June 27, 2009: Rachel’s report
So, last week I was on OfficeTally and saw the post about the Office Fan Tours in Scranton and was immediately interested in going. My boyfriend Chris and I are huge fans and since we moved to Bristol Connecticut from Arizona two years ago we have be dying to find an excuse to go visit the setting of our favorite show.
As soon as I saw that there was a tour on the 27th, I jumped at the chance to book it since I knew we were both free. We also brought our friend Erin with us. It was definitely the best decision ever!
It took us about three hours to drive from Bristol to Scranton, but it went by surprisingly fast. We quizzed each other on office trivia from the game the whole way there to prepare ourselves for the trivia games.
We arrived at The Mall at Steamtown around 11am and were so excited to see Mifflin Ave, which we later found out was a total coincidence because they had already named the company Dunder Mifflin before coming to Scranton, one of the many reasons they decided to set the office here. Also saw the famous “Mall at Steamtown” sign used in Women’s Appreciation.
Once inside, we walked through Boscov’s where Pam and Phyllis bought their matching shirts.
Just around the corner, there it was, the Scranton Welcomes You sign! So cool! Had to take some pictures there. Also found the store that was being used as the meeting place for the fan tours.
Inside were all of the cutouts created by a local artist for the Convention. It was awesome to get to see those in person. We had some time to kill so we shopped around a little, found Victoria’s Secret, and had a snack in the food court. There was even a Dwight bobblehead on the elevator!
Finally the tour began. We checked in with our tour guides and received our “regional manager” badges. Then after taking more pictures inside the store, we sat down to begin.
Tim Holmes, the director of “Electric City” the local paper in Scranton, was our first guide and he kicked off the tour by giving us some background on how they came up with the idea to do the fan tours and also the difficult process they had to go through to make the dream of the office convention become a reality. I have so much respect for all of those people whose passion for The Office blossomed into amazing opportunities for fans to unite in their love of the best show on television.
After his speech and some great videos, we all got the amazing opportunity to try on the actual mustaches worn by the cast from the Branch Wars episode!
Then we were off to our limo-van where inside The Office was being played on the monitors.
Our driver was the same driver who took Angela, Brain and all the other office cast around when they were in Scranton. Our first stop was the Penn Paper building that is seen in the opening of The Office. The logo has since changed to PA Paper. It was still such a trip to see it in person!
Next, we drove around the Scranton area where our awesome tour guides Andrea, Theresa, and Colin pointed out some great Office landmarks like the Times building, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, Farley’s, Paper Magic, and finally stopped at Cooper’s where we had lunch.
All I can say is that Cooper’s was amazing at the least. The Business Ethics episode portrayal does not do this place justice. From the outside that looks like a boat and a lighthouse with an octopus on top, to the inside which is an amazing mish mash of wacky collectibles.
From a HUGE whale in one room, to a Shark in another, to life sized pirates, to Robots, to vintage arcade games, toothpaste and matchbook collections, to Beatles and Elvis themed Men’s and Women’s Restrooms complete with soundtracks. Like Chili’s on streoids! I would recommend for everyone to go here.
The food was great too, we got to try beet salad from Schrute Farms, now I know what Angela was talking about, soup, mozzarella sticks, three different sandwiches, fries, and chocolate pudding for desert.
Lunch was also very special because we got to sit down and chat with Tucker Hottes, one of the moderators from the Office Convention’s Writers Block. He was a really great guy and very knowledgeable about the Convention and all of the awesome stuff that went on. He also knew a lot about Scranton and had some great stories to tell. Also sat with Tim’s daughter Emily who also works on the tour she was also great at giving us insight on what it’s like to live in Scranton.
After lunch we moved on to beautiful Lake Scranton, again, definitely not at all like it’s portrayed in the Office. There is no beach there, but it didn’t stop us from having a spoon and egg race! Sadly we didn’t win, but it was a lot of fun.
After the beach, we got back in the bus and had our office trivia challenge, each right question was worth one Schrute buck. Everyone did really well and it was a lot of fun, but in the end Mindy, a girl on our tour, ended up winning the prize, which coincidentally was a signed picture of Mindy Kaling. Congrats Mindy! After that we drove up to lookout point where we got to see the entire city, very pretty. Then, it was time for what I had been most looking forward to Poor Richard’s Pub.
Cleverly disguised in the South Side Bowl, Poor Richards was great destination.
Much smaller than I had imagined it but, very cool inside. Our bartender was a great guy who we chatted with about his tattoos. We had local Yuengling beer and watched the big flat screen monitors. It was amazing being in the real Poor Richards and knowing that this is where Jim and the warehouse gang would be drinking if they really existed.
Before leaving we HAD to buy Poor Richards shirts and Pint glasses that said, “Ain’t no party like a Scranton party cause a Scranton party don’t stop!” How true it is :)
Sadly this was the last stop on our tour, as we drove back to the mall, we passed by the strip mall that houses Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe, a.k.a. the good pizza. It was sad for the tour to end, but we had an amazing time not only seeing the sights but interacting with the great tour guides.
Thanks again guys, you rock! People in Scranton are such warm and welcoming people and I can’t wait to visit again soon. For anyone who has even thought about going, please do. You won’t regret it :)