Why Philadelphia?

This was the question everyone asked when my Handsome Husband and I found ourselves with a dog-sitter, an open weekend, and cancelled travel plans. We decided to go to Philadelphia and no one could figure out why.

Herewith are all the good reasons.

First, I got a great deal on a suite at a snazzy hotel.  Second, it takes less than two hours to drive there.  Third, I have an old college chum there who we made dinner plans with.

Fourth, Philadelphia happens to be the place where my favorite event in all of U.S. history took place: the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  It always awes me that these men, who had property, families, and careers—in other words, a lot to lose—committed treason in a very public way against the mightiest military power in the world at the time.

In this very room.

6 Assembly Room--Declar

It gives me chills every time I see it.

And here’s the walking stick carried by my favorite person in U.S. history: Thomas Jefferson.  Lying in the place where he sat as he listened to the Continental Congress debate every word of his brilliantly written document.  More chills.

6 Jefferson's walking stick

While this statue is not historic itself, it represents the drama of what those men did.

8 The Signer

We ate at the historic City Tavern where they recreate genuine 18th century recipes.  Let me tell you, those pewter goblets really keep your water cold.  Unfortunately, the also keep your hands cold!

4 City Tavern place setting

Of course, we visited the Liberty Bell (right across the street from Independence Hall).

8 Liberty Bell solo

Fifth, Philadelphia has a lot of other cool stuff to see and do.

The Franklin Institute had an exhibition of artifacts from the Titanic (alas, they wouldn’t let us take photos of them.)  Outside some ice carvers were creating the ultimate in irony: the ship carved out of the material that destroyed it.

1T ice carving

The finished product.

1T carving with portico

As we entered the exhibition, my husband and I each got a ticket with a passenger’s name, travel class, and history on it.  The exhibit recreated rooms and cabins for each class so we could see where we fit in.  In the last room, we found out if our passengers lived or died.  Sadly, both of ours died, my husband’s with his entire family of wife and six children.  They weren’t even supposed to be on the Titanic, but had been transferred when the coal for their smaller ship had been commandeered to power the Titanic’s maiden voyage.  (There was a coal strike in Britain at the time.)  Such tragically bad luck.

We strolled through Logan Square with its drained fountain toward the Philadelphia Art Museum where Rocky made his triumphant training run up the steps.

1 Fountain, art museum

However, we stopped short of Rocky’s goal to visit the Rodin Museum, a beautiful building housing the collection donated to the city by Jules E. Mastbaum, an early fan of Rodin’s sculpture.  Of course, you recognize this fellow who broods at the entrance.

2 The Thinker in snow

The Beaux-Arts building itself is lovely.

2 Rodin museum exterior

It’s the perfect size for me because I like to linger over the artworks and I could absorb all of them before my Handsome Husband got impatient.

2 Rodin Museum interior

I love Rodin’s muscular sculptures.  This is the back view of The Three Shades.  How gorgeous are those bodies?!

2 The Three Shades back

Another stunning back, this time of a woman, the Danaid.

2 Danaid (The Source)

When we got back to our hotel room, it began to snow, dusting the hat and shoulders of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, who stood on the corner outside.

3 Tadeusz Kościuszko

I was surprised to find Tadeusz commemorated in Philadelphia, since I associate his name with the bridge on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in New York.  Turns out he was quite a fellow.  Born in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, he came to America to fight in the American Revolution, ending with the rank of Brigadier General in our army.  After the war, he went back to Poland and led an uprising against the Russians, which, alas, was less successful than our rebellion against England.  He was eventually pardoned by the Tsar and ended up in Switzerland where he died peacefully.

So, have I convinced you that Philadelphia is a very underappreciated travel destination?

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3 responses to “Why Philadelphia?

  1. Thanks again for the great tour! I feel like I was there walking with you! Especially with my iPad and enlarging the photos! Only thing I was missing was the famous Philly cheesesteak sandwich ! Lol. Sounds like a great weekend!

  2. Ellen, I know; I can’t believe we never managed to get a Philly cheesesteak while we were there. We had some great meals though so I’m not complaining.

    The colors in my photos came out a little wonky when I uploaded them; I have a fancy new camera and I’m still figuring out the settings. The pix looked great on MY computer but I think the file sizes got cut down in the upload process somehow. Sorry ’bout that!

  3. I was born in Sewickey pA and my parents in Pittsburgh. Moved to Florida in 1957 and only went to Philly ontime in 1972. Didn’t see much, my cousin was graduating from a prep school. So everything was about him! Lol, never had a real steak sandwich. My husband used to live into Philly some whe he worked for Prudential ins. Co and drove to different places in New Jersey.

    Thanks again and on my iPad the pics looked great!

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