Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fun In Philly

Philly offered up a plethora of activities to keep us busy and on our toes, especially those fun random events we would stumble upon that made our stay here even more memorable.

We took a weekend with our feet to the pavement and Ethel in tow, ready to indulge in some iconic American history; from the roots of our countries rich founding to modern day cinema. Speaking of cinema, one of our first stops, the Philadelphia Museum of Art to climb those steps made famous by Rocky III; taking in the vast Philly skyline and even admiring Mr. Balboa cast in bronze. Now this wouldn't be my last visit to these steps, I took it upon myself to recreate Rocky’s famous run and although I didn't have the chants from the pedestrians or the an entourage of children running after me, I managed with “Eye Of The Tiger” blaring in my ears and of course some victorious air jabs once the sprint to the top was complete! A sense of accomplishment, a dire need to pee and a realization I still need to head back to the apartment, almost burst my bubble, but I made it heat, humidity and all, and ever so glad I did!

Next stop, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell because it’s a must, you can’t come all the way to Philly and not witness the building where the major fundamentals of our country were adopted; the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution (which we actually saw both of them while in DC), it would be a crime against everything American! Standing outside the building, knowing you’re walking the same hallowed ground of Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin is surreal, in fact all of Philly drips with the legend of these men, of America in the making. And let’s not just focus on the men, around the corner from Independence Hall is the home of Betsy Ross, female icon of America, home where that first true symbol of everything American was sewn.  Then you take one more turn and you’re standing on the street of the oldest residential neighborhood in the country, Elfreth’s Alley, and people still live there, in these charming homes, intact and while still representing their history, completely livable by today’s standards. 

So what do you do when you take a city rich in history and mix it with art? Well, you enjoy the Mural Mile, which is completely misleading since it is technically 2.5 miles and that still doesn't cover all of the murals this city offers, but none-the-less, it’s amazing. Ethel and I had the pleasure of taking in seventeen of them in one day, walking the loop, stopping for lemonade at a local stand, a stroll through Washington Square and of course me taking lots of pictures. Throughout this loop not only do you revel in the art on historic buildings, but you develop a feel of the real Philadelphia, walking the streets of the locals, from the less crowded to the business hustle, marveling at all the diversity and little details that make this city so great! Not to mention you chance upon hidden gems I might not have known about had it not been for the mural tour, a detour to the Magic Garden. I know, not that kind of magic garden, although that would've added to the joy this marvel is to the eyes!

The Magic Garden is a mosaic, a mosaic of a building, a yard and the surrounding buildings that took fourteen years to create by Isaiah Zagar and is absolutely phenomenal. One could spend hours here, sipping wine and letting all that Zagar has created soak in; I am visualizing string lighting, jazz in the background, appetizers and evening gatherings in this place for reception parties, corporate meet and greets and of course a place for fun and eclectic gathering of friends. This is a place I would love to spend more time at, soaking it in. It literally has to be one of the most extensive pieces of art I have ever seen; seriously, each step you take, you are stepping on art: the ground, the steps the floors and the walls that surround you, it encompasses you!

Then there is Rittenhouse Square, right outside our door offered up so much more than your regular park and nothing we had planned for, pleasant surprises that were thrown our way; from encountering park entertainers, yoga in the park and people practicing high hire acts. Then there was the day that I had taken Ethel over for an afternoon walk and ran into the beginning of Bloomsday, and we had the pleasure of sitting through over an hour of long readings from James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” it really and truly was all of these great little finds and treasures that made our trip to Philly the crème de le crème! 

Video from just one day of fun at Rittenhouse

If you haven’t picked up on it already, I loved this city and everything it had to offer. It was the perfect blend of hipster meets yuppie that appealed to me, there was visual stimulation along every corner and the people were cool! People knew us by the time we left and made a point to say hi and make conversation, I felt like within a month we were part of a community. Honestly this is a place I could seriously see us putting down roots and staying, it was that appealing, in fact, so far it’s my favorite city! I know crazy, right? We didn't even have Philly on the list originally, it just worked out that way, crazy how fate works and I am so delighted it did!

But alas, we had to leave and head onto our next destination, Toronto, which is where we are now, so stay tuned, I have more fun coming your way! Not to mention, Boston for August, Asheville in September and I just booked Saint Augustine for October! Just in case any of you get a hankering to come and visit!

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