I have lived nearly 45 years within easy driving distance of the Philadelphia historical section and have never seen it. That was my driving force in planning my 18th anniversary weekend this year. I had it all planned out–seeing Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Seeing the Liberty Bell. Visiting all sorts of historical sights and learning more about them.
Perhaps you’ve heard, though, of our government shutting down, including the national parks, of which many of the historic sites in Philadelphia are a part? Yes, I thought you had.
My plans were in place until early this past week and then BOING! I turned away from them and made new ones. Friday night we drove to South Street. We stayed at the corner of 4th and South, which I would never, EVER do again. IT WAS SO LOUD!!! We’re from the suburbs where there are noise ordinances and if someone breaks it we get to call the cops. And sleep. Philly? Notsomuch.
Saturday morning, after a late rising, we had breakfast at Milk and Honey . YUMMY! We walked up to the historical section of Philadelphia and walked past many things that were closed and some that were open. We chatted with a security guard who told us about the slave quarters that were outlined because he worked where he worked and overheard the speech so often he knew it to share. We spoke with a hammered dulcimer musician, in colonial costume, who was handing out maps with places that were still open circled. Jim bought one of his Christmas CD’s. We went to The Constitutional Center. Learned a lot and had a great time in the air conditioning. For it being early October, Philadelphia was actually quite hot.
We walked to Elfreth’s Alley, which is the oldest continuously-lived-in neighborhood in our country. And this is where it gets cool. There was a truck in the middle of the alley and a carpenter was coming out of #116. He left the door open and I peeked in. I motioned for Jim to peek too. He did. The carpenter saw us and asked “would you want to come inside and see?” HECK YEAH!! So he showed us around. #116 is actually two houses, back to back, that were built by two brothers. The current owner has had it gutted and completely joined together. The interior wall between the houses is gone and there is now only a fireplace in the middle facing each side to show where the wall was. We saw where the slaves would have lived. We saw the upstairs–going both up and down spiral staircases. Swoon!
After our impromptu tour, we did the official tour a few doors down. Nice, but not nearly as neat.
The Franklin Institute was next and, in my humble opinion, WAYYYY overpriced. We wanted to see the Spy Exhibit, so paid an extra fee. The exhibit was interesting and informative, but not worth the amount we paid. The institute itself was a lot more for kids than I remembered. We grabbed a pretzel to tie us until dinner, having skipped lunch.
Our dinner was at the Marrakesh Restaurant. Oh Em Gee. The food was AMAZING. 7 course dinner. Great atmosphere. Pretty decent service. Fun interaction with other people eating there. I could devote a whole post to the food. Suffice it to say, if you ever get a chance to eat there, DO IT. But don’t eat lunch. And wear stretchy pants. And pace yourself, because whoa, when Jim and I left we felt sincerely overstufffed and in some discomfort. And we brought our fruit and pastries (courses 6 and 7) home!
I just want to throw out a hello (and a punch) to the guy next door who decided that he had to follow his drumming muse at 10:30 and 11:30 PM.
Today we just had breakfast out at Sam’s Morning Glory Diner. The biscuits were MAMMOTH and I again brought food home (Bacon!) instead of feeling uncomfortable. We left the city a little after noon.
All in all, one of our best anniversaries. We spent some serious time just being a couple, instead of Mom and Dad. We got to do a little part of Philly, eat some amazing food and experience some new things (parking his truck in a tiny parking garage was sure interesting!) together. And it never, not for one moment, felt like we were “settling”. We’ll just go visit the historical sites another time.