38th Birthday Weekend

If the rest of my 38th year is as great as my birthday weekend, it’s going to be a fantastic year. My actual birthday was Saturday, but I took work off Friday to use up the rest of my vacation time and give myself a nice long birthday weekend. I started everything off getting to meet up with a good friend from college and her 3 year old daughter. In the time I’ve been in Baltimore she has lived off and on in the Baltimore/DC metro area a few times, but sadly moved away again last summer. She was back in town for a visit this weekend, so it worked out perfectly for us to meet up for breakfast on Friday morning. It was great to see her and the perfect way to start off the weekend.

Friday afternoon my husband and I headed up to Philly for the weekend for a weekend of concerts, which were my birthday present. With the hotel and concert tickets it was an expensive gift, but I’m pretty sure my husband would pay any amount of money for me to buy myself my own gift every year. I’m still waiting on that Christmas present from 2 years ago. Anyway, all the pieces fell into place for a perfect weekend, and the best birthday I’ve had since we got engaged on my 30th birthday.

What seems like forever ago now, The Cure announced that they were going to be playing in NYC on my birthday. I have been dying to see The Cure forever, which my husband knew so he agreed we could go as my birthday present. I didn’t manage to get tickets to that show, which I was sad about at the time but ended up being a blessing. A few weeks later they announced a full North American tour with a stop locally, which I got tickets to so I’ll still get to see them but it freed up my weekend for something else entirely.

The Dixie Chicks announced their first North American tour in a decade with a show in Philadelphia (technically Camden, NJ) on my birthday. I will be out of town for their DC show next week, but I hate that venue anyway so I’m much happier to go to Philly for a show anyway. So I got tickets for that show (I’ll refrain from a long, angry diatribe on the racket that is Ticketmaster and Live Nation being the same company that somehow resulted in me having to pay ticket resellers double face value for lawn tickets the day tickets went on sale via their website when later there wound up being swaths of tickets for sale from them for a show that was not in fact sold out and had people on Stubhub selling lawn seats for $6). Shortly after that they announced that Jason Isbell would be playing on Friday night with Frank Turner opening, so I decided we could make a whole Philly weekend of it. I was a little bummed that the show announced for Merriweather for Saturday night include Chris Stapleton co-headlining with Jason Isbell, but because everything was coming up roses for me a few weeks after I saw that we got notified that Chris Stapleton was added to the bill and the show had been moved to a larger venue. Perfect!

We stayed at the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill. Hotel rooms in summer in Philly  are expensive, but I at least managed to find a rate that included free valet parking and free internet. The location also wound up being completely perfect for us. We were able to walk to Festival Pier for the concert Friday night, and while the Saturday concert was across the Delaware River in Camden, New Jersey there was a ferry we could take across the river a block from our hotel. I was really glad I did my research and saw that parking and traffic at BB&T Pavilion were terrible and cost $30 and found the ferry over as an alternative. My only complaint about the hotel was that our room overlooked I-95 so we had a lot of traffic noise. I’d definitely stay there again as long as they could guarantee me a room on a different side of the hotel.

I’ll write about the concerts themselves in separate blog posts since this entry is getting long already, and I know most of you don’t care to read about the concerts anyway. Saturday during the day we met up with my friend Erin and her family. They live just outside the city, so it was nice to get to see them while we were up there. They suggested meeting up at Spruce Street Harbor Park, which was again conveniently located just a few blocks from our hotel. It’s a little park along the waterfront that for the summer they put all these food stands, games, hammocks, bars, and seating in. Our original plan was to grab something from one of the food stands for lunch, but there wasn’t anything veggie friendly for my husband so we wound up eating inside the Hilton hotel restaurant, which was right there. After that we hung around in the park for awhile, then wandered around the city for a little bit and found a flea market to peruse. I haven’t yet mentioned how wonderful the weather was the whole weekend, but it was so it was a great day to spend outside with them.

It really was the perfect weekend. All the pieces fell into place, and I had such a wonderful time seeing music I love played live and getting to spend time with some wonderful friends and their great families. I wish every birthday could be this good.

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