slice of life · travel

In Praise of Wawa

The Wawa in Princeton was more than a mere convenience store to many of us in high school. Wawa represented freedom. It was under five minutes from my high school, which meant it was the perfect distance away from campus if one wanted an alternative to school food (usually yucky) once each of us turned 17 and obtained a driver’s license. I always bought a Turkey Shorti if I decided to leave campus for a quick lunch. I don’t know if I was the taste of the hoagie roll, the taste of the turkey, or the tang of the vinegar, but it was a delight for my 17-year-old tastebuds.

My days of eating Turkey Shortis at Wawa are long gone. First, I can no longer eat gluten. Second, the nearest Wawa is over an hour from our home. (Apparently Wawa’s a New Jersey thing, not a Pennsylvania thing.) However, I still have a deep affection for stopping at Wawa whenever possible. 

We traveled back to Pennsylvania from New England this afternoon. I announced I’d be napping before we reached the Merritt Parkway. However, I requested to be woken when we reached Phillipsburg, NJ.

“Where do you want to stop?” Marc inquired as I propped my pillow behind my head.

“How about Wawa? We can get gas there and I can go to the bathroom. They *should* be open even though it’s Easter.”

I woke up just before Phillipsburg, NJ, which left Marc with enough time to consult me about the kind of snack he wanted from the convenience store part of Wawa. “How about peanut butter (unintelligible)?”

“Peanut butter and crackers?” I asked. This Wawa has a huge healthy snack display so we could probably get that without a problem.

“No,” he paused. Then he lowered his voice, “Peanut M&M’s.” Clearly, he didn’t want Isabelle to hear this.

“I could go for those,” I thought. Not the best snack. There would be so many other options: yogurt, fruit, kale salad, nut mixes… But no, it was decided. We were getting M&M’s. “They’re kinda like health food since they have peanuts inside.”

Marc smiled. 

I walked into Wawa while Marc and Isabelle remained in the car while getting gas. (Isabelle couldn’t miss the chance to watch someone else pumping out gas. Gotta love full service in NJ!) I used the facilities and then went on my search for Peanut M&M’s. I found two sizes. I went for the insanely large family-sized pack. Because why not sweeten up the last two hours of our road trip?


Look at all of these smart choices! I don’t remember the Wawa of my teenage years having healthy grab-and-go options.
Eight ounces of joy.


13 thoughts on “In Praise of Wawa

  1. Wawa is the best! I don’t have one near me in Northern, VA but always stop when I’m back in my hometown. They’ve come a long way!

  2. Wawa is one of the things I miss most about New Jersey! Italian shorti with mayo and a Wawa lemonade…that is something I craved when pregnant and the thing I buy when I am home and pull into the first Wawa I see. PS: Peanut M & Ms are totally healthy food!

  3. Oh, Stacey! You made me laugh – go for the large size to sweeten the trip! I love peanut M&Ms and try to see them as a healthy snack (at least, sometimes). Happy Monday!

  4. Stacey, I thought Wawas were a Philly area thing. We have one on every corner just about. I love the shortis, but your choice of peanut M&M’s was priceless. Health food is what we say it is!

  5. Wawa’s definitely a southeastern PA thing as well! We couldn’t get by without our Wawa coffee around here! You can even find them as far south as Florida, now. I just don’t think they have traveled very far to the central or western part of the state. Peanut M&M’s – yep, I ‘d say healthy, too.

  6. Ok – I don’t know what a shorti is…. I guess it is not a New England thing. I have been to a WaWa! Nothing better than peanut M&Ms and – they are most definitely health food!

  7. And now we know your sweet secret, Stacey. Funny, & that is a surprise to see a convenience store offer so many grab ‘n go options. Sounds like a nice trip home!

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