Our getaway needs at this stage in our lives are not very complicated. A clean bed. A quiet, preferably darkish room where we can make up on lost sleep. Yummy food. Some place(s) to walk around and talk. Philadelphia graciously yielded them all.
So we went to bed on time and slept late. (8:30 was as late as my body would let me go, but it was still lovely.) We ate good food, most notably at Sabrina's Cafe (an absolute mountain of ahhhhmazing stuffed French toast) and The Dandelion (easily the best fish and chips I've had). We walked a lot (with many breaks for the pregnant lady's hard-working feet) and got to see some of Philly's historic sites. I just recently reread David McCullough's biography of John Adams, so seeing bits of the city where Adams walked, lived, argued for independence, presided as first president of the senate, and spent the first part of his presidential term was extra meaningful to me.
One thing I have to mention: I'm well aware that Philadelphia's status as The City of Brotherly Love is often... er... questioned. But in my experience, there can be no question about Philly's baby love. I can't tell you how many strangers commented on my belly--all with apparent kindness, or at least good intentions. It literally started the very minute I stepped out of the parking garage onto the street, with the first panhandler we encountered. As I passed him, he stopped rattling his styrofoam cup and broke into an enormous grin. "Oh, I see! I see!" he called, gesturing to my stomach. It continued about an hour later, with the hostess at the restaurant where we grabbed dinner that first night ("You look so cute!"), and proceeded through the next 40 hours or so with security guards (At one place, "You havin' a boy? Yeah, look at him movin'. I can see him!" At the next place, "You havin' a girl?" followed by, "You're tiny! Yeah, she's all baby."), fellow tourists ("I have seven... grandchildren, that is."), and some random local kids on the street ("Congratulations! HEY.... CONGRATULATIONS!") So we--and our baby--felt very well welcomed.
We took only a few pictures, but, hey, that's better than we did in Williamsburg last year, where we took none.
Self-portrait on a bench in Independence Park:
Our view from the same bench (site of a looooong rest for my tired feet):
The statue is of Commodore John Barry, father of the American Navy. The bell tower of Independence Hall is under renovation, but the building was still open for tours.
A beautiful, gnarly old tree that we enjoyed from our bench:
My view of baby:
Dave's view of baby, mama, and park scenery:
Ummm... oh, yes! The Liberty Bell:
My love enjoying his authentic Philly cheese steak...
And the gorgeously bright mural I got to look at as I ate my cheese steak. Most cheering on a chill, rainy day!
My last note, or perhaps confession: in reality, our cheese steaks were not purely and deeply authentic Philly, because we both chose Provolone rather than Cheez Whiz. About this I can only say that there are some places I just can't go, even for the sake of authenticity. And Cheez Whiz will always be one of those places.