Friday, May 7, 2010


Today I had to go for a drug screen test for my new job. I've never had to do this before, so I didn't even know if it was blood or urine! That's how silly I am! The list of places to go included Elmira and Corning-places I am very familiar with and places like Sayre and Towanda. I did a MapQuest and found that Towanda is 45 minutes from my house where Elmira is about 40. I figured since I have never been to Towanda, today was the day! I made my appointment, grabbed my paperwork and Kiwi and off we went! Normally going to give a urine sample would not be considered an adventure, buy I am far from normal!
What I knew about Towanda before this afternoon was limited to a street sign. When you get to the end of our road (Mainesburg Road) we turn left to get to town, Wellsboro, work, etc. To us, everything is left. There is the sign though that points right that says "Troy/Towanda". We have ventured right a few times and headed to Troy which is about 20-25 minutes from us. We've been for supper, to check out their Main Street, antiquing and when the Mansfield Video King closed down, the next closest was in Troy. Charles and I have been to Troy maybe a dozen times. Troy is charming. Troy's main drag is T-shaped unlike a traditional "Main Street". They have a few cool shops & restaurants to visit there and in my brain because I see that "Troy/Towanda" sign I thought that Troy and Towanda were close and/or similar in size and charm. I was wrong. Oh so wrong!
My directions were simple, take 6 all the way into town and make a left into the hospital. Easy. When I got into this part of Towanda I was shocked that it was like a mini city. Burger King. Dunkin' Donuts! Dry Cleaner. Hotels. Your basic city stuff. But with not only a hospital, but a Dunkin' Donuts I was thinking, "What a hip town".
My visit with the hospital was an in and out kind of deal. Small town means not a lot of waiting! Gotta love it! So here Kiwi and I were sitting in the parking lot deciding what to do. Turn right to go home or turn left and see what was down the road a piece. Knowing that I had promised Kiwi a good walk of some sort, we turned left. What a great decision! Left took us to a whole other part of Towanda. Main Street, Towanda. Let me describe it as best I can...

Coming into town, on either side of the street are these giant, old Victoria-era homes. These are all big, rambling things that sit high up off the road. There are steep steps from the sidewalk that lead up the vast front porches. Most of them wrap around porches. Being an old movie buff these homes reminded me of so many old movies, but especially Meet Me in St. Louis where the horse and buggy pulled up to the stand in front of the house. Of course, these streets are all tree-lined with decades-old trees canopying the street, and with spring that means bright new leaves and flowering trees. Every lawn was green, trimmed and beautiful! I don't know if they have some kind of "Main Street Ordinance" that they all have to follow, but their yards were ALL well kept.
Once I passed these houses the downtown opened up. There were three to four-storied buildings on either side of the street. Each building is old-very old. They each have a slightly different facade, but they are all about the same height. I spotted the movie theatre and noticed the sign at the top that read, "Hale's Opera House 1886". Amazing! It appears that they are keeping the charm of the area, by not allowing new building facades. This a great thing. There are small alleys between some of the buildings. They are cobblestone with bits of green growing through and closed in with black iron gates. Some side doors were open which revealed the entrances to the above apartments. It looked like only some of the above floors were being used as apartments. But how cool would that be? Living on Main Street, in old Victorian store buildings. *Sigh*
Kiwi poked her head into one store that looked exactly like Vandergelder's Hay and Feed from Hello Dolly with it's main & lower floor for shopping! Too cool! There were tons of great stores-antiques, hardware, a Ben Franklin, two theatres (both movie and stage), a florist with a vintage delivery truck sitting out front, book store, pubs and great places to eat. There was a diner there called "The Red Rose" which was built in the 20's and proclaimed "ladies welcome".
While walking down a side street I was greeted by a group of people setting up some tents and stuff and I asked what was going on. "First Friday!" the lady told me. I am familiar with downtown St. Petersburg's First Friday. It is a massive party/pub crawl. Lots of fun, but very urban. I asked her to tell me more. The Towanda First Friday is sidewalk sales from the merchants, strolling minstrels, live, outdoor music, games for the kids sponsored by the YMCA, a giant pinewood derby for the Boy Scouts, food, games, etc. Right up my alley! She said they have them the first Friday of every month and guess who is going back soon?

Now let me try to explain the topography of this area. Imagine that Main Street is level and if you went off Main Street one block to the left, you'd be on a river front green way and if you went one block right you'd go up steep streets into neighborhoods. Kiwi and I walked along the green way and drove through the neighborhoods. The green way was made alongside the old train tracks and has the Victorian (like) black lamp posts running all along it. The walkway is dotted with benches and little covered gazebo-like structures. It is a beautiful spot to watch the river flow past with the mountains in the background. The police station was located just off the river and even that building was charming! When we drove up into those neighborhoods, you couldn't spit without hitting a Victorian-era house.
These were smaller than the giant ones on Main Street, but still HUGE! Every 4th house was Victorian and every 4th one of those was "gingerbread". Kiwi thought that I had gone nuts because of the many times I gasped while driving those streets!
One of the first things I noticed about the downtown part of Main Street was the lamp posts. I'm gonna say that they were replicas, but I couldn't be sure. But each and EVERY lamp post that lined both sides of Main Street and the green way along the river had these banners hanging from them. All I can say is that these banners were so amazing-each one of them said, "Bradford County, Hometown Heros". Under those words was the photo of a service man or woman and under that was their military branch, what war they served in and what city they came from. I had such a sense of community pride in their men and women in service-from the Civil War to Afghanistan-it was inspiring! What a way for a city to honor their servicemen and women.

Today I fell in love with a town...cannot wait to go back. Make sure that if you are planning a visit with Charles and I that you make us take you to Towanda!


  1. Wow!! Sounds as if you had quite an adventure today. What an adorable place.

    I went to sleepaway camp in PA called Camp Towanda......but it was in Honesdale, PA.

  2. Towanda sounds and looks alot like Brenham, Texas where I used to ive! Queen Ann style architecture with Victorian - town square with big gazebo and so many friendly people! I'm glad you have this environment so close to home - check out their activities for July 4th - should be a wonderful, patriotic event. Looking forward to seeing you next week!

  3. I did check out their schedule right away! They have something planned fun every month. Scarecrow decorating contests in October, "dog days of summer" in August with water activites, patriotic events in July and next month is International month with foods from around the world and Indian dances! I'm gonna be there for sure in June!

  4. I haven't been to the place yet and I was really intrigued with the place..Hopefully I can visit Towanda..Towanda sounds so nice,the photos are great.!!Good post.!
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