Rewind a few months back.
My mom and I were just hanging out on the couch, watching Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life, indulging in a little coffee and contemplation about the future, dreaming up inspiration boards and playing them off of each other. When all of a sudden it dawned on us, we should plan a weekend trip just the two of us, to a place neither of us had ever been but had always wanted to go.
We instantly started brainstorming. We love Manhattan but we've been dozens of times, we considered Austin but ultimately ticket prices were unimpressive and eventually, we decided we wanted something within driving distance where we could rent a reasonable AirBnB (I'm pro-AirBnB, can you tell?). Thus, the Manayunk trip was born.
For our room, we decided on something quaint and cozy, nestled high on a hill above Manayunk Main Street. The Magnolia Treehouse and Garden Apartment proved to be just what we needed and everything we were hoping for!
A short two and a half hour drive from our home base of Columbia, MD, Manayunk, PA is a recognized National Historic District centrally located just 15 minutes from Center City Philadelphia and The Main Line making commuting an absolute breeze. Featuring the Schuylkill River, Manayunk Canal and Tow Path as a back drop, Main Street is lined with a mixture of rustic, revamped Victorians and sprawling industrial chic buildings that highlight the old charm and modern hipster spunk of the town.
If you're on the hunt for the perfect weekend getaway, Manayunk could be just the one!
Friday night we arrived, unloaded our bags and made ourselves comfy before heading down to Main Street to pick up a six pack from Manayunk Brewing Company and hitting up BYOB Chabaa Thai for some curry and drunken noodles (I highly recommend by the way). It had been a while since we'd really caught up so we spent a couple hours there before retreating back to our basement apartment for a daily dish of Jane The Virgin, cracking open the crunch stout from our MBC six pack.
Saturday morning we woke up, showered, sipped some coffee and googled things to do. If you've never been to Philly or researched things to do there, then you simply wouldn't know the sheer volume of things to do on any given day HOWEVER, we did learn by the end of the weekend that had we come one day earlier, apparently Thursday's are poppin' in and around Philly. I'm talking outdoor movies, happy hour galore, food specials, festivals, etc, etc. Learn from our mistakes, leave on a Thursday.
We decided to head down to Pretzel Park for the farmers market which was a bit disappointing. The park itself would be a nice place to spend the day with your dog (there's a gated in dog area on the outskirts), lay down and read a book, bring the kids (also features a small playground) or pack a picnic and relax but I wouldn't go out of your way for the farmers market! From there we headed to the train station, literally a block a way and hopped on board (ticket-less, apparently in PA you buy the ticket once you board the train which we only learned after wandering around aimlessly trying to touch anything that looked remotely like a touch screen before finally asking an all-knowing group of millennials nearby.) Lesson learned, as I always say, when in doubt ask a millennial.
Taking the Train to Thomas Jefferson, we got off around 10th street and headed towards Penns Landing (Check out the link for other cool things to do at Penns Landing) for the Festival of India. Along the way we grabbed a chai and a muffin from Luna Cafe.
We munched and walked until we got to Penns Landing where we wandered around checking out vendor tents before finally grabbing some simosas and a mango lassi and taking a seat to watch a few of the performances. We spent a few hours watching the performers before deciding to head back towards the train station to get back to Manayunk in time for dinner. Just a heads up, buying tickets at a legit train station in advance is about $1.50 cheaper than buying on board the train, so if you're looking to literally save a buck or two than grab a couple before heading back on board.
We stopped into a couple shops along Market Street on our way back! Smak Parlour is right on the outskirts of Penns Landing and features one of a kind unique clothing line made in the USA "Smak" alongside other trendy and vintage pieces you'll eat right up! We loved sifting through the racks at Smak. Next up, Artist & Craftsman Supply near and dear to my artist's soul we could have spent hours here too and nearly did. We escaped with a couple supplies for crafting, a hand made wooden stamp and ink, blank thank you notes for stamping and a postage book for coloring but there were so many other neat things we passed up!
The way home was pretty quick and simple and before we knew it, we were back wandering the streets of Manayunk, in the rain which instead of dampening my spirits generally makes me feel a little more one with the earth, it's weird, I know, but I can't help it. We happened upon Manayunk's funky book store, The Spiral Bookcase and sat around leafing through craft and photography books, Scandinavian housing decor and murder mysteries, not to mention the resident cat asleep on a nearby armchair that stayed so still as we entered the book store that I wasn't even sure if he was real!
All that wandering really worked up an appetite, and wouldn't you know it, right at that very moment we stumbled upon Taqueria Feliz. Take notice, this is no coincidence folks, as noted in past posts my obsession with Mexican food is very real and unlikely to slow down anytime in the near future. It is probably only fair that at this point I disclose the sheer volume of chips and salsa I consume on a weekly if not daily basis. It's unhealthy. And my margarita to water ratio is about 70/30 with 30 being the amount of water as compared to 70 the amount of margaritas AND I would even go as far as to say that ratio is based on a monthly average. I would be surprised if tequila didn't run through my veins, I consider it a large part of who I am as a person and I make no apologies for that.
Now that we got that out of the way, back to Taqueria Feliz. Amazing. From the vibrant neon retro decor to the Mexican tin hanging lamps and the liquid appetizers, I'm only telling you for your own personal benefit that skipping out on this restaurant would be a true shame. Instead of an entree, mama and I opted for a couple apps. Can't go wrong with the guacamole and chipotle salsa, the crazy corn was like crack and we couldn't even get to the taquitos after all that. I have to be honest, I could have done without the shrimp ceviche, nothing wrong with it but it was marinating in a sauce that can only truly be described as ketchup-esque, a mexican cocktail sauce if you will, I just wasn't digging it. But the shrimp itself was good and we even ate it leftover the next day if that's any indicator.
As women often do, we spent hours there, the service was impeccable, we talked and talked and talked. Then we climbed the steepening hills back home to our treetop retreat and spent the rainy evening indoors enjoying another round of Netflix.
Sunday morning was surprisingly beautiful. Couldn't have been more than 70 degrees and sunny. We packed up our things, loaded up the car and headed for Main Street once again. The nice thing about Main Street in Manayunk is that there is always something new to discover. we were there three days and still could have done more exploring. After watching an episode of Manayunk Mornings (Episode 13) we strolled on over to Pilgrim Roaster's for a dirty chai and a croissant. Another great place to stop! There's no food yet as it's pretty new and they're still working out the kinks but the chai was awesome and the atmosphere was pretty cool too. We really enjoyed the little outdoor tables and watching other families with their kids or their dogs. The feeling of community is truly alive in this little town.
One of my absolute favorite parts of this trip was the tiny vintage clothing store we happened upon near the end of Main Street and right next to Taqueria Feliz.
Something about Millay Shop just sort of set my soul on fire. A secret (or not so secret anymore) dream of mine has always been to open a shop just like Millay one day when I decide exactly where it is I'd like to settle down. The romance of this little shop is enough to blow you away. From the twisting iron staircase to the gorgeous molding and the sleepy, tumbling arms of each carefully selected botanical in the room, the ambiance was truly refreshing. I felt like I'd been let in on a wistful Parisian secret. The best part is, they're also online so even if you can't make a Manayunk pit stop, as long as you're wifi enabled you're all set! I practiced a lot of self discipline and left Millay with only a vintage bohemian midi-skirt (30% off might I add) and a feeling of inspiration. What a fun little business.
That's pretty much a wrap! We also hit Dwelling Home furniture store because we like to do that sort of thing for fun. We wandered around, dreamed about re-furnishing and picked out a couple dream pieces. We also really liked browsing at Nadeau! If you happen to be weird like us and enjoy that type of thing OR you're actually on the hunt for a certain piece then I recommend spending some time in one of these shops if for nothing other than to get ideas.
That's Manayunk in a nutshell! We truly had a wonderful time! And stay tuned because there are a ton of cool festivals and happenings in Manayunk all the time! We'd love to go back for the Sippin by the River festival in October (unfortunately...fortunately? I'll be in San Francisco, can't wait to share that adventure with you!) but there's no shortage of upcoming events and hopefully you can make your way there too!