We saw quite a lot of this beautiful city in just a few short days and loved every minute of it. We practiced our newly acquired public transit skills using the park n’ ride where we were parked, the city bus and we even the Phlash-a hop on and off tourist bus. The old streets are so narrow and full of busses, cars, bikes, and trucks that we were happy to let someone else do the driving.
We started out by getting our tickets for the Independence Hall tour.
The building where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution was written is a not to be missed attraction. It certainly was surreal to be in the same room and to even see the exact chair that George Washington sat in.
Listening to the guide, we could almost picture Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and all the others off to the side discussing what this new form of government would look like. On the way to Independence Hall we were able to see the Liberty Bell too.
Every city has its share of museums, but this historic district of Philadelphia has a museum dedicated to the Constitution and another to the American Revolution. Of course we went to them both. Safe to say we have gained quite a depth of knowledge on early America!
Following the advice of the helpful visitor center crew, we also made our way to the Reading Terminal Market and were blown away. It’s an old railroad terminal converted to FOOD–all kinds.
There was everything from fresh produce and grocery items, to fresh meat, seafood, deli meats, and cheese. This is all mixed together with vendors’ stalls selling prepared foods. We went to Tommy DiNic’s and had an amazing roast pork sandwich with spinach, broccoli rabe, peppers all sautéed in garlic. Voted as one of the best sandwiches in the country, it lives up to its award.
It was so good but then we spotted a bakery owned by Pennsylvania Dutch–they sell apple and blueberry fritters right out of the oven. As you can tell we liked everything about this place and we even made a second trip to make sure.
Of course no trip to Philly would be complete without visiting the famous “Rocky” steps. It was fun hanging out and watching all the young people put on hooded sweatshirts and run to the top of the stairs and raise up their arms in victory.
We also walked along the oldest residential street in the city. It was beautiful, narrow, and still residential so we couldn’t peak inside, but worth the walk all the same.
On our last day we went to Valley Forge, the winter encampment for George Washington and the troops during the Revolutionary War. I think what surprised us the most was how large an area it was. It covered 3,500 acres and held 20,000 troops at the end when they were getting ready to move on. It really played a key role in allowing the Patriots a chance to regroup, get needed supplies, train new soldiers, and so much more. After this we headed back to town and went to the Chinese Lantern Festival. It featured over 1500 hand-made Chinese lanterns in brightly lit shapes. We even got to watch plate spinning, a contortionist, face-changing dancing, and jar juggling. Even with all of this, we didn’t get to see a Phillies game as they were out of town. So it looks like we will need to put this one back on our list for a future visit.