Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love

What’s in a name? Philadelphia? The only things that comes to my mind is Philadelphia cream cheese, poverty and lots of crime. But upon further examination I discover that the word Philadelphia combines the Greek words for love (phileo) and brother (adelphos), which effectively makes it the “City of Brotherly Love”. It was named thus in 1682 by its founder, William Penn, who having suffered religious persecution sought to create a city that allowed freedom to worship. 

As for me, when I am driving into this city I don’t see too much to love about it. From the highway it looks like another ginormous metropolis belching out pollution and garbage.  I think that indeed if you love your city you would keep it clean!

There seems to be an inordinate amount of trash on the sides of the freeway in Philadelphia. 

I don’t think this highway has seen a street sweeper in a really long time!

The historic district in downtown Philadelphia is where we are headed. I quickly forget about the trash on the highway when we arrive downtown. It’s beautiful! 

Once we arrive downtown we find it’s easiest to park at the Independence Visitor Center. This is actually a really incredible visitor center, and the Park Service does an amazing job here. After a few minutes of chatting at the information desk we have a plan of action for viewing this town. Unfortunately we can’t get tickets anymore to the Independence Hall, since they are highly sought after and are  issued on a first-come-first-serve basis each morning.  We are too late! 

The first place on our agenda is definitely the US Mint. This is the factory where coins are made, one of three located on the U.S. It almost makes me wonder why they haven’t moved these manufacturing jobs overseas yet. 

There is a free self-guided tour of the factory here. The tour takes you some 40 feet above the factory floor into a hallway with large windows overlooking the factory. The main problem is that you aren’t allowed to take photos. I am very very tempted, but my guess is that they probably monitor this place pretty closely, and I don’t really want to get in trouble here, so I refrain. This photo I snag off the web, which shows a huge roll of nickel that is used for making the coins. 

We add additional entertainment as we view the process of making coins by coming up with a few puns. How about these ones….

These workers are making serious money!

Give me your two cents worth.

They are going to nickel and dime me to death!

You don’t make cents.

A penny for your thoughts!

Are you making coin?

If only I made a quarter of what these workers make!

Not on my dime!

I will be there at 8:00 on the dime.

I coined the phrase.

Needless to say it’s pretty much a bummer that you can’t take pictures in the Mint. It’s a pretty cool place to visit. I guess that’s all I have to say. If you’re in Philly, make sure to stop here! 

I can’t say there’s too many times I have felt ripped off when going to a graveyard, but today is an exception. We go to see Benjamin Franklin’s resting place. You can actually see it very well through the fence, but we end up paying the fees to get into the graveyard, which is just a grave mistake. We could have seen it just as well for free through the fence. Don’t ask me why people are throwing coins on this man’s grave. He’s got no use for them. 

Across the street from Ben’s grave is a Free Quaker Meetinghouse. We venture inside and find a dude who wants to share information about the Quakers. We sit awhile and listen. Interestingly, later on during our East Coast trip, we find out that somewhere back in history there was someone in David’s family who was a Quaker. Maybe that’s why he is so enthralled here. I have to practically drag him away. I am getting so antsy to move on that I am practically quaking in my boots! 

No visit to Philadelphia is complete without a jaunt to the famous Liberty Bell, the iconic symbol of American freedom. This bell apparently originally was in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House. Somewhere along the line it got this big crack in it. 

Being here does seem to ring a bell. There’s a long lineup and a security check to get in to see this beauty. It’s a little tricky trying to line up the troops for a photo. The bell is actually really small! I would have expected it to be much bigger! Admittedly it’s really not all what it is cracked up to be. 

Oh yeah, it really and truly is cracked! 

Independence Hall stands tall and proud in the distance! 

We arrived too late this morning to get tickets to Independence Hall, but no tickets are required to see Congress Hall. We get a guided tour of the home of the US Congress from 1890 to 1900, the timeframe during which Philadelphia was temporarily the capital city of the US. We learn that President Washington and President Adams were both inaugurated in this building. This is all interesting news to me, since I know virtually nothing about American history! I had no idea that Philadelphia was this historically significant! 

These old stairs creak quite a bit! But how crazy is it to think that President Washington walked up and down these stairs many times! 

The tour brings us upstairs to this green room, which is where the Senate convened. 

Look at all my pretties lined up on a bench in Congress Hall! 

Once we are done with the tour of Congress Hall we head off to learn more about Benjamin Franklin. We visit the Benjamin Franklin Museum, which isn’t really that great. Mostly I learn that he was a cheater. I kind of have a fascination with printing presses, though. This is where Benjamin Franklin ran his printing press from. 

After a long day of touring Philadelphia we decide to get some Philly cheesesteaks for dinner. It always pays to ask locals where to eat. We are directed to this amazing Reading Terminal Market. This is a market that opened in 1893! It’s a huge indoor market with all kinds of amazing food vendors and all kinds of amazing things. If you’re in Philadelphia definitely don’t miss this market!!

The first order of business is the Philly cheesesteaks, which are phenomenal! It took a while to get the sandwiches, but definitely worth the wait!

Next up we order ourselves some handmade donuts at Beilers. We end up eating too many at once, which was a mistake, because they are really rich! 

The kids find this Amish booth called Miller’s Twist from which they order up the most incredible handmade soft pretzels. Do NOT miss this place!!!!!

If it’s possible to have death by pretzels then this is the place! Never have I had such an amazing pretzel in my life. 

At last we reluctantly leave the Reading Terminal market, but not until after we buy some scrapple from an Amish meat vendor for tomorrow’s breakfast, which ends up being the best scrapple on planet earth! Our bellies are so full we can hardly move! 

As we return to the parking garage we walk down some city streets. I really don’t know what’s up with some of these Philly pholk. But they sure dress phunny…….

Well, enough of that already. The real reason we came to Philly is here. We are here to visit with relatives whom we rarely have the privilege of seeing. Before you know it we have the kids splashing about in a huge pool. And we are catching up with each other…..

2 thoughts on “Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love

  1. Thanks for the travel tips, Kaija! We’re going to Philadelphia this weekend, so we’ll definitely try out the cheesesteaks and pretzels. I really enjoyed this piece!

    • Thanks! Have so much fun! And definitely do try the pretzels! They were incredible. Oh, and try to go the Eastern State Penitentiary. That place is awesome!

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