Thursday, January 5, 2012

Erie Tour Part 2

It was midnight by the time I got out of work, so i raced over to where they were staying and we hit the town. Being Monday and the day after Christmas, most of the bars downtown were closed, so we settled in at the cozy Plymouth Tavern on State Street. The Plymouth has occupied its current residence since 1973, the bars inside the tavern are the work of the previous occupant Tom Quinn Fixtures. The building itself is from the late 1800's and was originally a medicine store. The bar has the feel of an old tavern, and everyone in Erie has ventured in from the cold, through the heavy wooden doors into the bars cozy and inviting interior.

We found a table at the back of the tavern and sat, the crowd was considerably thick given the late hour of our arrival. We had drinks and hung out, a parade of friends stopped by to share greetings and passed back into the crowd. The bar began to clear as last call echoed out through the gorgeous building, urging us to be on our way into the night. It was late so we headed back to Takishia and Brian's lodgings. Kaitlyn, who is Dylan and Brian's younger sister, had joined us for the evening festivities along with her boyfriend Mark. Mark had to go home do to early morning work obligations but the four of us that remained hung out enjoying each others company until the sun was threatening to make an appearance. I slept on the couch unable to will myself to get in a cold car and drive across town.

We woke early the next day, undeterred by our lack of sleep and headed off to breakfast, we once again ate at Panos, before heading off for the rest of our day. Kaitlyn left after breakfast to go to work and Takishia, Brian and I met up with Dylan and their mom. We headed over to the local cemetery to show Takishia the Vampires Crypt (she is a twilight nerd). The Vampire Crypt is a mausoleum in the  cemetery that bears no family name, but a strange symbol over the door which appears to be the letter "V", which in turn is where the vampire legends spawns from. The mausoleum is very old, as our most of the mausoleums in the cemetery, and has been effected harshly by the elements, far more so than the other structures on the grounds.
The Vampire Crypt in The Erie Cemetery

We got out and had a look around, apparently their is a geocache not far from the structure, Dylan's mom is an avid geocacher. We drove around the rest of the cemetery, which houses most of my ancestors and has many headstones dating back over 250years. The air was quite cold so we didn't venture out for much of a walk in the cemetery which I was hoping to do, and we left, off to our next stop.

Gelateria Barbara is a local gelato stand stand run by a man by the name of Tim Brown. Tim has worked all over the world as a chef for 30 years, and even cooked dinner for the President on more than one occasion. Brown speaks six languages, believing fervently in learning the language of speaking the language of where ever he is. He also makes a variety of pasta which he sells, along with gelato, to many of Erie's top dining establishments.
Like most great things, hidden in an unsuspecting building in and unsuspecting neighborhood.
We entered the shop and Tim greeted us with "buon giorno," which I instinctively replied the same,Dylan not missing a beat at making snide comments about me speaking Italian, suggesting the retort was a bit much. No one in the group had been to the shop before, and they excitedly tasted all the available flavors. Eventually the settled on their pick and agreed that this was one of the greatest deserts they had ever had, and in true Erie tradition, each cone was just $1. Dylan's mom also bought some pasta and sauce for dinner that evening.

Afterwards we ventured out for a drive, showing Takishia and Brian the sights of the city and explaining the history of different buildings and companies. For whatever reason Dylan began to crave a Smith's Hotdog. Smith's is a regional favorite and the hotdogs are made in Erie at a factory on the west side of town. We headed over to New York Lunch an establishment that, like Panos, is well know for their greek sauce. I had never been to New York Lunch, so this was a new experience for myself as well, how it had slipped my mind to have a Smith's hotdog in Erie was beyond me, but luckily Dylan's stomach had swept in where my mind had faltered. I had The Spartan, a 1/4lb hotdog covering in cheese and the signature greek sauce. It took full concentration not to pour the contents of the dog down the front of my shirt, by the sauce coupled with the amazing taste of the dog were well worth the struggle. Takishia had a gyro which she assured me was amazing and we shared a plate of greek fries, which we quickly devoured.
Lunch at New York Lunch.

It was time again for me to head to work, an unfortunate truth, as these were our last moments together in Erie. We had left so much undone, and the season of their arrival was detrimental to showing the real Erie, a city filled with exciting local events and so much local and regional pride you would be convinced we were a city of far more grandeur and size. But Erie has something, something that attracts a man like Tim Brown to our glistening shores to open up a gelato shop in our former Little Italy, a town where the owner greets you as you walk in the door at every establishment you go to, and loves what their doing. As cliche as it may be, there just must be something in that Lake Erie water.


  1. Sounds like a great time. I love the details of all the places you visited. As you said, sometimes the coolest places are in the most inobvious places.

  2. The other part of the mystery about the mausoleum is that it is built into the hill and no one knows how far back into the hill it goes! It could be holding a lot of vampires!

  3. ANd after reading that I am going to go eat ome of Gelateria Barbara's gelato cake!

  4. Thank you so much for the tour, I heart both you & Erie :)

  5. Well there are still part 3& if you come back we will didn't even eat at my restaurant! Mike (owner) would probably not be happy to know that.

  6. I will be back as soon as I can to finish the tour. Eating at your restaurant is on the top of my list :)