Being a Yankees fan and living in New York means I’m all to familiar with the terrible rap that the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, has in the minds and hearts of New Yorkers. All the hate and disdain flows readily in New York for all things Philly (see 2009 World Series) and even despite a recent article that Philly is actually out-New Yorking New York these days. Luckily though we (Miss Fancy Boots and I) have one ridiculously awesome friend from Philly, who happens to be an excellent writer and tour guide. Although, her mother would prefer you think she is from King of Prussia. So we recently packed up my love of baseball, MFB’s love for history and anything involving a pool, some clothes and boarded the train (MFB’s first ever Amtrak experience) bound for Philly. We didn’t have much of a specified agenda, but there were a few absolutes:
- Authentic Philly Cheesesteak (with Provolone, not that silly Whiz)
- Phillies game
- Liberty Bell and Independence Hall
- Recreating the Rocky run (except walking it)
- Homemade Italian feast
After lunch our priority was to acquire some poolside drinks, which in Pennsylvania proved much harder than I imagined. I once thought Virginia and North Carolina had strict alcohol laws, especially in comparison to a place like Florida. I found out that the Penn Quakers take the cake. If you want wine or liquor then you have to visit the “Wine and Spirits” store, which is often located near or next to a grocery store, but operated by the state. If beer is what you thirst for then head to the “Beer Distributor” store where you can only buy beer in quantities of 24 or higher. Yep that’s right, case races or nothing. No microbrew six packs to be found here. RIDICULOUS!
We returned to the pool, drinks in hand to wait out the afternoon until our glorious homemade Italian feast that evening. When the hostess happens to come from a serious Italian family, you know the kind with a secret meatball recipe, this is more than just a spaghetti and sauce production. A table set for the Pope appeared with sausages, meatballs, pasta, sauce and of course some good ole vino. It was such the delicious treat my mouth had been longing for since first having a sample of this family’s heavily guarded meatball recipe. After some quality evening hang out time (wine and cheese) it was time to rest up for the big day ahead us of in Philly.
With three of our seven bucket list items complete we arose early Saturday morning ready to face the over 100°F heat that lie in wait. We started off by walking around City Hall then heading down the famed promenade towards the Art Museum. You may remember that boxer dude Rocky running all the way down it and up the long set of stairs to the entrance of the museum. Needless to say, once we arrived at the museum we chose to walk the stairs, not run them for fear of inducing heat stroke. The next stop on our tour was brunch at Marathon, a seemingly nice place and concept for a restaurant.
After brunch, and the completion of one more bucket list item, we were off to visit the historic district. MFB was so stoked to see the Liberty Bell you could have confused her with a small child (level of excitement) or Asian tourist (number of pictures she requested). I have to say though, there isn’t much better in this world than having a loving girlfriend who you can geek out with over history and sports. Speaking of sports, we managed on the way to find me a Phillies Hall of Fame edition Mike Schmidt t-shirt. I had told our hostess that I would only stoop to wearing Phillies gear at the game if it was a Hall of Fame member’s out of respect for the history of the game, not so much the Phillies (again see 2009 World Series). Unfortunately, Independence Hall was undergoing some renovations to the exterior so the view was quite disappointing, but MFB got to totally bask in the moment with the Liberty Bell. We also toured Congress Hall, which holds some awesome annotated first copies of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
With just two things, a Phillies Game and return pool trip, remaining on our list we set off for Citizens Bank Park to see the Philadelphia Phillies take on the San Diego Padres. We arrived a good deal earlier than you would to say a Yankees game, which is when I found out that in Philly they tailgate before baseball games. What a novel idea?! I guess you can do that when you have a ginormous parking lot surrounding your stadium. In New York you hop on the subway, arrive 10 minutes before the first pitch and hit up the beer cart. The scene at the Phillies game reminded me of Saturdays in Blacksburg watching all the Hokie fans takeover every square inch of parking lot with tents, grills, cornhole games, and lots of coolers. It was so nice of the Phillies to give away free iced water on a day with temperatures reaching well over 100°F. They even let you bring in factory sealed drinks (water, gatorade, etc.) so kind of them. After baking in the sun for a few hours and sweating my bodyweight off in the right field upper deck we were able to bask in a glorious Phillies beat-down of the Padres. Then it was time to head off to dinner at Iron Hill Brewery in Phoenixville.
Sunday was purposefully designed to be as low-key as possible. That meant the morning by the pool before packing and heading in to the train station to catch our ride back to New York. There’s something about a peaceful Sunday morning laying by the pool, soaking up the rays, reading the news or magazines that’s incredibly blissful. After quite the delay our train showed and we were aboard and off for the [fairly] quick trip back.
All told it was a wonderful weekend and a truly great experience. Major thanks to our amazing hostess and family! Until next time, Cheers!