Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Falling in Love with Philly

Greetings and Happy Wednesday!  I'm back from our trip to Philadelphia and New Jersey and am starting to get a bit caught up on life.  My head is still spinning a bit as in the past 4 weeks I've been to Miami, Boston, New Jersey (for work), Chicago (for work), Mississippi (for work), Philadelphia, and Lambertville, New Jersey. Whew, that is a lot of traveling!  But I get a month off from traveling so hopefully I'll catch my breath soon!

I wanted to recap our Philadelphia trip while the memories are fresh in my mind. When I found out that my friend Alli would be getting married in a town that is on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Phil and I decided to fly in early and spend some time checking out Philadelphia. I am so glad we made this decision as we had the BEST time in Philadelphia. I had spent about a day there for work 3 years ago and had a positive experience so I thought we would like it but we actually liked it even more than we thought we would. While we have no plans to leave the Midwest, we both left Philly thinking - we could totally live here.

We flew in on Friday morning and after checking into our room at the Westin (which was in a great location) we headed out to grab some lunch. We wanted to get seafood and thanks to Yelp, we found Luke's Lobster, which was minutes away from our hotel.  This place was amazing!  They have lobster, shrimp, and crab rolls.  Phil had the crab roll and I had the lobster roll.  I have never had a lobster roll because I've never encountered a place with gluten free bread, but this place had gluten free bread which was hands down the best gluten free bread I have ever had.  I loved that the lobster salad did not have mayonnaise in it - it let the lobster meat really shine.  If you like lobster or crab and find yourself in Philly, you have to check this place out!

After fueling up, we headed out to explore the city. We covered a lot of ground as according to the step counter ap on my phone, we walked 12 miles that day, 9 of which were miles walked in Philadelphia (we covered 3 miles that morning between walking to the train and around the airport in Minneapolis).

Philadelphia's roads are a grid system so it was extremely easy to navigate. We saw sites such as Elfreth's Alley, which the oldest residential street in the U.S. which dates back to 1736!  It was so charming!

We stood in a long line to see the Liberty Bell.

And while in the viewing area of the Liberty Bell, we took in a gorgeous view of Independence Hall!  Aren't those pastel flowers stunning?  We had seen Independence Hall earlier in the day from a different vantage point but this view topped it!

We scoped out Reading Terminal Market as we were planning to eat lunch there the following day, and then we headed over to China town.

You know you are in China town when there is a window display with roasted ducks!
We ended our walking tour that day in Love Park, which is located in JFK plaza. We took my favorite picture of the trip there!

We had been walking around for 4+ hours at this point and our feet were screaming so we headed back to the hotel room to rest up for a bit before dinner. The concierge recommended an Italian place in the Rittenhouse Square area, which is the area where we were staying so we headed over there around 7.

Now this is where things get interesting!  I was facing the wall and Phil was facing out into the dining area. I heard the host bringing someone up the stairs into our section and all of a sudden Phil's eyes got VERY BIG.  He started mumbling something but I could not figure out what he was saying so I asked, "is someone famous here?" and he aggresively shook his head yes.  I discretely turned around to see Sylvester Stallone at the table behind us!!  It was the most surreal moment ever. I mean, you can't have more of an authentic Philly experience than seeing Rocky in the flesh!  It turns out that Stallone was in town promoting his new Rocky movie.  I so badly wanted to take his photo or ask to take a picture with him but Phil insisted that we let the man eat his meal in peace.  So I obliged.  I'll definitely never forget that experience, though, or the look on Phil's face when he saw him!!! 

After dinner, it was a beautiful night so we walked over to Parc, which is an adorable French bistro where we sat on their patio and had a drink.  We would also highly recommend this place as well as it was very charming and a great place for people watching as it faces Rittenhouse Square.

On Saturday morning we had a lazy morning which was nice as we were exhausted from our early flight and all the walking we did on Friday. We had an early lunch at Reading Terminal Market, which is another must see spot. I didn't take any photos but it's an area that is packed with restaurants and groceries stands where you can get fresh meat, fish, veggies, you name it.  Phil had a cheese steak sandwich and I had some yummy Indian food. After that we started to walk down Ben Franklin Avenue towards the museum area of the city.  It was a really pretty walk and in some ways it reminded me of the Champs Elysees in Paris.

The museum at the end of the road is the Art Museum which features the stairs that Rocky ran up!
We then went to the Barnes Foundation, which is a museum that features an impressive collection of art that was owned by Albert Barnes. The museum had 20+ rooms so it's pretty hard to wrap your mind around the fact that it was all acquired by one man!!  He had countless Renoirs and Cezannes as well as El Grecos, Van Goghs, Picassos, and the list goes on and on.  So much thought is put into how the art was displayed - it was definitely the most thoughtfully laid out art museum I have been to. I highly recommend this museum to others that visit Philly. It took us about 2 hours to get through the museum which is about the right amount of time for me to spend at a museum as I get museum ADD pretty fast.

After that we headed back to our car and made our way to Lambertville, NJ which was about 45 minutes away for Alli's wedding weekend festivities.  I'll share about that next week but suffice it to say that we had an amazing time!!

Have you ever been to Philadelphia?  Have you ever visited a city that you ended up liking way more than you expected? 


Unknown said...

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I'm now SUPER jealous!!!! I am impressed at all that you were able to get to and see! I love that you were able to walk! I was in Philly for a Model UN conference in college but I didn't see much more than our hotel and the bar where they had a party. Years ago I was supposed to visit because I know a guy who lives there but the trip fell through and I never made it up there. I now know I would love to visit at some point!

So glad that it was such a fabulous experience!!!

Marlys said...

Wow, sounds like a perfect excursion! See Sylvester had to be so exciting, and I would have loved to have seen Phil's face when he saw him! Priceless!
Now I am excited to hear all about the wedding in NJ.

Gracie said...

I love Philly, too. That's so hilarious that you saw Sylvester Stallone - I mean, what are the chances? I have a posed picture by his statue at the art museum, but none in the flesh!

Nora said...

What a great trip! I love the photos and the energy in/behind this post. I can tell you really loved it there. D and I have this thing where we fall in love with almost every place we go, most recently Bainbridge Island near Seattle. Before that it was San Deigo. I have a feeling we'll have that same feeling when we go to S. Carolina this winter.

Glad you've got a respite from traveling for the next month. Well deserved!

Stephany said...

Philly sounds so amazing from your eyes, and I love that you basically had dinner with Sylvester Stallone. That's how you can spin this story. ;) Just you and Phil and Mr. Stallone, enjoying a quiet dinner. Hehe.

I've never been to Philadelphia, but I felt the same way when I visited Savannah. I still think of moving there because it felt like it fit me so well.

Jenny said...

You sure have travelled a lot this month but it's all sounded so marvellous! I've never been but I love history so I think I would really like Philly :) Your favourite photo would make a lovely framed gift for Phil too - you guys look great together.

I've loved lots of cities, but I knew I would. The stand out time that my expectations were exceeded was when I went to Crete. Ok, so that's an island and not a city but I had booked a bit of a party destination. Our apartment was up the hill a bit from the main strip and we took in lots of history, culture, went running and took day hikes while other holiday makers slept all day and partied all night. It ended up being one of the best Summer vacations I've ever had.

suki said...

I went to Philly a few years back. Ryan went to college there, so it was cool for him to revisit and show me around. It's changed quite a bit from what he remembers, but it is such a hip and happening place. I'd want to go again!

katielookingforward said...

ROCKY!?! Awesome!!! I love a good lobster roll, but the places that do typical hot dog buns aren't my thing, I could eat it without the bread anytime!

Leigh said...

I've never been to Philly, but it sounds like a neat city to visit and explore! That's pretty cool that you saw Rocky! Did anyone else go up to him for a picture?

Amber said...

That looks like such a fun trip! You guys really made the most of your two days there. That is SO COOL you saw Sylvester Stallone!!! I love the photo of you in Love Park as well, so sweet!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Wow, you fit a lot in! I love that you saw Rocky while you were there! So cool! I have been to Philadelphia, but I stayed with friends who live in the suburbs and I did not really get into the main part of the city at all (I went for the MCM, so we stayed with my friend and then drove to DC from there). I do want to go back and do some exploring and my brother's girlfriend really wanted me to run up the Rocky steps!

Jeanie said...

Wow, talk about jam packed! How exciting to see Stallone! The one and only time I was in Philly I went on an early morning walk with the host of a walking show on PBS and about 30 others and we all ran up the steps of the museum like Rocky! I've always wanted to go to the Barnes Collection. You crammed in a lot -- I love Reading Market but you saw lots of stuff I've put on a "next time" list! Sounds terrific, Lisa!

San said...

What a fun trip! And the highlight was seeing Sylvester Stallone! I am not a fan of his, but I sure would be excited to see him dine at the same restaurant :)

J and A said...

What an awesome trip!! I so need to get my butt there!! I love the Stallone story! So funny and awesome!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

That's so cool that you guys saw Sylvester Stallone!! Haha, awesome!

That LOVE statue thing is in NY too!

Abby said...

Such a fun trip! That picture of you and Phil is absolutely adorable!!

What a beautiful city!!!! Great pictures - glad you had a fun weekend!!

missris said...

We went to Philly for our anniversary last year and we LOVED it. Such a fun city!

A said...

The Sylvester Stallone story! I am dying. And can't wait to tell my BFF Lucy's husband, who is his #1 fan.