This was supposed to go live last Wednesday - it did not. Here you go!
Thursday through Sunday of last week were 4 days of straight up, “someone pinch me is this my life?” perfection. What made them so special was the person by my side for 96 hours straight and the fact that when it came time to say goodbye on Monday morning, I happily would have spent another 96 with him.
Thursday night was rainy and cold but that didn’t stop Melissa and I from standing on the sidewalk for 5 minutes waiting to capture a video of the most epic billboard – a runner that flashes between saying “I Hate Running” and “I Love Running.” Truth in advertising.
After wandering around for a while, we got a table at one of the 123190 Irish pubs around Penn Station where you can get a cheap drink and awful food. John Sullivan’s fit this mold perfectly. $6 pinot and a grilled salmon burger fresh out the freezer section of Costco. Melissa, Peter and I had a few drinks, caught up and then Peter and I walked over to MSG for BILLY JOEL!
The incredible thing about Billy Joel is that he’s now played 23 concerts at Madison Square Garden and people are still flocking to see him. Plus, he could legitimately play 23 different concerts because his library of music is so vast.
- Every second.
Ok, for real, some of my favorite moments were:
- Billy dedicated “The Entertainer” to Donald Trump
- Showing off my talent of singing every word to “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
- RIVER OF DREAMS
- Peter somehow recognizing the intro to the intro to the intro of “New York State of Mind”
- Being able to record a video of the line, “And the microphone smells like a beer” to send to my dad
- Going to the bathroom and thinking, “Holy shit, that’s THE Billy Joel singing that I hear through the door as I pee right now!!”
- Peter spinning and swinging me around the suite during “Only the Good Die Young.” I felt like I was in a movie with my handsome man as we sang and laughed and spun and then he gave me a dip to close out the night.
If you are a Billy Joel fan, I can’t say enough about his concert. The rest of the weekend I think Peter and I brought it up to everyone at least 10 times. “Did you know we saw Billy Joel on Thursday?” Everyone probably wanted to smack us but it really was even better than I could have hoped it would be.
Thursday night we got back to Peter’s parent’s house around 1 a.m. and immediately fell into bed.
6 a.m. wake-up and a quick stop at the bagel store before hitting the road. We hit some traffic early on, but then it was smooth sailing (minus the multiple stops to fuel Peter’s caffeine addiction and to accommodate my pea-sized bladder).
I had a sudden craving for hot chocolate and on Peter's next Dunkin Donuts stop I got myself a cup. It really hit the spot. Although now I need to try their new salted caramel, mint and s’mores flavors. You know, for comparison’s sake.
We made good time and made it to State College in Happy Valley (for a while I thought these were two made up names…) around 11:30 a.m. Edit: Happy Valley IS a made up name We couldn’t get into the house until around 2 so I looked at Peter and said, “Nap in the car time?” “Lunch time?”
“I thought we could go for a run around campus,” Peter said.
This is why I love him even though later that night he would tell me I looked like a little boy in my flannel shirt.
So I got the sleepy thoughts out of my head and we parked the car and stepped out into the brisk Pennsylvania afternoon. It was so great going for a run around the campus with Peter reminiscing and pointing things out to me. It was hilly, but I felt surprisingly good and was also running naked (aka no GPS watch, duh). The sun was shining despite the cold and we ran 5 miles at around an 8:30 pace. After sitting in the car for 6 hours, it felt great and woke me up much more than a nap would have.
Immediately following our run we went to The Berkey Creamery! It’s right on the campus and part of their food sciences college and it was my first visit to this Penn State institution. We split a cup of chocolate chip cookie dough and drove around campus taking some pictures, climbing some steel sculptures, ya know.
Next was my first ever shopping trip to WEGMANS! I had extremely high hopes and as we walked in I was greeted by a Gala Apple Cider free sample. I bought some Nature’s Path granola, not because I needed it, but because the cost was like 50% of the price in NYC.
Things I was impressed with at Wegmans:
-Bakery Section (I’m lookin’ at you, free sample of cranberry bread topped with brie)
-BUILD YOUR OWN TRAIL MIX BAR
-Grind your own CHOCOLATE peanut butter
I wouldn’t say I am a Wegmans addict, but it was definitely fun getting to go to one!
Finally it was time to check out or home for the weekend – and dayum we were living in style! For the past two years Peter and his friends have rented this gorgeous house a quick drive from campus and it was awesome!
We showered and took a “quick nap.” Peter told me to set an alarm but I said I didn’t need one…next thing we knew it was 5 p.m.
A trip to Mad Mex for the infamous GOBBLERITO was in order.
What the Heck Is In A Gobblerito?
-Topped with gravy
-Side of cranberry sauce
When this burrito arrived it resembled a small child. We ate every last bite and each drank a frozen margarita that probably contains more calories than one should consume in a day. Mango for me and Pumpkin Spice (yes, a pumpkin spice margarita) for Peter.
We left Mad Mex and walked around some shops for a little bit. I was tempted to buy ALL THE THINGS because Nike and UnderArmour make Penn State’s apparel but I had to keep reminding myself, “She doesn’t even go here!”
When we got back to the house, almost everyone had arrived and we had a few beers while I got introduced to the gang and went to bed early.
Our alarms went off throughout the house a 5:30 a.m.
This was no joke people.
Tailgating at Penn State is SERIOUS business.
We drank coffee, we packed the 3 trucks, we stopped at Dunkin for 2 dozen donuts, and drove to the tailgating fields.
I was unprepared for just how many people tailgate here. Fields upon fields of cars. I will never forget the following image:
We pulled into our spot and I looked at the pick-up truck in front of us. As the car was pulling into its spray painted space, 6 guys were leaping out of the flat bed and doors, whipping things out left and right and before I could blink a canopy was going up.
I laughed and said it looked like a hummer had just rolled into battle. Then I got out of the car and saw that the exact same thing was going on with our group.
No joke within 5 minutes - 4 coolers were lined up, 2 tables were filled with food, a grill was warming up, corn hole was out, the speakers were on, the lawn chairs were set up. It was a spectacular demonstration.
It was also 7:15 a.m.
We all started with a glorious warm rum cider accompanied by donuts, bagels with cream cheese and lox, breakfast burritos with bacon and hash browns, and homemade pumpkin chocolate chip bread toasted on the grill.
The next 5 hours passed so ridiculously fast I can’t even fathom it.
I learned what the stump game is and was pleasantly surprised by how clean the portapotties were. I was cold, but not frozen. I ate everything in sight. I whipped out these amazing 50 cent football hats I found at Good Will.
And then it was time to go into Beaver Stadium for the Penn State/Michigan game.
It was a white out game and inside the stadium looked soo awesome. The sun was shining on us the whole time and although Penn State lost, it was a good game and I got to experience a touch down!
Apparently it’s a tradition at Penn State that for each point, the guys in the student section toss a girl up into the air. So when Penn State got a touchdown, Peter hoisted me up.
Other Random Things:
- The women’s bathroom line was like 10X shorter than the men’s.
- There were snipers on the roof.
Instead of sitting in traffic for a million years after the game, we headed back to our “camp” and tailgated for another 2 hours. Peter was grill master, cooking up 32 cheeseburgers.
When we eventually got home, 15 of us spent the night dozing in and out of naps, eating pizza, and eventually, falling asleep before 11 p.m.
We woke up fairly early after a full night’s sleep and I quickly abandoned my, “Maybe I’ll got for a run…” idea in favor of being a lazy Sunday bum.
We cleaned up the house, packed the car, and waved goodbye.
Breakfast was at Peter’s all-time favorite, the Waffle Shop. We had stopped here on our way home from the Pittsburgh Marathon so I knew it was great, but I wasn’t prepared for the HUGE line winding its way around the front of the restaurant.
It went quickly, and we feasted on French toast and the “Nest Egg” – potatoes covered with veggies, cheddar cheese and a friend egg.
Then we walked around town a little bit, checked out some stores, and made one last stop at The Creamery. We each got our own this time – since we had successfully expanded our stomachs throughout the weekend. I picked the Peanut Butter Marshmallow and OMG it was so sweet and creamy and amazing.
The trip home went super quickly – we made wonderful time AND saw the most amazing sunset as we drove through the city.
We decided to stay the night at Peter’s family’s house and enjoyed a nice dinner with them (and delicious, fudgy brownies) before an early bed time.
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT a wonderful 4 days.
It was so nice getting to meet Peter’s friends and hearing all his memories from his time at Penn State. It’s such a beautiful campus and I loved walking around! And this is how big my smile has been every time I think about it.