Pearl of the Trip: Soul Love
Philadelphia is the birthplace of our nation.
Four score and two hundred some odd years ago, our Founding Fathers negotiated the terms for America to declare independence from England.
And so began the life of the American Dream. Independent spirits emancipated from its monarch. A new way of life cradled in Betsy Ross's freshly spun star spangled banner waving like a mobile in a newborn sky.
The Declaration of Independence was the intention wherefrom the Constitution manifested. The Constitution is America's soul print. The spirit wind blowing the flag. The fundamental web of laws for a new society.
We so easily forget where we came from.
How do I impart all this wisdom of America's creation upon my children and instill an even greater sense of American pride? We visited in the fall right before the national Presidential elections.
Candidate election signs were posted and we came across rallies and benefit concerts.
Other than DC, it was a perfect place to be discussing American politics over our many family dinners The history lessons and easy getaway notwithstanding, I had an ulterior motive to visit Philly - to see my college friends who I haven't seen in many scores.
But first, Cheesesteaks.
Our arrival into Philly began with a re-feul on Cheesesteaks. We were in a pretty shady off the highway part of town but heard this place was awesome. Ordering the Cheesesteak is an art form (google it and see how many posts on just how to order a don't call it "Philly" cheesesteaks there are). Ya gotta know the local lingo. I preferred mine with just steak, provolone on a hoagie (it's not a hero there, it's a hoagie). I devoured it.
We checked into the Hilton Hotel at Penn's Landing. It was on the water and by some historic ships. My kids were most excited for the indoor pool, which is a common theme on any vacation we take. If the hotel has a pool, my kids are happy.
We were in walking distance to some sights but mostly ubered our way around town.
Headed into the city to walk around with the kids and get acclimated. We dined at the Dandelion Pub. A totally whimsical and charming pub.
The next day and my first college friend meet up was at the Reading Terminal Market. Remembering my roommates tastes but not really knowing her kid's preferences, my thinking was there's something for everyone.
Indeed there is. However, it's not the most relaxing or conducive place to meet and catch up with friends on a weekend during prime chow time. It is ideal for a foodie tour or grab to go.
My family arrived early and toured every single station.
My kids were too overwhelmed and hungry to choose so I made some executive decisions - turkey for my son and crepe for my girl. I opted for a smoothie and hummus wrap from the Israeli place. Didn't catch the name of the place. My hubby had pirogies. We waited on a massive line for Beiler Donuts, which got no arguments from our now crowd of 7 and was well worth the wait.
While they waited, i wandered and found the happiest person in Philadelphia over at the 4th Avenue Cookie counter. Notice how I caught the name of the cookie place. The cookies were yummy and I had my first locally induced smile.
We walked, ate, talked and wandered the streets. The city feels like a bigger West Village. It’s not overwhelming, has pretty parks and playgrounds for the kids.
The following day we met my other college friend and her kids by The Liberty Bell in Philly's historic district.
I was struck. I mean it’s a bell with a mysterious crack but its symbol reverberates throughout our country. Pennsylvania was the first state to abolish slavery and time and again the bell was rung to mark freedom's pivotal strides.
Let Freedom Ring.
We walked the historic district but Independence Hall had way to long of a line and the interior was closed for renovation. We took a walk in and a quick walk out of Constitutional Hall - b o r i n g. The US Mint was closed by the time we strolled over and traded culture and history for the carousel at the local park.
We walked over to a cute pocket of town where the “other” Continental is as is home made ice cream shop Franklin’s Fountain.
The next day we met my other college roommate over at Rittenhouse Square. We ate at Rouge, a totally fancy but yummy lounge. We loved walking and strolling together through the Square.
Ben Franklin is perhaps the most famous historic Philly resident (after Will Smith and one of my Mompreneur crushes Jen Groover) and The Franklin Institute was our favorite family spot in our visit. My kids were fully interested and engaged in the interactive exhibits, particularly traveling through the Institute's heart and making paper.
Ben's many pearls, inventions and intentions are an integral part of the nation's foundation. The other think tanks happen at the many colleges in Philadelphia including, Drexel, Temple and the University of Pennsylvania.
Our last day we ran the Rocky stairs where I totally got scammed at the top of the stairs by a guy who offered to take my picture with my phone which I excitedly handed over and then asked for money for taking the shot (which I gave). A total rookie tourist mistake that this New Yorker should have seen coming 20 stairs in. Except, he did take some pretty good shots!!
Our last stop was to tour around the University of Pennsylvania and enjoy our last bite of Philly at a total college jaunt with pool tables, really yummy wings, burgers and fries.
The standout memories during our drive time home where Rocky, The Franklin Institute, my friends and it was about this time when we realized my son had a large homework assignment due the next day.
True patriotism at its best. ;)
Rocky Stairs (sans scammer)
The Franklin Institute
Dive Pub at U Penn
Catch our family's adventure on Insta @Cynpearls #PhillyFun
(c) 2017 Cynthia R. Litman, Esq.. PLLC All Rights Reserved.