Saturday, June 14, 2014

Masonic Day Trip to Scranton

Thankfully I took yesterday off because the alarm began blaring early this morning. By the time I got out of bed I knew that my schedule was probably not going to hold up. I had arranged to pick up my mentee by 7:00 am but thanks to some heavy eyes and a few undesirable drivers on the road, I didn’t pull up to his front door until quarter after. With a MapQuest estimate of 2 hours 30 minutes we got on the road with just about 2 hours to make the stated meeting of the Pennsylvania Lodge of Research in Scranton.

As soon as we got on the highway and began heading north, it seemed as though we had a chance to make the meeting on time. We had a great conversation over the many miles and I kind of surprised myself as to how much I have been able to absorb over the past year that I was able to relay to him. Of course, it was also nice to have a few things in common so that we were able to talk about firearms, politics, and may other topics that would make some other people cringe.

With a few miles to go I glanced over at the clock and was shocked by the time that was being displayed… we had over 30 minutes to spare (yes, I stayed close to the speed limit the whole way)! A couple of turns off the highway and we were turning down the block to find parking near the Hilton which we found immediately across the street for five dollars (all day rate). I can’t remember the last time I turned into a parking garage and found rows and rows of open spots as soon as I turned the first corner. You could tell that Scranton party town on Saturday morning.

Once we were able to stretch and walk around to recover from the drive we made our way into the hotel and up the stairs to the meeting were we found a few other brothers from around the commonwealth to chat with for the last few minutes before the gavel sounded. The meeting itself was in a form that we were well familiar with the presentation of a couple of very interesting research papers that I look forward to reading at a later date. The meeting ended about an hour earlier than we were both expecting and, instead of trying to get a couple of last minute tickets for the hotel lunch, we walked down the block a little bit where we came across the numerous statues that surround the Lackawanna County courthouse.

We continued down the street reading the inscriptions and enjoying the different vantage points of the beautiful building.

Before we knew it we had gone around the block and passed what seemed to be a common Rite Aid store until we glanced at the plaque just below the high windows of the pharmacy...

…that’s right, it wasn’t just any Rite Aid, it was the first Rite Aid.

We walked a couple more blocks, enjoyed the clean streets and some of the very well preserved architecture…

…before stopping at City Café Mediterranean Restaurant just as they were opening their doors for lunch. The food was good, not great but good, and the prices were excellent. It was a great way to conclude our time in Scranton as we were only a half block away from the parking garage. While it took us much longer to get back than it did to drive into the mountain town, there was good reason for our delay but I will write more about that little detour on Monday. In the meantime, I look forward to returning to Scranton. This was my first time there and I hope to do some more exploring the next time I am in town (maybe next time I can go up there during the week and stop by Dunder Mifflin).