It finally happened. I finally took a real vacation. My boyfriend and I ventured to Philadelphia last week for a few days out of the city for some birthday vacay! I planned and researched for exactly 10 minutes before booking round trip $12 tickets on the Greyhound and a lovely charming room that I found on AirBNB. It was exactly perfect. We did so much that I wasn’t sure how to lay it out for the world, but I’ll take a stab at it.
We had a lovely 2.5 hour ride on the Greyhound early on Wed. the 28th. I had prearranged everything with our lovely hosts, Stacy and Joe whom I had found on AirB&B. If you are not familiar with AirB&B then I highly recommend checking it out. It is people who rent out rooms in their homes for less than hotel rooms and occasionally provide breakfast. Their neighborhood was in Kensington and just ten minutes on the subway to the historical district. We arrived and entered with our prearranged key less door code. Our room was perfect and we set our stuff down and headed out into the city. http://www.airbnb.com
We headed out to get our first cheese steak of the trip. (My boyfriend is a cheese steak addict). 1st stop Genos. We stuffed our faces (mine whiz without, his whiz wit) and then we stumbled upon this amazing bar, Rays Happy Birthday Bar. If you go in and it is in fact your birthday you get a birthday cake shot with a candle and you get to wear a silly hat. And the PBR is only $3, so I highly recommend it.
From there we wandered around the historical district. It was so amazing to be standing in the very places where our country was founded. We saw the 1st bank ever in the United States as well as the 2nd bank ever in the United States. WE saw the foundation for the first ever president’s house in the US. WE saw the Liberty Bell, the Constitution house, Betsy Ross’s house and so many more places that are part of our Nation’s history. A very large school group got in front of us at The Liberty Bell, and even though it is free, we chose not to wait in line. However, there are big glass windows so you can actually get fairly close with out waiting in line.
From the historical district we headed to the Walnut Street Theatre, which is the oldest theatre still in use in The US. They offer rush and discounted tickets for people under 35. We picked up some tickets for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and before the show we headed to Moriotty’s for some delicious Irish grub. I had the spinach mozzarella quiche and the potato soup. MMM MMM good. Then to the show. The Walnut Street Theatre has a company of actors who are just as good if not better than most of the shows on Broadway. There is a head shot from every actor who has performed on the stage. Even the bar tenders were some of the best I’ve ever met ( and that’s saying a lot since I am a bar tender myself. )
Then we hailed a taxi and headed back to Kensington for some much needed sleep.
We skipped breakfast and headed straight for The Franklyn Fountain which is the oldest (and in my opinion one of the very best) ice cream parlors in the United States. Along the way we walked right past my friend Fred’s Store. If you are looking for something to do off the beaten path while on vacation, or something that you would never do at home for fear of running into a neighbor or leaving your comfort zone, then I suggest you check out Fred’s Store. (Keep in mind we were only there long enough to catch up and say hello.) KINK, a classy Market Street fantasy and fetish shoppe. This is not the kind of establishment that you feel skeezy upon exiting, but instead, Fred is the owner and currently the only employee and his play list of American Rock and Roll makes you feel very welcome. If you and your partner are interested in trying something new in the bedroom, but aren’t sure where to start, KINK offers classes and safety courses so that you can be comfortable trying something new and being safe while doing it. If you are up for leaving your comfort zone (or expanding your comfort zone),Check it out and be sure to tell him Shanna sent you.
Now the ice cream. Oh man was it good. I had the rocky road and peanut butter and my boyfriend had the classic ice cream sundae. I can’t use enough adjectives to tell you how incredible and creamy and fresh and perfect this ice cream was. We got there near opening and they weren’t very busy, but I am certain that the line gets long fairly quickly.
Then we walked to Penn’s Landing. We saw the Irish Memorial and The Scottish Memorial, the we went to the Independence Seaport Museum where we toured the USS Becuna Navy Submarine and the Navy Cruiser, OLYMPIA. It was amazing. We saw their living quarters, the mess hall, the latrines, and all the little details. Our ticket also included tickets to the actual museum which had exhibits about all of the activity that has ever occurred on the Delaware River including accidents, slave trade and immigration.
Then it was time for cheese steak number two of the trip. We found a place called Four Fathers and the server was so friendly. (In my opinion this was the best of the three and it wasn’t even Pat’s or Geno’s. ) After stuffing our faces once again, we heads to the other side of town specifically to run up The Rocky Stairs (yes, I know they are at the art museum. We weren’t going to the art museum, we were going to the Rocky stairs, so when a very odd man correct me I was forced to inform that I lived in NYC and we also had a few “world renowned” art museums. We saw the statue and the steps and the museum looked beautiful from the outside. We had a direct view to city hall, and it was beautiful.
We then headed to check out China town and discovered that there was not much there and the best thing about it was that you can buy actual postcards of the Great Wall of China. We then headed to South Street where we found a terrific, well priced vintage store near 5th street, a giant souvenir shop called Condom Kingdom, and a bar that had $2.25 pints of Yuengling Lager. (For those of you who don’t know, Yuengling is the oldest brewery in the United States.)
From there we headed “home” for more necessary shut-eye.
Our last day in Philly.
Time for the last and final Cheese steak. Pat’s. Since Four Fathers was not included in our vote, I would have to say that between the two, Geno’s service is better and friendlier. Pat’s steak is better. There I’ve said it.
From lunch we headed to The Mutter Museum which according to them is Disturbingly Informative. This is the medical museum where they have every thing from a wall of skulls, to tumored organs, to the largest colon that ever existed. There is even a case of items that Dr. Mutter himself pulled out of choking victims throats: buttons, safety pins, jewelry, bones, etc. It was amazing. You can even go to their web-site and adopt a skull to help restore and preserve more. There are no pictures allowed because these specimens are very old, but the gift shop has a nice selection of post cards of various items.
Lucky for us, this day was also the beginning of beer week, so we found two craft beer taverns and had some beer in the best drinking city in the country. Grace’s Tavern and Monk’s Belgium Emporium, both with excellent service, delicious small batch craft beers, and amazing food. Also, we learned at the second that both had the same owner.
We headed back to grab out things after saying goodbye to Philly and our hosts sent us off with a very friendly farewell as they prepped the room for the new comers that night.
Overall, Philly is great. Everyone was super friendly, even the homeless people are friendly. The beer… oh the beer… I’ll leave you with a quick list of the beers we tried while traveling…PBR, Guinness, Smithwicks, Alagash White, Rogue on Deck, Yuengling, Love Stout, Multiple Personality Disorder, Summer Pleasure, Dr. Fritz Berliner Weiss, and Lost Abby Delerium. They were all delicious.