Give me liberty, or at least drive me to Philly!

IMG-0368Holy moly- we made it! Today is the last day of the longest year there has ever been (except perhaps before we were measuring time in years).  This was a year of sucker punches and gut-wrenching events and I for one and am not sorry to see it go. Even though we’re starting 2018 in much the same situation as we’re leaving 2017 it still seems like a fresh start. Maybe that’s what drew us to end the year in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy. Where it all began if you will. Our forefathers are probably rolling over in their graves right now, given the current state of government affairs, but the city of brotherly love is more fun than ever.  Here are some pics from our short but sweet trip.

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First stop was our old neighborhood- Chestnut Hill.  I still think this is the most adorable and best neighborhood ever.  I often wonder why we left such a perfect little spot. Until I remember that someone was shot in the WaWa parking lot behind our house. I guess every place has its problems.
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Here’s our old house. This was our first fixer upper (don’t ask how many have come after- that’s a story for a different day). It holds a special place in my heart because you always remember your first…
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If you don’t know why I took a picture of this door then I can’t tell you.
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Oh ok, I’ll tell you. It’s the entrance to McNally’s Tavern, the coziest local in America, and home to the world-famous Schmitter (aka sandwich to end all sandwiches). There is no sign, and no window so you just have to know it’s there. We found out about it pretty quickly when we lived in town, and proceeded to spend 5 out of 7 nights there. That was pre-kids and when my metabolism was a lot faster.
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Chestnut Hill Coffee is a good spot to stop when the temps are beyond frigid and you need something hot to bring your body temp up somewhere close to “alive”.
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We spent some time peeking into some of our favorite stores. I actually did not look very amazing on this trip because I had a huge stye in my left eye that made it look like I’d gone ten rounds with Rocky. I spent most of the time hiding behind sunglasses, which was annoying because it’s really hard to see inside with sunglasses and also I looked like a total douche. But it was either that or scare small children, so…
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Yeah, Philly pillows! And other colleges etc. that I don’t care about (but you might).
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I always try to make sure my clothing is refreshing.
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Was so much fun to meet up with Cathi and Eddie.  One of the best parts of traveling is reconnecting with people you really like spending time with that you never get to see.
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After our meet up in Chestnut Hill, we headed to Center City and our hotel. We stayed at the Logan, and you should too.
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The location is perfect because you can easily walk to the Museum of Art, the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk or anywhere downtown. Even when it’s colder than Mars it’s not that painful to get anywhere. And, when you get back you can sit by the fire in the lobby and defrost with a nice drink.
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Philly is fun during the holidays because of things like this nice little Winterfest that was happening in front of City Hall.
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There’s even an ice rink! We didn’t skate but we could have if we had been able to feel our feet (or maybe that was just an excuse because we’re kinda lazy).
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This is just a reminder to #visitphilly
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When it’s so cold that you’re afraid you might lose a few fingers or a toe to frostbite,  you have to find somewhere inside to visit. We couldn’t think of anywhere better than One Liberty Observation Deck.
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I’m sure it’s amazing any time of day, but we went at sunset which made it extra amazing.
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Do you know about the curse of Billy Penn? No? It’s pretty interesting. I would tell you about it, but that’s what Google is for.  Anyway, that’s him perched on the top of City Hall. And we thought we were cold…
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I love Rittenhouse Square. It’s so pretty.  Definitely spend some time around the square- lots of good shops and restaurants and all the historic stuff is nearby too. Remember the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed in Philly. If we had made it to Independence Hall I was going to buy a copy of both and send them to Donald Trump. Because, well, you know why.
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This is the restaurant in our hotel. It was a tad bit out of our price range (just looking at the menu made my credit card spontaneously combust) but I did have coffee here in the morning and it was really good coffee, and a good place to hang out and catch up on all my social media.
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Here’s my “I stopped to take a pic in the middle of the street like a tourist” shot of Philly.
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The next day the fam came to town! Don’t mistake these kids for Philly hoodlums. They are hoodlums, but they aren’t from Philly.
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The kids wanted to eat at Reading Terminal. I am not going to lie- this place stresses me out. But, I feel like if you are in Philly, you have to go check it out.  The food options are limitless and the people watching is tops.
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All kinds of sundries…
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We came here so that everyone could find something they wanted to eat. But 75% of our group opted for cheesesteaks so I guess we could have just gone to a cheesesteak place, but oh well. It was fun to brave the crowds and see the sights.
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Like these books! I love it when I run into books.
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Even if you’re in Philly at a different time of year,  you should pop into Macy’s on Market St. It’s beautiful. And you can pick up a pair of socks, or a Longchamp bag. Or something.
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Our next stop was the Philadelphia Magic Gardens.  This place is probably my favorite spot in Philly. You really need to go to experience it because pictures will never do it justice.
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It is absolutely magical.
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Truly a feast for the eyes! After you visit the museum stroll down the street to see more of Isaiah Zagar’s work (it’s everywhere on South Street) and then spend some time appreciating the unique South Street vibe.
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This is the view from the rooftop bar at the Logan where we went to recharge after a day of wandering around.  Don’t worry, there’s an inside too.
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Loved the view.
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The bar was beautiful. And that’s a $3,400 bottle of cognac.
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I opted for the $7 bottle of Yards. Because when I drink, I drink local.
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Before dinner we headed back over to City Hall for the free light show. It was really beautiful and mercifully quick (7 minutes in sub-zero temps was just about enough).
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For dinner we opted for a spot on Spring Garden Street called Roy Pitz Barrel House. I loved the vibe, and also the giant pretzels. We could have just had those for dinner. I’m gonna remember that next time.
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The next morning I ran up to the art museum. I did not run up those stairs because I didn’t want to be too cliche. Also, that’s a lot of stairs. I don’t know how Rocky ran all the way from South Philly and then up all those dang stairs because my hotel was less than a mile away and I wasn’t going to do that.
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It wasn’t my most inspired run, but it was pretty. Pretty short. Ha ha.
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And because eating til you feel like puking seems to be a thing you do between Christmas and New Year’s we went to The Dandelion for brunch. I definitely want to go back because the menu looked amazing, but all I could manage was coffee and a small bite to eat. Loved the space too. I felt like maybe Betsy Ross would walk in at any minute.
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See- it’s very colonial, isn’t it?
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Like you could totally darn a flag in front of this fire.
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Then the weather started to get dicer and we thought we should head out because we had a long drive home. The snow in the city sure is pretty, but not very fun on the highway.
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We finally made it home after a harrowing drive that took 2 1/2 hours longer than normal. I’m sorry there aren’t any photos of the Liberty Bell, the Besty Ross House, Independence Hall or any of the other usual Philly sites.  But there’s a very good reason for that. And the reason is- we didn’t go to any of those places. Maybe we would have if it were warmer, but as my son said: “why go see a cracked bell when you can go see other actually cool things”?  That’s my boy. He will probably never be good at history, but he’ll live an adventurous life.

So, that’s how we wrapped up 2017. I hope the end of your year was just as lovely, and I hope that 2018 is better for everyone. I know a large part of that will have to do with what we do, so let’s get to it! Here’s our chance to move beyond anger, toward action.  We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do… insert your action item here. 

1 thought on “Give me liberty, or at least drive me to Philly!

  1. Great pics! I would finding Reading Terminal overwhelming too!

    Like

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