A Weekend in Philadelphia

This is one of those very belated posts of mine. I can’t believe I went to Philadelphia over a year ago. Part of the reason I never got around to talking about visiting this city is that I didn’t do a whole lot. I mainly just wandered around. Now that I’ve started a new, more relaxed traveling philosophy I think it’s time to write a post about my weekend in Philadelphia.

Friday

Technically I was in Philadelphia longer than a weekend. But for three of the days I was sequestered away in UPenn for my linguistics conference. So I’m just putting everything I did into a format that makes sense!

Probably my favorite thing I did, and where I spent time practically every day I was there, was at Reading Terminal Market. The Amish Pretzels are out of this world. If I have one regret it is that I did not eat more of them. The people at the various stands were wonderful. There are a couple options for getting sliced meats and cheeses. I cannot recall which merchant I went to but they were perfectly accommodating about my desire to only buy enough for a lunch. Delicious prosciutto and cheese! The setting is also historical, as the market has been open for over 100 years! There are many other options for food and drinks and it was the highlight of my time in Philadelphia.

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A delicious and varied selection of cheeses at the Reading Terminal Market

The rest of this half-day was spent wandering around near the Market and getting some nice photos of the City Hall. It’s a lot of fun to sit munching on a pretzel surrounded by the confluence of American history and the shiny modern.

Saturday

While wandering Philadelphia I stumbled upon the Masonic Temple. Masonism kind of drifts about in American culture with lots of references and conspiracy theories. I decided to take the tour of the Temple. It was really very pretty and I was shocked to see how many of the US’ founding fathers were Masons. I knew that there were a few, but the fact that pretty much all the early presidents and some of the bigger names even later in our history were Masons was fascinating. I can’t say I agree with their whole “only men” thing, as no one has been able to give me a satisfactory answer as to why that persists. But still, definitely an interesting tour.

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Just one of the beautiful and creative ceilings/architectural moments in the Masonic Temple – pre my better camera skills

Originally I had planned to see the Liberty Bell but I wound up skipping it because I was having so much fun just wandering the city. At some point I would like to go back and see it, but I think it will be awhile. It’s really hard to be proud of my country at the moment.

Instead I wandered around the Schuylkill River and stopped at a random cafe. Towards the evening I just sat in Rittenhouse Square. Can I just say how shockingly safe I felt? I have never, ever, felt safe alone at night in a US city/town/village. I am a petite woman. Until you go somewhere where you don’t have to worry much (for me, Seoul, South Korea) you don’t notice how omnipresent it is. So I immediately noticed when I felt safe in Philadelphia. Many other women have told me similar stories. Anyways, the Square is small but cute and great for people watching. I always think it’s important to have breather moments when visiting for such a short time. I think this moment really helped me remember my weekend in Philadelphia so fondly.

Sunday

As has become a habit for almost every new place I visit, I headed to The Dandelion for some afternoon tea. I should really write a post on the best afternoon tea I’ve had…They seem to have updated their menu since I was there. The setting was absolutely lovely but I can’t say the food or tea was particularly memorable. I seem to recall their scones being dry. However, since their menu seems much more flushed out would not mind giving them another go. This was a short day since I had a flight to catch!

Overall my weekend in Philadelphia was absolutely wonderful and I quickly set my sights on seeing the other popular east coast cities. Now I have officially been to New York and Boston (post coming soon!) but I don’t think I would have been as interested in those cities if not for Philly. I’m always interested in what I should do on my next visit so let me know what I missed!

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