Ah, good ol’ Reading, PA. Now, the following list is about more than just the city itself, because technically Reading, PA is just the city, and I’m not even from center city. We’re just one of those towns where we associate ourselves with the most recognizable name, the Monopoly board, and Taylor Swift. Or something like that. But instead of calling this “Ways to know you’re from some part of Berks County, PA,” we’re going with what we know and starting from there. And obviously if you were born in Reading, used to live in Reading, currently live in Reading…you know you’re from Reading. But this? This is how you know.
(First thing’s first: It’s pronounced Redd-ing. Not like you’re reading a book here, people. Carry on.)
- You don’t just know where the Pagoda is, but you’ve seen the view looking down on all of Berks county. Seriously though. Apparently you can see 7 different towns from up there. (See figure above)
- And you know Skyline Drive is the place to makeout.
- Oh yeah, Reading is “the place where Taylor Swift is from.” But you’ve never really seen a Christmas tree farm in Reading, and it’s more rap than country, so you’re still not 100% sure if that’s true. I mean, she’s really from Wyomissing, which is to Reading what I’d be to Reading geographically, so it still counts.
- At least once, someone has asked you if you know Taylor Swift. Yeah of course, we jammed out together…she just then went all country and I went all Counterparts.
- The Berkshire Mall was the place to be in high school.
- The Berkshire Mall food court? Even better when the Chinese place has the sample lady handing out bourbon chicken.
- Yup, Reading is home to the Reading Railroad from Monopoly.
- Nope, never rode on it.
- Your prom was at the Inn at Reading. Twice. You probably went to the Reading Museum for prom pics, and if you got married in Berks, you just might have gone there for your wedding pics, as well.
- You drove all the way out to Exeter to get Sonic during some late night escapade or another. #worthit
- Philly Pretzel Factor and Rita’s are so Reading things too, thankyoukindly.
- Speaking of pretzels, Reading was once known as Pretzel City, USA. So besides the Philly Pretzel Factory, we’ve got Tom Sturgis Pretzels, Unique Pretzels (Splits are where it’s at amiright?), the Reading Hard & Soft Pretzel Bakery, a Reading Pretzel Festival…it’s like a full-blown pretzel party.
- You’ve geocached around the county. Is that just a Berks County thing?
- When people look confused about where you’re form, you resort to “Taylor Swift was from here” or “We’re on the Monopoly board.”
- There’s no need for you to haul it out to Lancaster to see the Mennonite folks, because they sell your favorite buttery soft pretzels and whoopee pies and fried chicken and homemade ice cream and shooefly pie at the Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market every Thursday-Saturday.
- Speaking of Farmer’s Markets, you grew up begging your mom for candy at that one stand (where it took you a solid ten minutes to decide between the 15 different varieties of licorice) or a donut from Dutchmaid before needing a job in high school and working the fruits and veggies.
- The Reading Phillies will always be the Reading Phillies. What’s this Fightin’ Phils nonsense? #readingphils4life Still can’t wrap my head around the hot-dog throwing ostrich man…
- The Reading Phillies fireworks shows? Always a date night spectacular. Or just the thing to do with your friend group or fam on a Saturday night. Maybe you just got lucky driving past the stadium at ~10 pm.
- You worked at – or knew someone who worked at – Redner’s.
- Vanity Fair Outlets are apparently all the rage!
- It will forever be The Sovereign Center…none of this “Santander Arena” whatever.
- You know Pennsylvania Dutch all too well. The style of talking, the pronunciation of words…I mean, I’m fairly certain you bake a cake with flour and not “floor,” right?
- Speaking of the Dutchy style, you’ve probably learned to love dangling prepositions. “Are you coming with?” It’s like the quintessential mix between “Are you coming?” and “Are you coming with me?”
- We have our own museum, but not a commercial airport. Maybe I’m just bitter now that my wedding guests can’t fly in directly, but at least they can check out a mummy while they’re here, right?
- 5th Diner is the place to go for 2 am cheap comfort food.
- You know how to pronounce Kutztown, and you may or may not have gotten your hairS cut.
- You’ve held at least one puppy at Your Pet Center.
- If you’re the athletic type, you’ve probably run at Grings Mill. If you’re not the athletic type, you’ve probably taken pictures there and stood under the Red Covered Bridge.
- “Voices” is one of the best parts about Tuesdays in the daily newspaper, the Reading Eagle. I’m not biased or anything…
- You know about “the rock” in the river where the county schools battle it out for painted ownership and school pride.
- Applebee’s karaoke is what’s up on a Friday night.
- You’ve probably ice skated at Body Zone once or twice, or seen a hockey game.
- You know what pot pie is, and you know it’s not crust-covered fruit preserves in a pot. It’s meat and veggies in some of pie crust according to Google, but in Reading, it’s a thick, stew-like soup with a rich broth and big squares of homemade noodles. Pure comfort and carb overload.
This list ended up so much longer than I originally anticipated, largely because I think I was grossly underestimating the charm in my hometown. When you’re there, ya tend to bag on it a little, constantly dreaming of the time when you’ll “make it” and get out and do something else with your life. But now, man oh MAN I cannot wait to head home for some shoofly pie.
What’s your favorite part of your own hometown?
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