Summertime. This is the season that finds my heart full of wanderlust. The moment the temperature ticks over the 80 degree mark, I am ready to hit the road. Bring me the beach, the top of a crisp mountain, an open fire in the middle of the forest, a new state to discover. We are full-swing summer right now, which means full-swing daydreams of different places.
That being said, sometimes jumping in the car and ditching town just isn’t the way life works. While I absolutely encourage you to embrace any free-spirit instincts you may have, it’s not always possible to get the keys out and go. I count myself extremely lucky to have had the chance to spend most of my summers away somewhere-at least for a week or two. This is the first year that various circumstances haven’t granted me the opportunity to say goodbye to the midstate for awhile, and I’m feeling it. There are brief intervals at my desk that I allow my mind to drift back to the scent of pine in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, or the salt air of the eastern seaboard in North Carolina. Frustration quickly seizes any kind of “maybe” in my mind when I remember that you need time and money to get all the way out to either of those precious places, two adult-life commodities sadly lacking as of late. But then I remind myself that there are people actually planning trips to Lancaster, and that keys to a car or enough cash for a plane ticket aren’t prerequisites of exploration. We live in a place that has a lot to offer; all you need to know is where to look.
WEST SIDE GEMS
One of the first things that made me fall in love with Lancaster was the world’s smallest public art station on Mary St. I had never come across anything like it, and it underlines the beauty in our city’s sense of community. Grab whatever supplies are there and available and create your own masterpiece for the whole neighborhood to see.
The Little Free Library on West Chestnut Street is a great spot to pick out a book you might not normally gravitate towards. Spread the little library literary love and make sure you come with a book of your own that you are willing to pass on to the next visitor.
After being out in the sun for a little while, you’re probably thirsty and a little lethargic. This is a perfect time to check out BUZZ. Get yourself an iced coffee from some of the friendliest staff in Lancaster for just a couple bucks. Sidewalk seating doesn’t disappoint for people watching; just make sure you save some time for Lancaster Cupcake. Full disclosure, I am not a baker in any sense. I can toast things, and that’s about it, but I am a serious cake-lover, and trust me…it’s going to be hard to find better. I go to sleep sometimes dreaming of their Strawberry Champagne.
While the sound of the ocean has its allure, and the stillness of a mountainside will pull, don’t forget that there is plenty of adventure to be had just around the corner. Whether it’s taking advantage of something free, or spending a few dollars on some well-worth-it coffee and cupcakes, downtown Lancaster can temporarily soothe your wandering heart.
Photos by Nikki Weems /// www.nikkiweems.com