Family, Friends, Trips

Northeast Road Trip ~ Fall Break 2015

GA-PCOM runs on a trimester schedule, and we get a week off between each of the three terms. This summer, I decided I wanted to use the week between our fall and winter terms to visit some of my friends who recently moved to the Northeastern United States. Because this break is always awkwardly scheduled for the week before Thanksgiving and it can be somewhat hard to make plans with my friends and family at that time of year, I was initially worried the trip wouldn’t work out. Thankfully, my friends’ schedules are pretty flexible, and we managed to make it work and fit everything in that we wanted to do. Additionally, my dad loves planning and going on road trips, so he helped me figure out the logistics of the trip and even decided to meet up with me for the latter portion of it.

Read on below if you’re interested in hearing about where I went, who I saw, and what I did!


Friday, November 13 – Suwanee, GA to Doylestown, PA

  • Left right after my CRIBS exam and grabbed coffee at Dunkin Donuts on my way out of town
  • Stopped for gas and bought a car charger for my phone in Gaffney, SC
  • Got Burger King and more gas in Raphine, VA
  • Arrived at Anna Lee’s cottage in Doylestown, PA at 11:30pm

IMG_1985 The drive was long and pretty lonely initially since I was trying to save my phone battery by not listening to music or calling anyone for the first couple hours. It got a lot better after I decided to buy a phone charger for my car when I stopped for gas in Gaffney though. From that point on, the drive wasn’t bad, and it only ended up taking me 12 hours from start to finish, which passed by quickly once I started singing songs at the top of my lungs and calling friends and family to catch up.

IMG_1986When I got to Doylestown, Anna Lee gave me a quick tour of her and Tim’s cute, little cottage and the property on which it’s located (including the gorgeous, partially deconstructed barn pictured to the left). After that, we talked for a little bit and headed to bed so we could get up relatively early and explore the town before leaving for Queens the next day.

Saturday, November 14 – Doylestown, PA to New York, NY

  • Ate breakfast with Tim and Anna Lee at their cottage
  • Ran errands with Anna Lee and met up with Tim for lunch at Jules (an organic pizza place in downtown Doylestown)
  • Left for Queens, NY and got there around 6:45pm
  • Met Yasmine’s roommates and friends from school
  • Took the subway to Chelsea (a neighborhood in Manhattan) to grab dinner at Salsa y Salsa
  • Walked to the Flatiron District to have drinks at 230 5th (a rooftop bar with a view of the Empire State Building and the rest of the New York skyline)
  • Rode the subway back to Forest Hills (the neighborhood in Queens where Yasmine lives)

IMG_2003 Prior to this trip, I was under the impression that Anna Lee lived in a suburb of Philadelphia that had a city feel to it. In reality, Doylestown is about an hour outside of Philly and reminds me a lot of Aiken, SC (my hometown). The locals seem to be really nice, and it has a quaint little downtown with a good variety of shops and restaurants–including an olive oil bar and the amazing pizza place where we had lunch. Overall, Doylestown was really cute and seemed to be the perfect place for Anna Lee and Tim right now, but it’s definitely not a big enough or diverse enough community for me to potentially live one day.

IMG_1992The drive from Doylestown to Queens should have only taken 1.5-2 hours, but it ended up taking about 3 hours because my GPS took us right through the middle of Manhattan at 5:00pm on a Saturday (which is obviously not the best idea). If/when I visit New York City again, I will without a doubt use public transportation to get there. Not only would taking a plane, bus, or train save time, but it would also end up being cheaper once gas and toll charges are taken into account.

IMG_2015After the stressful drive through Manhattan and into Queens, Anna Lee and I weren’t sure we wanted to go back into the city for dinner, but I’m really glad that’s what we ended up doing. Walking around Manhattan at night was a lot of fun, and we decided to have dinner at a small, local place that wasn’t too loud and provided a good environment for the three of us to talk and catch up. Going to the rooftop bar was also a great time–we got to see how vast the skyline of New York City actually is, and it wasn’t too crowded, which gave us the opportunity to catch up even more. It had been almost a year since I’d seen either of these girls, so we obviously had more than enough to discuss. The only disappointment of the night was that the Empire State Building wasn’t lit up.

IMG_2033Sunday, November 15 – New York, NY

  • Slept in until 11:30am
  • Had brunch with Anna Lee and Yasmine at Aged in Forest Hills
  • Rode the subway into Manhattan and dropped Anna Lee off at Penn Station
  • Explored the 9/11 Memorial (shown below) with Yasmine
  • Walked by Pace University (Yasmine’s school) and across the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Took the subway to Washington Square Park and had a snack at TKettle in East Village
  • Rode back to Queens and picked up dinner from Shahzada (a halal food cart in Forest Hills)
  • Talked to Yasmine’s roommates and studied for a couple hours

It was definitely not my intention to wake up as late as I did, but I guess I needed the sleep after taking finals, traveling for two days, and staying out until 3:00am the night before. Fortunately, waking up at 11:30am didn’t prevent us from accomplishing anything we had hoped to accomplish during the day anyway.

IMG_2052Walking around the 9/11 memorial was an emotional and meaningful experience. Living in my secluded, medical school bubble, it’s easy to forget the devastation and turmoil that are constants for so many people throughout the world. Visiting the 9/11 memorial brought that fact to light and reminded me how grateful I should be for my freedom, safety, and life as a whole.

The views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the East River from the Brooklyn Bridge were awesome, and I’ve always enjoyed admiring the structures of various bridges (one of the many reasons my dad still insists I would’ve made a great engineer). Also, because we got such a late start, Yasmine and I unintentionally ended up walking over the Brooklyn Bridge at the perfect time of day–sunset.

IMG_2118Monday, November 16 – New York, NY

  • Slept until 12:30pm
  • Rode the subway to Brooklyn
  • Explored Prospect Park for an hour and got coffee at Hungry Ghost
  • Took the subway back to Manhattan to meet up with Yasmine
  • Walked around the New York Public Library and bought nutella alfajors from one of the holiday shops at Bryant Park
  • Strolled down 5th Avenue and bought a pair of jeans from Uniqlo (a Japanese clothing retailer)
  • Walked around Central Park and met some French tourists
  • Ate dinner at Vive La Crepe! in The Plaza Food Hall
  • Rode the subway back to Queens and got off in Long Island City
  • Walked to Gantry Plaza State Park to look at the Manhattan skyline
  • Took the subway to Forest Hills
  • Talked to Yasmine and her friends about their first days at their new rotations

IMG_2074Once again, I accidentally overslept. It was actually somewhat disappointing this time though, because I had planned out a whole day exploring Brooklyn–including Prospect Park, Atlas Cafe, Buffalo Exchange, and SHAG. 4 of the 35 AOA OB/GYN residencies are in Brooklyn, so I have a good chance of being placed in that borough of NYC in a few years and was excited for the chance to check it out. Ultimately, I ended up having a great day (and still got to see Prospect Park), but I was definitely nervous when I initially woke up and saw that it was already after noon.

Getting to Brooklyn required me to take the subway by myself for the first time and ride lines I hadn’t ridden before, but I had no problems at all thanks to maps, technology, and my keen sense of direction. A few people actually ended up asking me for help, so I must’ve looked like I knew what I was doing, too. One of the lines I chose to take had an above-ground portion that rode along the Manhattan Bridge and had a cool view of the city and some pretty impressive graffiti.

IMG_2137Although I didn’t get to explore very much, Brooklyn was my favorite borough of the three that I got to visit. Prospect Park was beautiful, the coffee I had was perfect, and the people I interacted with were interesting and (relatively) friendly. Additionally, I loved the fact that walking, biking, and using public transportation to get around was so easy in Brooklyn, as well as everywhere else I went in NYC.

My second favorite borough was Queens, and I particularly liked Long Island City. Gantry Plaza State Park had a breath-taking view of the Manhattan skyline. If Yasmine and I weren’t so hungry, we definitely could have stayed in that park for hours.

Tuesday, November 17 – New York, NY to Boston, MA

  • Woke up at 9:30am, got ready, and packed my car (so it’d be ready to go when I got back to NYC on Friday)
  • Took the subway to West Chelsea (a neighborhood in Manhattan) to get a bagel and coffee from Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Co.
  • Walked two miles to and on The High Line (a park built on an abandoned elevated train track)
  • Walked a mile through West Chelsea to board the Megabus to Boston, MA
  • Rode the bus for 5 hours and got to Boston’s South Station at 5:30pm
  • Walked to Amanda’s studio apartment in Fenway (a neighborhood in Boston)
  • Had burritos with Amanda at El Pelon
  • Listened to music and talked to Amanda for a few hours before heading to bed

IMG_2155I don’t know what it is about New York, but there’s not a single thing I did or place I went that I did not like. West Chelsea wasn’t my favorite neighborhood (it was going to be pretty hard to top Brooklyn), but I still really enjoyed walking around, exploring The High Line, looking at the graffiti, seeing what the public schools were like in the area, and interacting with the people. Also worth mentioning–the egg and cheese everything bagel I got from Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Co. was delicious, and my large iced coffee was only a dollar! All in all, it was a great morning, and I knew while boarding the bus that I was going to miss New York.

IMG_2158Once I got to Boston, I was pretty tired, but I was excited to be with Amanda and explore another city. She met me at South Station, and we found each other while riding escalators going in opposite directions, which was hilarious. It felt like a scene straight out of a movie! We decided to just grab dinner and relax my first night in “Bean Town” since she was exhausted from work and I was worn out from traveling. Plus, we had plenty to talk about–much like Anna Lee and Yasmine, I hadn’t seen Amanda in almost a year.

IMG_2220Wednesday, November 18 – Boston, MA

  • Woke up at 8:00am
  • Walked around Fenway Victory Gardens
  • Met Shuchi at Pavement for coffee
  • Road the T to Cambridge and had lunch at Life Alive
  • Walked around Harvard’s campus and stopped at a couple shops in Cambridge
  • Grabbed a drink with Shuchi at The Mission in Mission Hill
  • Met up with Amanda at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the Longwood Medical District
  • Had dinner with Amanda at Rocco’s in the North End and stayed for trivia
  • Rode the T back to Amanda’s apartment and talked until we fell asleep

Amanda had to work on my first full day in the city, so I decided to explore a little bit with Shuchi, one of my friends from PCOM who was in Boston visiting her fiance. We started our day studying at a local coffeehouse in Fenway and then had lunch at an awesome, organic cafe in Cambridge (the food was delicious, and the atmosphere reminded me a lot of Nepal).

IMG_2216Harvard was a cool place to see, but I didn’t think campus was as pretty as people make it out to be. I guess I have pretty high standards though after living on the historic Horseshoe at USC and visiting Clemson’s gorgeous campus all the time growing up. On a more positive note, the beer I had in Mission Hill was amazing–I had a Southern Tier Pumking with a cinnamon sugar rim, which is apparently a thing people do pretty often up north.

Walking around the medical district was fun, because I got to see the hospital associated with the cancer institute where Amanda works. Unfortunately, there aren’t any AOA residencies in the Boston area though, so there’s no chance I’ll be placed in the Longwood Medical District anytime soon.

Thursday, November 19 – Boston, MA

IMG_2234The pecan pumpkin pancakes at The Breakfast Club were by far the best pancakes I’ve ever had, and Amanda was enthralled by the 80s collectibles and decorations displayed throughout the restaurant. I have absolutely no doubt that she will be taking all of her visitors there for brunch from here on out.

I enjoyed walking around Downtown Crossing, Back Bay, Charles River, Copley Square, and the other parks, and the weather was surprisingly warm for Boston in November. All of the greenery was beautiful, and I enjoyed looking at all of the brownstones throughout the city. I would love to go back in the early fall or late spring when the weather will be warmer and there’ll be even more plants, wildlife, and people to see.

IMG_2261Amanda and I had the sweetest Italian waitress at the family-owned restaurant we went to and had an awesome time at the Improv Asylum afterwards. The actors and actresses did a combination of improv and sketch performances, most of which were really funny. It did, however, take me a while to get used to some of their accents and I didn’t fully understand all of their jokes referring to Massachusetts stereotypes–but the locals in the room seemed to love every second of it!

Friday, November 20 – Boston, MA to Kent Island, MD

  • Woke up at 5:30am, got ready, and made it to South Station by 7:00am to board the Megabus
  • Arrived in Manhattan at noon and met up with my dad for pizza
  • Rode the subway back to Queens to get my car and hit the road
  • Discussed what city we wanted to head to next while sitting in Manhattan traffic for an hour
  • Drove to Cape May, NJ and hopped on the Delaware Bay Ferry
  • Ate dinner at Striper Bites in Lewes, DE
  • Drove to Kent Island, MD and stopped at a hotel for the night

IMG_2317Like last Friday, the majority of my day was spent traveling, which wasn’t exactly exciting. It got a lot better when my dad joined me in New York though. One unique thing we did was take a ferry across the Deleware Bay. It was the first time I’d taken a ferry on which you also park your car.

Once we made it across the bay, we stopped for dinner at a popular, local seafood restaurant and bar. I decided I would try eating fish for the first time in over a year, but I didn’t end up liking it all that much and felt pretty sick later. The pasta that came with the tuna, however, was delicious, and so was the bruschetta appetizer we ordered.

IMG_2325Saturday, November 21 – Annapolis, MD to Charlotte, NC

  • Woke up at 7:30am and ate breakfast at the hotel
  • Drove over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and into Annapolis, MD
  • Looked at boats and bought a few Christmas gifts in downtown Annapolis
  • Started driving towards North Carolina and stopped for gas in Virginia
  • Had dinner with my mom and dad at BrickTop’s in Charlotte, NC
  • Met up with Randi and Reghan for drinks at Fox & Hound
  • Stayed up talking to Reghan for a couple hours before going to bed

IMG_2347My dad and I have a shared love for boats, sailing, and all things nautical, hence our decision to stop in Annapolis, MD (the sailing capital of the United States) on our way to North Carolina. We spent the morning “trespassing” in various yacht clubs, talking about different types of keels, and dreaming about the boats we hope to one day buy.

The rest of the day was spent on the road until we met up with my mom for dinner in Charlotte. I hadn’t seen either of my parents in a couple months, so getting to spend some quality time with both of them on this trip was really nice. Similarly, it was great to see Randi and Reghan, two of my friends from college, for a little bit before heading back to Suwanee, GA.

Sunday, November 22 – Charlotte, NC to Suwanee, GA

  • Woke up at 10:30am and drove back to Suwanee, GA

IMG_2146This road trip was by far one of the best trips I’ve ever been on, and I feel extremely fortunate that I was able to visit so many new places while spending time with some of the most important people in my life. Additionally, this trip ended up being a great opportunity to explore a new region of the United States and get a better idea of where I might want to apply for residency in a couple years.

I was completely blown away by how much I enjoyed New York and equally surprised by how sad I was to leave after only being there for a few days. I loved the people, the diversity, the busyness, the public transportation, the parks, the views, the food, and the amount and variety of things to do. Despite the fact that I hate the cold, I think I would be very happy doing a residency in New York City. And other than the fact that I seem to be the only person who lip-syncs along to my music on the subway, I think I would fit right in.

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Friends, Music, Trips

The Best 3 Days of My Life ~ Bonnaroo 2014

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The weekend that I’ve been looking forward to for the past month and a half finally came, and it definitely did not disappoint! In addition to seeing 16 different bands perform, I also met some pretty incredible people and made several priceless memories during my 3 days on the farm. Needless to say, Amanda, Colleen, and I have already started discussing plans to attend Bonnaroo again next year! I will do my best to convey how amazing Bonnaroo was in this post, but the only way you will be able to really understand is by experiencing it for yourself!

The girls and I drove through the night on Wednesday and arrived in Manchester, TN around 4:30 am the next morning. We got to our parking spot by 5:45 am and finished setting up our campsite about an hour later. Once we were done unpacking, Amanda, Colleen, and I spent some time getting to know our neighbors before beginning to explore our surroundings. Since we were amongst the earliest arrivals to the festival, we were able to really enjoy the beauty of the farm. Below, you can see our campsite and our view of Centeroo (the heart of the festival where all of the stages and attractions are).

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We were amazed by the layers of beautiful graffiti covering the walls surrounding Centeroo and overcome with euphoria once we saw what was contained within them. The grass and trees were a vibrant shade of green, and every structure was painted with a wide array of bright colors. After only a few hours on the farm, I was in love and had decided I was never going to leave.

On Thursday, we saw The Wild Feathers (3:15-4:00 at The Other Tent), The Unlikely Candidates (4:15-4:30 at the New Music on Tap Lounge), Allah-Las (4:45-5:15 at That Tent), and ZZ Ward (6:00-7:00 at That Tent). Amanda and Colleen were exhausted and went to bed around 8:00, but I stayed up to see Cherub (9:00-10:00 at That Tent) and hang out with some other friends at their campsite. ZZ Ward and Cherub were my favorite performances of the day. I especially enjoyed ZZ Ward’s cover of Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home.”

Friday was our busiest day, and it started with a performance by one of my favorite bands, Hunter Hunted (12:00-12:45 at the Sonic Stage). We also saw The Naked and Famous (5:45-6:45 at The Other Tent), Vampire Weekend (7:30-8:30 at What Stage), Phoenix (8:45-10:00 at Which Stage), Ice Cube (12:00-1:00 at Which Stage), and Skrillex (1:30-3:30 at Which Stage). Hunter Hunted, Phoenix, and Skrillex were absolutely amazing, and I think those three performances alone were worth every penny I invested in the trip. Hunter Hunted (left) and Skrillex (right) are pictured below.

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On Saturday, we were all worn out (and a little hungover, to be honest), so we decided to hang out at camp with our neighbors instead of seeing Royal Canoe and Desert Noises. Eventually, we made it to Centeroo and saw Grouplove (5:00-5:45 at That Tent), Cage the Elephant (6:00-6:30 at Which Stage), Chromeo (7:30-8:30 at Which Stage), Zedd (9:15-10:30 at Which Stage), and the Skrillex and Friends Super Jam (12:00-1:30 at This Tent). Grouplove and Zedd were my favorites of the day. I was particularly excited when it rained confetti during Zedd’s finale!

Unfortunately, my dream of staying on the farm forever did not become a reality. Amanda and Colleen needed to be back in South Carolina by 10:00 Sunday night, so we had to leave around noon and miss some artists we were really looking forward to seeing that afternoon/evening (Capital Cities, Arctic Monkeys, Broken Bells, and Wiz Khalifa). One benefit to leaving the festival early was that we were able to avoid traffic and make it back to Atlanta in only 3.5 hours!

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Despite the fact that we had to leave a day sooner than we would have liked and the fact that I still haven’t caught up on sleep, I would not change a single thing about my first Bonnaroo experience. Those three days on the farm were literally the best of my life, and I cannot wait to go back next year! I would highly recommend that anyone with even the slightest inclination to attend Bonnaroo make it a priority to save up and fit the trip into your schedule – I promise it is worth every cent.

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P.S. I apologize for not posting about this sooner. Between Bonnaroo and my trip to Orlando last week, I’ve only been home for 2 of the past 10 days. Over the next week or so, be on the lookout for a post reviewing the products I used during my stay on the farm as well as a post about my family vacation in Florida.

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Friends, Trips

Weekend Trip to Charlotte, NC

One of my best friends from USC, Madison, was accepted to the Teach for America program and is moving to Hawaii at the end of the month. So, I went to visit her in Charlotte, NC this past weekend with two of my other friends, Amanda and Taylor.

We woke up pretty early Saturday morning and started the day bargain shopping at Goodwill. Madison bought several children’s books for her classroom, Amanda found a few books and movies for her own personal collection, and I bought a short, wool business skirt.

Next, we went to lunch at Portofino’s Italian Restaurant, where I got the linguini primavera with broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, and peas. My pasta was amazing, and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers at work tomorrow!

After lunch, we went strawberry picking at Hall Family Farm in Ballantyne. This was by far my favorite part of the weekend! We each picked a pound of strawberries, drank delicious strawberry and peach slushies, raced through the maze, and climbed on a couple huge tractor tires. I also bought some homemade apple butter for my mom and grandmother since Mother’s Day is coming up, and Amanda fell in love with an adorable strawberry-shaped cream and sugar set (I’m going to try to find a similar set to give her for her birthday or Christmas this year).

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We ended the day with dinner from Sushi 101, homemade mini cheesecakes with chocolate and strawberries, and an exciting game of Phase 10 (a card game modeled after Liverpool Rummy). As nerdy as it may be, the girls and I are a little obsessed with this game, and we tend to get pretty competitive.

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This morning, Madison and her mom made cream cheese croissants with a vanilla glaze, brown sugar-coated bacon, and scrambled eggs with cheese. I didn’t eat the bacon since I’m a pescetarian, but everything else was absolutely wonderful!

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Not long after brunch, it was time for us to get on the road (I had at least 5 hours of driving ahead of me). Surprisingly, not a single one of us cried as we said goodbye to Madison. Instead, we found ourselves laughing and recalling stories of when we all met freshman year. I know I’m going to miss Madison while she’s living halfway around the world, but I also know that she is going to do extraordinary things through the Teach for America program and that our friendship is more than strong enough to handle the distance. Plus, now I have a legitimate excuse to splurge on a trip to Hawaii!

Friends, Running, Trips

Weekend Trip to Charleston, SC

This weekend, I went to Charleston, SC with four of my best friends – Anna Lee, Colleen, Sarah Nell, and Yasmine. I have known these girls for over 15 years and am only able to see them a handful of times each year, so most of our weekend was dedicated to updating each other on our lives, discussing plans for the future, and reminiscing about our days at St. Mary’s (the private, Catholic school where we all met). While talking and catching up, we walked the streets of downtown, ate some delicious seafood, and went shopping at the market. We also spent some time exploring the Waterfront Park after dinner on Saturday (pictured below).

Waterfront Park

On Saturday morning, we participated in the 37th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run. Anna Lee, Sarah Nell, and Yasmine ran track and cross country in high school, and Colleen started running consistently a few years ago. They were all aiming to run the whole 10K and improve their PRs, whereas I just wanted to run as much of the race as possible and gauge how far I am from my achieving my goal of running an entire 5K. Anna Lee and Yasmine ended up completing the race in 50 minutes, while Colleen and Sarah Nell finished in 64. I was able to run 3.5 of the 6.2 miles (running no more than a mile at a time) and finished the race in 80 minutes. We are all extremely happy with our times, and I am excited to find a race in the summer to use for my Bucket List.

Course Map 2014