Planning a Trip

My husband has given me a task that I should be enjoying, but it’s driving me crazy.  He has a conference coming up in Philadephia, and he is taking me with him.  We will be going a day early so we can rent a car and do some sightseeing before the conference starts, and my husband is letting me do all the planning for that one day.  That’s right. Just one day, and I can’t figure out how to spend it in the best way.

The problem is we used to live there, but we haven’t been back since 1980. Our youngest son was born there. My husband’s career really started there. We want to drive back to our old apartments and see if we can remember which one was ours. We want to eat at our favorite restaurant, The Country Lawyer, in West Chester (easy one to cross off the list…I checked, and it isn’t there anymore). We want to take pictures of our daughter’s elementary school, Fern Hill, so she can see where she started kindergarten.

Waiting for the bus on my daughter’s first day of school at Fern Hill Elementary

Of course we have to visit the college where my husband worked, and drive through Valley Forge because we spent many wonderful picnics there. Oh, and we want to go to Lancaster to see the beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch farms, and Chadd’s Ford to see the art of the Brandywine artists. And what about the world’s largest flea market? Is that in Coatsville or Downingtown? I can’t remember. Thirty-four years have dimmed my memory. More research is obviously needed.

I perused websites all day yesterday and got nothing else accomplished. I planned out routes and times using Google maps. I looked at restaurant menus. I can’t tell you how many hours that took. Food is very important to me, as you know if you follow my blog. I think I’ve already decided what I’m having for lunch at the brew pub. Well, maybe I better take another look at the menu, just to be sure. It’s so hard to make decisions.

If we had a week or even a few days, it wouldn’t be so hard. It’s narrowing the choices down and sticking with a plan that’s hard for me. I’m one who usually just goes with the flow. I’ve never wanted the job of setting our itinerary. Too much power for me. What if my choices stink and we’ve wasted the entire day? What if I leave out something important? This is too much pressure. One day. One lousy day, and I can’t make up my mind. Wait! I’ve got it! I’m ordering the Thai mussels. Or…maybe the burger. No, definitely the mussels. I feel so much better.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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31 Responses to Planning a Trip

  1. Robin says:

    I have the same problem every time we go east and find ourselves with a day to spend in West Chester or Philadelphia. Which brew pub are you planning to go to? Good luck with the rest of the planning. 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      It’s called the Irin Hill Brewery, Robin. They have one in West Chester and Lancaster. Have you heard of it? George likes trying beers from microbreweries, so I thought he would enjoy it. Plus I liked the menu.

      • Robin says:

        Been there many a time while living in West Chester (we lived right across the street from it in an apartment in the Greentree building), and have been to the one in Lancaster a couple of times (my husband is from Lancaster County so we visit family there). The food is wonderful. Not cheap, but not horribly expensive either. Worth the cost, I think. And the beers are great. 🙂

      • Coming East says:

        What a small world, Robin! We lived in the Halstead Apartments on Goshen Road when we lived in West Chester. George was the Director of Security and Safety for Delaware County Community College in Media. Loved that area.

  2. It’s so hard to plan for only one day, especially you have so many memories there. You have quite a job there for yourself!
    I usually give the pleasure of planning any trip to my husband, then I reward him with a good dinner or whatever he has in mind. 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      My husband will be fine with whatever I plan, Shanghai. I like one of my commenters ideas that suggested I plan an outline of things to do and wait until we get there and see how we feel. I have more than enough planned.

  3. suzicate says:

    Ha, I’d much rather someone else do all the trip planning with my biggest choice being choosing from the menu…and yes, it’s quite a chore with all the selections! I see on your about page you’re from Va. Beach as well…and also know my dear friend, Patti! She’s quite a gem, ya know? Love her!

  4. Amy says:

    Hi Susan, Would you believe that we lived in PA in 1982? My husband got his first teaching job in Drexel.

  5. pattisj says:

    I have a feeling catching up on thirty years with friends will take a good part of your afternoon. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll fill the day just fine.

  6. dorannrule says:

    I learned an important thing from my “get up and go” friend. That was to have the outline of the trip ready to get up and go. No set agenda but we would ask people all along the way for suggestions. The unexpected pleasures, wonderful spots and memories were always amazing.

  7. Dianna says:

    I think you need more than one day.

    • Coming East says:

      Ya’ think, Dianna? LOL! But we only have one day with a car, so I will have to make the best of it. We’ll be able to see things in the city, though, on the other days.

  8. Just home from back to back trips to Philadelphia! If only we’d been there at the same time it would’ve made your planning so much easier. And mine too… could’ve just tagged along 🙂 Have a great trip!

    • Coming East says:

      I was thinking about you while I was making our plans, Julia. Mi know you just came back from there. While George is at his meetings, I can do things in the city, though walking is still difficult with this boot. But we only have the car for one day, so we want to go to our old haunts away from the city. We actually lived in West Chester and George worked in Media.

  9. Ha!! I love it. We went to VA Beach last November, we lived in Norfolk when we were first married. We drove past our two apartment complexes where we lived. I actually was able to direct the route to the first apartment. It will all come back to you in living color when you get to your old neighborhood. good luck on the menus. Maybe while your hubby is at the conference you can strike out on your own to the places he may not really want to see. Good luck in planning, sounds like a delightful vacation to me. Enjoy PA, it’s such a beautiful state. DAF

  10. Shary Hover says:

    I haven’t been “home” in a long time. If I were to go back to the town where I grew up, I think I’d have just as much trouble trying to figure out what to do. Memory Lane is a busy place! I hope you’ll have a wonderful trip and visit with old friends.

    • Coming East says:

      “Memory Lane is a busy place.” Love the way you said that, Shary. we’ve been away from San Antonio for four years now, but if or when we return for a visit, there are numerous Mexican restaurants that we’ll be spending our time in.

  11. I was exhausted just reading the POSSIBILITIES of that one day! I know the problem though. Due to fur kid obligations, I don’t leave home for more than a week… there are friends in Philadelphia (sites, restaurants, favorite foods) then I use the opportunity to continue on to MD to see my brother and his family. That is basically 4 days on the road of a 7 day trip. When I first started to read your blog I was at the ready with suggestions. I’ll keep my mouth shut!! I don’t know the status of your foot, but if you are in downtown Philadelphia on your own while George is in meetings, you may want to check the new Barnes Foundation Museum and the Phila Museum of Art right on the parkway. To eat, head to the Reading Terminal Market ~ you will find everything you can imagine all under one roof. Enjoy your mini-vacation and trip back in time!!

    • Coming East says:

      I’m still in “THE BOOT,” Carol, so walking is still an issue. But I go to the doctor on Monday, and I’m hoping she tells me I’m done with the boot. Of course, there are always cabs, as George says. I’ve never heard of the Barnes Foundation Museum nor the Reading Terminal Market. I’ll check them out on the Internet today. I think our hotel is near Penn’s Landing.

  12. I started getting frenetic just reading your post. My oh my. My techniique is to get there and see what happens. Sure you found out your favorite restaurant is gone. I wonder what took its place.
    Wandering is fun too.

    • Coming East says:

      Yes, wandering is my style, Adela. If George had said, “I’ll rent a car and let’s just drive around,” I would have been fine. But he put that whole day in my hands, and I’m actually having a ball planning it out. My complaining is mostly tongue-in-cheek. Mostly.

  13. It’s the responsibility of planning a trip and trying to balance just how much can healthily and logistically be crammed into one day that is so hard. Just remember to have fun! (Looking forward to hearing all about it!). 🙂

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