NYC, Philly, Family and Friends (‘Tis the Season)

I just wanted to give a quick thanks to everyone that has made December one of the best months of my life. A quick recap…

NYC (Manhattan and Hoboken)

Went up to NYC to visit one of my best friends, Ted Griffin. He lives in Hoboken which has, by and far, the best view of Manhattan. Hoboken is an old port town and accordingly, has the most bars per capita than any other place in the world (or so I hear.) Needless to say, the small city of Hoboken is a great time. Went over to Manhattan with Ted and met up with Erin, where we embarked on the endless (walking and subway) search for a Knish and the one-and-only “Dirty Water Dog.” We must’ve pounded over 17 miles of pavement that day, seeing the sites and enjoying cups of Hot Apple Cider and pit-stops for “pints” to keep us warm.

I couldn’t believe how beautiful this city has become. From the mean streets and dirtiness I remember as a child, Manhattan must be at the very top of the list for “Most Improved” over the past decade. Coming from San Francisco where homelessness is an epidemic, I only saw 2 homeless people during my entire trip. Here’s another bright idea. They have a trashcan on EVERY corner. Brilliant! And of course, to top-off an amazing 3 day stint we indulged in an authentic New York Pizza. Good times and a special thanks to Ted for putting Erin and I up for a couple days and giving us a great tour of NYC. Stay Free Ted.


A couple of friends I grew up with (Jay Arasim and Ryan McManimie) live in South Philly now and I was able to go and visit several times. Growing up in the ‘burbs, I didn’t really get to see the “real” Philly as a younger lad. Philly is such a cool, hip and unique part of the world! With tight streets (sometimes with cobblestone), the greatest football team in the USA (oh yeah, I bleed Green!), and more greasy and delicious food than you can possibly imagine, it’s no wonder this city has a population over 5 million. I also had a chance to go into a beautiful Brownstone home for New Years Eve and I’m guessing it was built in the early 1800’s. My friends Tracey and Todd bought it a couple years ago and have been busy renovating and voila, the place is big pimpin’. They say if you ever want a history lesson on the United States, then Philly is the only place you need to stop. I couldn’t agree more.

Speaking of history, New Years Day was spent relaxing with Erin and introducing her to the wonder’s of the Mummer’s parade. This is an annual Philly phenomenon that has been going strong since the mid-17th century! Rumor has it that the “Mummers” started after guys would be out all night for New Years Eve and would come home and put on their wives clothes and proceed to go door to door. This is what they would sometimes recite:

“Here we stand before your door,
As we stood the year before;
Give us whiskey; give us gin,
Open the door and let us in.
Or give us something nice and hot
Like a steaming hot bowl of pepper pot!”

And this started the tradition of the Mummer’s parade. Now it’s a pretty big production but the guys still dress kind of funny!

Family and Friends

Even after seeing these two amazing cities, nothing was greater than spending so much quality time with my family and reuniting with a ton of old friends. From chilling with my Pops to talking politics with my Mom and Dennis, it was always a good time. My brother Kyle is turning into one amazing musician and it was great having him teach me more and more on the guitar. I can only hope to be as good as him one day. We had some awesome jams and sing alongs and we just keep adding to our repertoire. He says we should go on the road like the Partridge Family. I can only agree. Brother Ryan is just a hoot. I can never get enough of him and he’s just great to be around. My cheeks still hurt from laughing so much! Even family from South Carolina and New York were in town, with young babies and lots of lovin’ and laughter. I’ll miss you guys while gone. Love ya!

It seemed like there was a party or some kind of gathering every other night, the most memorable being the annual Christmas Eve party and my Mom’s “Let’s get the neighborhood together for the Helluvit Party!” Great times, great food, and great people. A special thanks must go out to Kim and Jo at the Ephrata Rec Center for keeping me in somewhat decent shape while at home. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop in for one of their spin classes. You will love the music and the workout is intense.

I caught up with my roommate from the Netherlands, Dennis, a few times and all of his Russian buddies showed me a great time as well. Crazy Eleuteri was in town and him, Erin and I had a nice stroll around Philly and found this great restaurant called Tria with an amazing cheese, wine and beer selection. Hartman and Bosler topped off the self-dubbed “All-Star Reunion Night” down in Philly. Even my last night was great catching up with “Yaddy B, Bucky B, Smooth V, and Monk.” As kids we all had nicknames. And we all still do. They call me “Bimmer.”

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

I’ll be uploading pics and writing stories about all of my travels and adventures. I’m extremely excited and am very grateful that I have this opportunity in my life as well as a girlfriend who is as adventurous as me. And I’m off…stay tuned for highlights from AROUND THE WORLD!

14 thoughts on “NYC, Philly, Family and Friends (‘Tis the Season)

  1. Harold Payne

    Been following your trip, it looks GREAT!

    Taking about a man of the world..WOW!

    Looking forward to talking to you about this election.

    God bless and be safe

    Uncle Harold

  2. Teddy Griffin

    Glad to hear all is well. I’m sitting in my cubicle with a hangover while you’re touring the world…. keep it real out there.


  3. Aunt Sandy

    Hi Jason and Erin. Been reading blog and keepingup on all adventures. the hot tub sounds so cool. loved all the pictures. I’m still E mailing you. recd one from you, Have a great time, be safe, I’m taking notes so mom and I can go when we retire… Only kidding. miss ya Love ya Aunt Sandy.

  4. Dennis

    Hey dude glad to here you found your underwear. I’m glad you have the courage to take this trip. I think we all feel a little envious. But we will travel and experiece your adventures with you.

    Be safe and take care of Erin
    Love Dennis

  5. tracey

    hahaha… you forgot to mention you had the worst hostess around who went to bed early in her dress!! HA! thanks for the house compliment… and isn’t tria the BEST?? many a looooong night in there… 🙂 i hope you guys are having a blast, i’m jealous, jealous, jealous!

    p.s. love the blog…..

  6. piro

    have a kiwi for me!


    couldnt have said it better myself, safe travels amigo!

  7. Kim

    Jason, you are too sweet…thanks for the nice comment on the spin classes! I can’t believe they lost your luggage!! Is Erin sharing her clothing with you (I’d love to see that)?! You’re blogs are great, and so interesting. I will continue to follow your travels. Be Safe!

    Take Care,
    Kim Keefer

  8. POP

    Hope you guys are doing well. Did you get your luggage yet???? Personally, that is why I no longer fly US AIR. Still trying to finish off all the leftover goodies from X-mas before I start the DIET.( Great excuse,huh??) Just looking to drop 10 lb’s and some body fat. Will be using your less weight and more rep method and promise to Never 3-plate again. Although you 2 have just left I can not wait to pick U guys up in DECEMBER!!! I Love You, WE LOVE YOU. A LOT OF PEOPLE LOVE YOU!! Please be SAFE and enjoy this great adventure. Love, POP

  9. Jo

    Hey Jason…I feel so special being mentioned in your blog. Anyway….glad to hear all is well and I can’t wait to live vicariously through you! You’re my idol.

    Have fun

  10. Ryan

    Dudes, all that great greasy Philly food has taken its toll. I went to put on my fancy blues for class and……………..DANG! So, it’s off to Safeway to stock up on lean meats, beans, and leafy greens. Alright man, glad to hear you made it through the treacherous flight. Shake that lag man and let me see some pics of that place.



  11. Thanks Guys! Jet Lag is taking it’s toll right now for both Erin and I. We went for a long walk this morning to try to shake it but now I’m just going to give into the powers of coffee. Talk to you soon!

  12. Aunt Karen

    Hi Jason and Erin,

    Just wanted to wish you guys an awesome trip. I’ve added your website to my favorites and plan on checking your progress regularly.

    Have fun and stay safe!

    Aunt Karen

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