I loved loved loved Philly! What an awesome city. I’m so glad we visited when we did because the fall colours were incredible! Leaves lined the walkways and a winter chill started to creep in on Monday. The architecture is incredible, both new and old. It was great to see Ian and he really went all out to show us a good time. What an awesome visit. Philly will definitely keep a special place in my heart.
My cousin, Ian, picked us up from the local train station today after catching two trains from NYC to Philadelphia. We had a little bit of confusion transferring between trains once we arrived in Philly thanks to Google Maps, but we made it in the end. I wasn’t sure we would after watching the “safety” advertisements on the TV screens at the Amtrak station in New York. Demonstrations of “How to survive a shooting” played out on the screen as we waited for our gate to be announced. Only in America.
Ian’s pad was awesome. It used to be an old carriage house so it had some serious rustic charm. We hung out for a while before heading into the city for dinner at a funky little pub called Good Dog. It had black and white photos of dogs covering the walls from floor to ceiling. I had a duck pot pie and a beer. After stuffing ourselves silly, Ian took us on a walking tour of Philly that encompassed The Parkway, Love Park, and Rittenhouse. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love. Philly is amazing. The city’s row houses were gorgeous and full of character. We wandered down quaint little cobble stone alley ways lit by fairylight-wrapped trees and vintage lanterns. After one last drink at a trendy little wine bar, we caught the train back to Ian’s place and called it a night.
Philly has amazing wall murals all over the city.
Today’s grand tour covered City Hall, Reading Terminal, China Town, Elfreth’s Alley, Old City, Society Hill, South Street, and Head House. Ian is an awesome host and a sensational guide. He made sure we saw everything we could.
After a full day, we ordered some Southern Soul Food for dinner from the cutest little old lady, Miss Francis. Wow! I had no idea what I’d been missing all my life. Southern food is amazing! We had fried cat fish, fried chicken, crazy rice, candied sweets, and corn bread. Yum! Miss Francis can cook me dinner any day of the week.
Elfreth’s Alley. Yes, I wanted to live here.
An old pub looked like something out of Harry Potter. We had a beer here. How could we resist?
Ian lined up another day of exciting adventures for us. First up were the Magic Gardens on South Street which I really enjoyed. Isaiah Zagar and his wife Julia dedicated themselves to beautifying the area from the late 1960s. Zagar started working on the Magic Gardens in 1994 in the vacant lot near his studio. He began by constructing a massive fence to protect the area from harm and then spent the next fourteen years excavating tunnels and grottos, sculpting multi-layered walls, and tiling and grouting the 3,000 square foot space using folk art statues, bicycle wheels, colourful glass bottles, Zagar’s handmade tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors.
We visited the Italian Market and had lunch at a great authentic Mexican joint. Ian planned on cooking for us and some friends tonight so we stopped by a grocery store to get some goodies before meeting up with Ian’s girlfriend, Alana, and heading back to Ian’s. His friends, Nicole and Conner, came over as well to meet me and Justin, and Ian impressed us all with his excellent cooking. It was a great night and we really enjoyed meeting Ian’s mates.
An amazing deli!
On today’s agenda was West Philly, Penn University, and Philly’s world-famous food trucks. Ian showed us where he used to live while he was studying and gave us a tour of Penn’s campus. Penn is a stunning university with beautiful grand old buildings and a lot of history. We hit up a couple of food trucks for lunch and bought a Philly cheese-steak and a hoagie. Both were delicious and lived up to their reputations. After lunch we drove to the Art Museum and walked along boat house row. Ian also drove us through some extremely affluent neighbourhoods so we could do some mansion spotting. Wow wow wow! The houses were unbelievable! Philly just keeps taking my breath away.
We had a lazy night in with some warm-ups and stand-up comedy. We introduced Ian to Carl Barron and he shared some gems with us as well. It was nice to relax and kick back after a few fun-filled days of exploring. My cuz sure knows how to show some visitors a good time! We will miss Ian and Philadelphia!