Vultures of Culture

‘Mature’ sorority sisters travel around the Pennsylvania region to devour culture and the great outdoors. From Philly's Museum of Art and the rockin' Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth to bike trips in God’s Country up north, we tour and taste, sightsee and sample, learn, lunch and laugh. Just a bunch of old birds? Not us!

Month: December, 2012

Remember that Seinfeld episode when they couldn’t find their car?

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I think the picture speaks for itself. We’re rushing, slightly panicked. Thing is, though, we were in the wrong garage. Everyone makes mistakes and for some of us, it was a first-time visit to the city, and we really didn’t know the streets and the buildings after two hours. All parking lots look the same. Big, brick boxes just crouching there silently, waiting to trick you. The good news is that we re-grouped and piled in:

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  It was one of the day’s highlights. Six women in a car, driving to another destination, and without the guidance of a brilliant star in the sky. But we do have wise technology in the car, which brought us here:

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 The Christkindlmarkt at the Steel Stacks,  home of the once-booming Bethlehem Steel Company. It was an odd juxtaposition of old and new, light and dark. We marveled at its size, its complexity, its rust. In fact, this campus–or whatever it is you call the resting place of a great American industry–was far more interesting than the shopping inside. Perhaps it hit me harder than the rest because my grandfather worked here as an electrician during the robust 40s and 50s. I remember the exodus of men from all over the region who travelled here each day for work.  I was feeling slightly Scrooged inside, but then just like Ebenezer, I looked around. Not at the industrial decay, but my friends. We had a wonderful day in the Christmas City and vow to return, this time remembering where we left our car. And like all vulture adventures we left with the best present of all. A memory and a story to re-tell for years to come.

‘Tis the Season to be Shoppy

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We weren’t exactly the Magi–although we like to believe we’re wise and at least one of us drove from the east–but the Vultures traveled to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (aka the Christmas City) on Saturday to adore the sidewalks and stores all dressed up for the holiday season. Main Street, the heart of historic Bethlehem–was deserted in those minutes before shops opened their doors, but Christmas carols floated through the bone-chilling air to offer some feeling of warmth and promise for a cheery day ahead.  While the locals were still finishing their mid-morning coffee, we arrived early to get first crack at the Moravian Bookstore, a sprawling gift/book/Christmas store  on South Main that was dripping with its trademark Moravian stars and Christmas finery. Not until I returned home to research the store did I discover that it’s the oldest bookstore in the world(http://shop.moravianbookshop.com/page.htm?pg=ABOUT). We had no idea we were setting foot inside such a historical site! And now that I’m aware of this juicy fact, I’m congratulating ourselves for starting there. Once inside, we needed to give ourselves a pinch. Room after room of unique and beautiful ornaments, gifts and decorations tempted us. It was Christmas in overdrive. And with apologies to Dr. Suess, the store looked like a Who-ville living room:

“The presents! The ribbons! The wrappings!

The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!”   No Grinches in sight by the way.

We walked out with candy canes, holiday aprons, ornaments and a big bag with two Moravian stars. It was serious shopping. Which meant it was now time to goof off and get silly at a consignment store up the street.  We can focus on serious pursuits for only so long. Which meant it was time to try on fur coats.

Pat “Natasha” B. loved this $800 fur, which regrettably was out of her price range.

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     Luckily her beer budget (and ours) was put to good use at our lunch spot, the Bethlehem Brewworks, after the fashion show. Just as we were getting nestled into our seats across from the tall stainless vats–and a stunning Christmas tree-we got a huge surprise! Our AWOL vulture Wendy made the trip  from Scranton to join the crowd, and we were such a merry party–as Jane Austen would probably say.

   Wendy’s pop-in visit heightened our already sky-high spirits, and she offered us, although we didn’t know it at the time, a vulture classic adventure after lunch. See the next post for exclusive, action photos.