The following is a guest post by friend and colleague, Alexis Dow Campbell, so kindly filling in while Sara sunbathes.
When I found out that I was pregnant, about fourteen million simultaneous thoughts swirled around my head, but I can confidently say that NONE of them addressed the harsh reality that every time that I leave my house it is going to be an unfathomable pain in the ass.
And friends, it really, truly is, especially in those early months. Fellow parents, I know you feel me. Well, my daughter Rosemary just turned a year old a few weeks ago, and I’ve spent the last year toting a little baby all over this ‘Burg and beyond.
Here is a list of some of the most baby-friendly spots in the area, so pack that diaper bag and hit the road.
Midtown Scholar was one of my favorite places in Harrisburg before Rosemary was born, and I love it even more now. I took her there for the first time in May, when she was about 9 months old and a pretty confident crawler. A midtown crawler, if you will.
When we walked in, I headed straight for the cafe counter, as I am wont to do. (Coffee is … crucial.) I ran into a friend right after I got my coffee, which delayed our arrival in the children’s area, but Rosemary didn’t mind a bit – she happily romped around on the stage while I chatted.
After my friend left, we headed to the children’s area, which is a fairly recent addition. We settled in on a comfortable rug, and Rosie made a beeline for this big square cube (kind of like this) and seriously, it was the most entertained by a toy that she had been up until that point. No joke. There was a fantastic selection of children’s books (obviously), and we read about 12 before we decided to go home with “Moo Baa La La La” by Sandra Boynton.
We’ve been back several times since that first trip, and Rosie always spends at least 10 minutes with that cube. I’ve even brought my laptop and gotten some work done while Rosie played. I’d highly suggest it if you’re looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon, or if your kid needs to play it out for a few minutes while you’re running errands. I’ve stopped in and drank a coffee while Rosie plays and reads books. We usually come home with a new book, too!
Taking a baby to a restaurant can be super challenging. MoMo’s was actually one of the first places we took her – it’s open, loud, casual … seemed like a good choice. Plus, you know, the mango habanero BBQ sauce. That may have had something to do with it.
We took Rosie there the first time when she was about 7 months old – right about when she started being able to handle a high chair. We brought a little pouch of baby food and our own little spoon, and the server brought us a cup of hot water to heat it in WITHOUT ME EVEN ASKING.
We’ve been back a few times, (the photo is of us at MoMo’s for my husband’s birthday in April) and every time it’s a breeze. The servers are always super accommodating, and now that Rosie is eating pretty much everything we eat, it’s extra fun. She LOVES pulled pork!
We frequent The Speakeasy often sans baby, but a few weeks ago we went to Sunday brunch with some friends, Rosie in tow. She chomped on a gingerbread pancake and fresh fruit, and loved it. The staff was so friendly and sweet to her – she even played peek-a-boo with one of the servers.
Sidenote: if you haven’t been to The Speakeasy for brunch yet, DO IT. I had BBQ pork belly eggs benedict that was absurdly good.
Alexis Dow Campbell lives in Harrisburg with her husband Robert and daughter Rosie, age 1. She is the “On the Go” columnist for Pennlive.com and The Patriot-News, and Director of Creative Programming at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art in Millersburg. Alexis enjoys making pies, drinking craft beer and has really good intentions when it comes to yoga.