Ever since the first time I saw the movie Philadelphia I have longed to go there. Not to downplay the significant historic value in things like The Liberty Bell or Betsy Ross’s house… but all I ever wanted to see was those beautiful Philly neighborhoods… the culture, the buildings, the people hanging out on porches of tall houses crammed together on skinny streets… all of that – the unique character of Philadelphia… that’s what I’ve always loved. Via my tv screen of course.
And while I was thrilled about going, I made one mistake. I didn’t allot enough time. I figured this would be the opposite of D.C. – way less sights to see. The only thing on my must-see list besides the hoods was the LOVE statue and those famous steps Rocky ran up. A few hours tops right? Uh, no – a few hours could have easily been spent JUST at the City Center area, or JUST driving around neighborhoods, or JUST at the museum. I totally underestimated this day… I had no idea Philly was going to steal my heart.
When we woke up in our hotel room just a block from the University of Penn, and looked out our 11th story view, I just about died inside. I could tell just from the skyline that this was going to be better than all I’d imagined.
We were starving so we first hit up none other than the Philly Diner. Holy moly. This dive was everything we could have wanted. Old school character with all day breakfast. YUMMMMMMMMM.Y. We hopped up onto the barstools at the counter and got our grub on. I had my usual yummy scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and got stuffed French toast for the first time in my life — and I may never again, I wouldn’t want to be disappointed. Delicious doesn’t even come close. KT had her usual chicken and fries; the littles had their pancakes. Oh and Jacey of course had her usual extra sides (plural) of bacon. We had some great conversation with our waitress and got to hear the manager’s life story. Great experience. Since none of us like Philly cheesesteaks at _all_, this was the perfect alternative – we couldn’t have found a more perfect spot for Philly dining. 🙂
We took a short stroll on the Penn campus and then jumped in the car.
Then we got lost.
Which was, of course, the best part of the day.
The first few blocks that we were actually headed in the right direction we entered downtown.
Not just any downtown. THE most beautiful downtown I’ve ever seen in my LIFE. As the residential streets began to fade and the gigantic, gorgeous buildings grew closer and closer filling the skies, my little city girl brain began to blow. Tears welled up in my eyes… I can’t even explain it. I’d never seen anything like it in all my life. Imagine someone who loves art seeing an original Picasso firsthand, or a sports car enthusiast opening the door and taking a seat in a bright yellow Lamborghini. That’s me with downtowns. They move me. But none ever before like that of driving into downtown Philly.
Neighborhoods immediately surrounding downtowns are also a huge love of mine, and Philly’s did not disappoint. Man, it was better than I imagined, more beautiful than even in the movies. Some houses were covered with overwhelming character, while others were ghetto fabulous with cracked details and beautiful worn colors. And there was art. Art up , down, left, right.. Art everywhere. Huge fantastic murals painted on the sides of buildings all over the place. Statues coming out of walls, bold colored buildings – every block had something visually special to take in. One thing is certain, Philly is not lacking in character and culture. This is precisely why it’s so absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful to me.
We FINALLY found the love statue and the purple fountain and took our pics. The massive, ornate buildings surrounding the park make you feel like you’re in a different country. Of course the fountain was the girls’ favorite. They could have played in that all day… but ding dong me didn’t allot enough time and we had to get the rental car to Jersey before we got charged for another day. By the time we did our sight seeing, souvenir shopping, and fountain splashing, we were cutting it close and had to jet.
But not before one more stop.
I could give up the other things on my “if we have time” list, like the bell and Betsy, but there was no way on God’s green earth we were going to be in Philadelphia and not run up those Rocky steps. We had no time to even think about finding parking, so we did what we had to do. We pulled right up to the front of the museum, hit the hazard lights, jumped out like crazy people and ran our tails off! We had scoped the place out ahead of time and carried out our plan to the T. I snapped quick pics of the girls running up the steps just ahead of me, then quickly snapped their individual Rocky shots and back down we ran. Like crazy people. Like crazy Oklahomans. In Philadelphia.
So no, we didn’t see the Liberty Bell… but we did see the Liberty Bar.
And we didn’t have time to make it to Betsy Ross’ house… but we did cross the Betsy Ross bridge.
But most importantly, we found “Kelliann’s Bar & Grill”. Because how many people do you know named Kelliann??? Exactly. Pretty special moment. Pretty special girl. And we never would have found that dive, or all of the other amazingly beautiful picturesque homes and buildings – and everything that was EXACTLY all that I wanted to see… had we not gotten lost.
My recommendation if you ever make it to Philly?
Allot way more than a few hours.
Consider the stuffed French toast over the cheesesteak.
Wear flip flops & shorts so you can splash around in the purple water.
Pay proper respect to Rocky.
And by all means… get lost.
The littles = splashing in purple water
KT = The precious corner bar ]that bears her name. Nevermind that it’s spelled wrong.
Me = That heart stopping moment driving into downtown. And seeing all kinds of people hanging out on porches of tall houses crammed together on skinny streets.
Dumb planning fail. Philly deserves a full day, and thensome.
Scripture of the Day:
They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. ~ Jeremiah 8:11
Song of the Day:
Rocky Anthem Song. Duh.
Soooooo, the littles have never seen Rocky. What on earth??? Must fix that.