Ok, I really should be in bed. I'm supposed to be up in 5 hours:/ Anyway, I got up some courage to take more photos tonight after going to get take out from one of the places with a cool sign. They were so nice:) So I ventured to some other places as well.
I also found a USA Today article that somewhat eased my mind. The basic idea from the article is this:
"You can take photos any place that's open to the public, whether or not it's private property."
So, whew. I didn't do anything wrong. There's actually quite a bit of leeway you have as a photographer. If you'd like to read the entire article, click here.
Thanks for bearing with me on my earlier venting. I plan to resume the project, but since I won't be around here much it may take me a little while to get all the pictures I want:)