Fishtown is a small neighborhood northeast of center city. When I first moved into Fishtown in 2008, it was considered an up-and-coming neighborhood. During my visit this past weekend, I would say Fishtown has arrived. Walking down the main drag, I spotted dozens of new shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. I could not believe the hoards of young people walking around enjoying the sunshine in what was once a semi-desolate, working class neighborhood. There were only a handful of bars and pizza shops, one good cafe, and a single thrift store. I loved the neighborhood because it was removed from the hustle and bustle of center city, sheltered from the crime stats of Kensington, and small enough that I ran into friends on a weekly basis. It felt like my little neighborhood and while I sensed a bit of pushback from the families that lived in Fishtown their whole lives, I still felt welcome and secure.
Fast forward eight years and the whole landscape of Fishtown has shifted. It’s clear that short-term yearly rentals are more common in the community. You can see new housing popping up everywhere to accommodate students and hoards of younger crowds that are flocking to Fishtown to settle. With the crowds comes the coffee shops, restaurants, yoga studios, community spaces and art galleries. No longer are there abandoned lots waiting to be bought, instead there is a taco stand or a vegan ice cream shop filling the once vacant space. Spending 24-48 hours in Fishtown would have been in enough in 2008, but now you’d need a week to really see and taste all it has to offer. Instead of overwhelming you with every bit of goodness, I’ll let you in on my favorite gems, and you can explore the rest as you see fit.
It’s Wednesday! It’s time to procrastinate and daydream about traveling and visiting spaces you’ve never seen before. I must admit, I wasn’t always in love with State College, Pennsylvania. Growing up, I thought of it as a drinkers’ paradise where sports fans would flock on the weekends to watch Penn State football. I was absolutely right about those things, but State College is so much more than that. It’s Happy Valley, an adorable little city nestled between mountains in the middle of beautiful central Pennsylvania. As an adult, I was reintroduced to State College when Katie and her husband bought a home there. They both worked at Penn State University and I had just returned from Thailand when they convinced me (it wasn’t too hard) to move away from Philadelphia and move in with them. I spent the next eight months working as a delivery driver, walking their dog. readjusting to life in America and learning my way around town.
After a couple weeks, I knew the streets better than Katie, but she introduced me to a lot of the goodness on this State College city guide list. State College is a completely different space depending on what time of year you are visiting. During the summer, it is usually calm because many of the students are gone. The city actually halves in population! It goes without saying that summer is my absolute favorite time to visit. In the Fall, during football season, downtown is crazy crowded with students and fans that flock from across the state and nation to watch Penn State football. If you’re a female delivery driver that means stacks of cash and lots of traffic. In the dead of winter, State College is cloudy, icy and cold. I try to avoid winter in State College at all costs, but really, I try to avoid winter everywhere at all costs.