Snacking: A Celebration of Wawa

Note: This is not a sponsored post. The delight is real.

Tomorrow I’m traveling back to Pennsylvania. This will confuse some non-Pennsylvanians: I am from Pittsburgh, not Philadelphia. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are about five hours apart. They are different cities. They both start with a ‘p’ and are longish words. Pennsylvania starts with a ‘p,’ too.

But I am traveling to Philadelphia first to rent a car and drive to Pittsburgh. 

Why? (And why so many ‘p’ words?! Please make it stop.)

I love driving. I hate driving in New York City. 

People are insane, but there was also a trip that ruined any excitement I had of traveling by car here. 

In 2013, my friends and I were going to a cabin upstate near Utica for the weekend. I was the only one with a valid license, so I rented the car. The trip was supposed to be six hours and took about 10. After “driving” in a huge downpour — aka sitting on the GW Bridge and hydroplaning for three hours — the same Whitney Houston playlist belting over and over, I refuse to attempt to leave NYC by car ever again. I can’t stand the idea of hopping in a car, feeling that freedom we’re so lacking here in our daily lives, and then being stuck because of the constant traffic outside the Lincoln Tunnels. No thanks.

Plus, it’s always cheaper renting cars out of NYC.

Plus, the real reason: I wanna Wawa.

Wawa is a wonderful chain of convenience stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But in Pittsburgh, we only have Cogo’s and Sheetz, which are extremely subpar. Again, Pittsburgh is different from Philly.

Sandwiches are sometimes better when you're not hungry. July 2018.

Sandwiches are sometimes better when you're not hungry. July 2018.

Wawa has many things that make me giddy. Good sandwiches and tons of toppings. Soft pretzels. Tasty iced coffee. All the beverages in the world (though during a recent severe heatwave I was at a Wawa in Fairmount that was out of coconut water. Shocking!) But really, generally, any and every beverage you can think of, including their own brand of iced tea, milk and more. It is a wonderland of edible, slurp-able things!

Out of coconut water? I'll take a mac 'n' cheese, please. July 2018.

Out of coconut water? I'll take a mac 'n' cheese, please. July 2018.

Back to the coffee. If you live near a Wawa, you’ve likely gotten crazy and tested out the various flavor combinations. Multiple coffees, both hot and iced. Multiple creamers. Seasonal specialties. I have to reel myself in when I enter a Wawa; I often spin out of control and end up with too many things or a weirdly sweet drink. But it doesn’t matter, because I’ve likely grabbed multiple versions of water to wash it all down. I mean, the name of the store is literally reminding you to stay hydrated. As if I didn't love it enough already!

No matter what, I’m always happy: soft pretzel for the road, coffee in hand, fresh sandwich. Snacks for later. “And all for $10!!” I’ll brag to friends. Of course, they already understand Wawa’s magic, but my childlike delight probably brings them hope that I’ll soon finally make the move I’ve been threatening for a few years and just move to Philly. 

But will the magic disappear?