a bit of sunshine and blue sky peak through, and of course the sun necklace was still in the case waiting for me.
I put the necklace on as soon as we got in the car and it immediately became a tangible symbol of the promise of a new and happy life. It didn’t seem like a coincidence that the threat of storms changed our destination and led us to a place called New Hope.
I wear the necklace as a daily reminder of hope, happiness, and the importance of being me. I also take a day trip to New Hope every year on the same weekend to celebrate life and the woman I’ve become. This year I added a few additional stops to my day.
I started my afternoon adventure by treating myself to a few slices of margherita flatbread at a local restaurant called The Vault.
I’m not sure why but I find it amusing to think about a micro brewery in a building that used to be a bank. They have great beer that is brewed on site and the food is yummy. You can buy what’s called a Growler and have them fill it with your favorite brew and take it home, it’s re-fillable and they sanitize it for you. I don’t have one, but I’m tempted to make a purchase.
I turned right instead of left at the end of East Afton and drove toward my old apartment. In a moment of impulse I stopped to take a few pictures of one of my favorite views of the Delaware River.
Feelings of relief, happiness, and accomplishment came over me as I drove down the street toward my old apartment. The two years I lived there might possibly have been the most difficult time in my life. It was also life changing in ways that have turned out to be amazing.
I took a picture of the apartment building, but deleted it. Instead I chose to remember the gateway leading to the Delaware Towpath.
I’ve spent countless hours on the towpath running, riding, taking pictures, and thinking. Lots and lots of thinking and also a few life changing and difficult conversations.
Before beginning my anniversary tour of the town I stopped a the playhouse to pick up information about upcoming shows. My new goal is to do something fun each weekend so when I look back on this time in my life I’ll have a list of “I’m glad I……” instead of a list full of “I wish I’d…..”
My first visit in New Hope was to a psychic. There are almost as many psychic’s in New Hope as there are restaurants which has made it difficult to choose one. I finally decided on Readings by Edith because of the golden sun on the sign.
The funny thing was that Edith turned out to be a 300 pound man. He happens to be Edith’s son, but I still found it amusing. He does palm readings, tarot cards, and has a crystal ball. He read my palms using a large magnifying glass and I have to admit even I was surprised at the details the tiny lines revealed.
I wandered through several of the stores. The doodle designs on these sticks were fun and reminded me of the many ways that art comes into our lives.
I ended my day with a glass of wine and a bowl of French Onion soup. I was lucky enough to get a bird’s eye view of the street from the restaurant’s outdoor patio.
New hope has to be one of the best places in the world for people watching. My favorite from yesterday was the bird man. He walked around the street with his Raven and another unidentified bird on his shoulders.
Of course I wouldn’t go near him for fear that one of the birds might decide to leave his shoulder and hover over my head. I wonder how many times he’s shared the story of his birds with strangers on the street.
My day of celebrating life ended on a perfect note and I completed the first version of my second grade art girl dress.
It was a great day of celebrating life and being myself.