Forewarned is forearmed: this blog entry has nothing to do with baseball per se. It’s just a brief paean to the wonderful 24 hours I got to spend with my daughter, Dana, and sister, Stephanie, wrapped around a wonderful evening at Clipper Magazine Stadium enjoying a game between the Lancaster Barnstormers and Bridgeport Bluefish on Cancer Survivor Night, June 24.
Coming soon (as in within the next few days) I’ll be posting a vlog (video blog) featuring Barnstormers utilityman extraordinaire Jed Morris talking about the event, his foundation You and Me On A Comeback, and the game and its goosebump-inducing pre-game ceremonies … but for now, I just wanted to take the opportunity to share some photos and visuals from what was truly a wonderful two days/one night.
My amazing sister Steph lives right outside Ithaca, N.Y., and I live in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., so we don’t get to see each other as much as we might like to. And the last time she saw her niece (my daughter) was at Dana’s high school graduation in June 2008. This actually, I think, marked the first time that the three of us spent quality “girl time” together, just the three of us (even if some of the late-evening reminiscences post-game back at the hotel veered into a little TMI for Dana).
At age 39, Stephanie got a few bombshells dropped on her. Within a span of about 48 hours (correct me if I am misremembering, Steph), she found out she had lupus and breast cancer. She dealt with the lupus, braved the cancer, underwent a double mastectomy (I am not outing her, she is the proudest survivor I know), and somehow came away from everything stronger and healthier and more gorgeous than ever. And somewhere along the way in the last five years she also developed some bizarre mutation that made her a NASCAR fanatic (BOBBY LABONTE, PLEASE HIRE HER FOR SOME GREAT PR JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), as evidenced by the very cool tattoo on her back that combines her pink ribbon and NASCAR flag.
Sooooooooooooo … on Thursday, Dana and I drove the two-plus hours north to Lancaster and Steph drove the five hours south (in her hippie car with the Quadrophenia licence plates) and met up at the downtown Marriott. The near-tornado-like downbursts passed, not without a few scares, and the three of us enjoyed the game in beautiful clear weather with great seats behind first base.
Many a concession stand was patronized (the hot dogs, the french fries, the fresh-squeezed lemonade and the Auntie Anne all saw our hard-earned dollars that night), and thanks to Steph answering a question about farming right, we even got some Barnstormers Bucks which went right back into the Turkey Hill ice cream stand.
The next day, with the Barnstormers hitting the road, we decided to take advantage of our hotel’s wonderful “heart of downtown” location and wander around what we’d heard was a wonderful city. We weren’t disappointed.
A stroll up and down North Queen Street made us immediate fans of Lancaster. We’re all planning trips back to shop and wander as soon as possible, and dragging our husbands with us (well, me and Steph … Dana, at 19 and with a year left of college, is still unmarried). Among our favorite stores so far — Mommalicious/My Aunt Debbie (for amazing jewelry, vintage hilarity and great one-of-a-kind goodies — I bought an amazing tote bag based on a 50’s-era matchbook from an old beach motel); Zap & Co, an extraordinary vintage store so well known up and down the east coast that many a film has utilized it for its costuming; Bon Appetit/Bonbonniere, a combination cheese and candy boutique where Dana and I realized we could easily gain 10 pounds each way too easily (Provence fig jam? Lavender goat cheese? Kill me now); and Details, which greeted us at the door with Barnstormers schedules and tempted me madly with all sorts of starfish/shell-shaped goodies (I don’t think I’ll hold out after our kitchen remodeling is finished so hopefully they still have the cobalt blue shell-shaped chip-and-dip dish in about two months).
I know there are many more stores worth mentioning that I’ll get to know in the coming months. And I can’t wait to return to the Central Market and visit the Eastern Market as well for delicious fresh goodies ranging from cheeses to veggies to candies.
And to add to the charm, the loveliness and the warmth of the area, may I add that we were all blown away by how incredibly NICE everyone we met was … maybe Steph and I are jaded because we both grew up in midtown Manhattan. But there is just an inherent kindness and friendliness in this region that made us want to plan our next trip back immediately.
Basically, point being … I totally understand why so many of the folks I know who have had the option to choose where they want to settle down have chosen the Lancaster/York area to make their home.
If this makes you want to plan a day trip or a weekend getaway to the area, just click on the link “Why To Come To Lancaster” over on the right and start making your travel plans now!