The year was 1774, the assemblage the First Continental Congress and the
location Carpenter’s Hall. Delegates had gathered to discuss whether to
vote for a trade embargo on products from England. This was but the
first of many auspicious gatherings to take place in what was to become
known as The City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Boasting numerous oldest, biggest and best — from buildings to art to
music, and certainly, to food — the city is a masterpiece of urban
planning, with good transportation, directions and maps at visitors’
fingertips. Plan on walking, hiking and biking “America’s largest urban
green space — Fairmount Park,” a good location to consider leaving the
RV and driving tow or towed vehicles into the city. Walk the length of
Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in America.
One of the easiest and most-inclusive ways to get to know William Penn’s
city is to leave the driving to the Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Double
Decker Tour; for $30.95 per person, visitors get a narrated ride with
stops at the Betsy Ross House, Independence Visitor’s Center, Rodin
Museum, Penn’s Landing and Waterfront, the Franklin Institute of Science
Museum, the Philadelphia Zoo and another dozen or so noteworthy stops.
And, if you want to treat yourself to Philadelphia at night, consider
climbing aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia Dinner Cruise, which
runs from $60 to $80, depending on season, day of week, etc. This
beautiful sightseeing boat cruises the Delaware River, and features a
delicious buffet including such items as Stuffed Sole Cheasapeake and
Spinach Lasagna; guests dine in elegance at cabaret-style tables. Live
entertainment is provided. The boat offers views of Independence Mall
State Park and Washington Square, among others. Both the bus tour and
boat tour are available through Vacations Made Easy, (866) 461-4258.
If walking is more appealing, Philadelphia beckons; beginning
at the hub of Center City, spokes of historic, educational, entertaining
and old-fashioned fun can be found in all directions. Indeed, those who
know the city well claim it is easy to fall in love with this historic
town as it “wears its heart on its sleeve.” Discover the heritage of
dozens of ethnic groups in this metropolis; it was here that Rocky
Balboa had all Italians cheering as he pranced up the steps of the
Museum of Art. Of course, the Italian roots are nowhere more prominent
than at the Italian Market beginning on 9th and Christian streets, and
just a few blocks beyond, consider lunch mandatory at either Pat’s or
Geno’s; the cheesesteak sandwiches may clog an artery or two, but
they’re worth every bite. Food and music run the gamut in the city, with
tastes and sounds of African American, Irish, German and Italian from
which to choose.
From its founding in 1682 to its current status as one of the
foremost art and convention cities in the country, The City of Brotherly
Love deserves a visit, a long one.
For more information: www.philadelphiatourism.com