Well, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a White Space Friday this past Friday. It was tough keeping my calendar free — but I had already made plans with Gert and Val to go to Volant for the day — which made it easier to keep it open.
Volant, PA is located about 30 minutes from Zelienople down Rt. 19N, within minutes of the town of New Wilmington, along the Neshannock Creek. This is Amish country, and it’s not uncommon to pass a horse-drawn buggy on your way to Volant or New Wilmington. However, it was such a rainy and cold day, we only saw Amish farms on our way to New Wilmington — and an Amish farmer plowing his vegetable garden with three horses.
Volant is known for it’s little shops — handmade and gifty kinds of things. Although, I was a little disappointed, as it seemed to me like most shops didn’t offer original, handmade crafts, except for a few. I really love a couple of the shops — one called the Purple Paisley and the other, Nifty’s Gifty’s, although I purchased the most things at a shop called A Little Bit of Country (and my home is not country at all).
Purple Paisley had the most awesome fashion scarves. I could have bought a dozen of them, but I managed to pick my favorite — finished with furry pompoms. I figured I’d have to save it until next winter, but who knew it would be 38° on Saturday, and I actually got to wear it now. Her store was so cute too. Everything was purple, including the little trees outside — complete with purple lights.
Nifty Gifty’s was by far the perfect shop for me. It was full of works by various artists. I recognized a few of them, including a favorite artist of mine — Michelle Allen. They carried some really unique pieces that I haven’t seen anywhere before either. Val bought a really cool candle made in an upcycled wine bottle.
It rained the entire day. It started out around 65° and by the time I got home at 4:30, it was 46°. At one point the wind was blowing so hard on the way to the car that the rain was pouring sideways. We were soaked — my right side from my shoulder all the way to my shoes was drenched — the umbrella didn’t help much at that point. Now we were freezing too, so we decided it was time for lunch.
We drove into New Wilmington to grab a bite to eat. If you’ve never been to New Wilmington, it’s a college town where Westminster College is located. They hold an annual 4th of July fireworks at Lake Brittain, located on the campus. My Mom and Dad used to go to this every year and my brother would meet up with them. Dad loved the River City Brass Band, and they always played patriotic music during the show. One year, Tom and I went with my Mom and Bob, and we sat on chairs and blankets on the grassy hillside beside the Lake. If you’re from western PA, you know that fireworks is pretty popular in Pittsburgh — because it’s home of two of the largest fireworks providers in the nation. And we’ve worked with Pyrotecnico at MarketSpace — who I believe puts on a better show Zambelli — plus they’re still family-owned — I like that. We live in an area that’s about the same distance to the fireworks downtown Pittsburgh or here — and it’s much more enjoyable to drive into the rural area than in the rat race of the big city. I’m thinking we’ll have to make this trip this year for sure.
So anyways, we go into New Wilmington and someone had recommended that we eat at The Tavern on the Square. They are best known for their famous Sticky Buns. It has the feel of the same shops we just visited in Volant — a huge, victorian home converted into a restaurant. Gert, Val and I had a hard time narrowing down what we wanted, because the menu just had so many awesome options — it was fantastic. They provided these hardbound notebooks on the tables and guests could write a story or a note in there. So, of course I had to write in the book. We read through the other posts — it was such a great idea to hear what people were celebrating, who they were with or why they were there. I tried to draw pictures of three drowned rats — I was so cold during lunch that I had to put on my winter coat. We leisurely ate lunch and by the time we left, the rain had let up a bit and my sweater was finally a little drier than damp. Leaving the restaurant, we saw the beautiful Easter flowers that we missed on the way in — tons of bright yellow Daffodils and bright pink and purple Hyacinths. I could only imagine that those would all perish by Saturday morning with the frost on Friday night.
We had planned to stop a few more places before heading back to Zelienople. We stopped at the Amish Peddler and the Volant Mill Winery. Val needed to get a bottle of Gewürztraminer for her son, Matthew. But they didn’t have that, so she got something else. And then we slowly made our way back to Zelienople as we all had plans for Friday evening — the Pittsburgh Penguins were in Boston playing the Bruins — Tom had the guys coming over to hang out in Peters Pub. But we learned on the way home that with Boston still on lockdown, the Pens game was being moved until Saturday afternoon.
This was the most walking I’ve done since my surgery in December. I have no pain in my hip anymore at all — so I can walk much better — but I did rest if there was a nice bench on a covered porch. I was so sore after I sat for an hour when I got home that I could barely walk into the kitchen. My feet, ankles and calves were in pain — and I must have favored my right side, because I could barely put any weight on it at first — pathetic!!! But, I know I need to slowly get back to full mobility and that is the only way that’s going to happen — by getting out and walking. I assumed I would have cramps in my legs all night (like I did after my Mom’s retirement party), but I didn’t. And that made me sooooo happy!
For most people, Friday was a washout. It went from a warm morning to winter temperatures in a matter of hours. But for me, Friday was a great day — despite the rain, despite the return of winter, despite the rough week of terrorism and other horrific events. It was a day for me to step away from my office, from my email, from my worries for just a day — and spend that day relaxing with best friends. To do something I enjoy and for myself. We all need a little white space in our lives. And, I hope that I can design my life with more white space, louder typography and more colorful images.
Always B E L I E V E.