East Coast Road Trip: Philadelphia

Boston → Cape Cod → New York → Philadelphia → Virginia Beach → Charlotte → Nashville

As I sit here listening to Philadelphia by Parachute, I am not only brought back to high school, but also the good times we had in actual Philadelphia (disclaimer: the song really has nothing to do with Philadelphia, but it’s a pretty one).

After our rainy days in New York, we were overjoyed to see the sun as we rode the Amtrak from New York to Philadelphia. It was a short ride (only about an hour and a half), but somehow we felt worlds away from NYC when we got off the train in Philly. Not only was the weather so much nicer, but we felt like we could also breathe a little better without the skyscrapers towering over us.

We had heard mixed reviews about Philly, so Matthew and I were excited to make up our own minds about the city during our stay there. We walked from the Amtrak into downtown where our charming hotel, the Alexander Inn, awaited. When we got to the hotel just before sunset, we dropped our stuff and headed out the door to explore.

We walked from downtown to Old City, the Ben Franklin Bridge, and Morgan’s Pier, wandering down multiple historic streets along the way. By 9:00 we were tired, Matthew was hungry, but I was not (too much beer and pizza in New York), so Matthew grabbed some Indian take out and I grabbed an ice cream cone from one of the many eateries near our hotel. We brought it back, curled up in bed, and fell asleep shortly after eating. Waking up the next morning, we were ready to make the most of our day in Philly.

First impressions: Philadelphia was much cleaner than New York. It was also much more our speed with a variety of restaurants on every corner, people walking casually down the sidewalks, and bikers rolling down the bike lanes.

That morning, we rented bikes to ride across the Ben Franklin Bridge. Afterwards, we made our way to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. I have never been too interested in history, but I was actually very intrigued by the tours of these two staples of American history. From there, we walked to the Reading Terminal Market, which was hands down one of the coolest markets I’d ever been to. There, I had the hardest time picking from the countless restaurants with the most delicious looking food. But I landed on some lobster mac and cheese – the best I’ve ever had.

After the Market, we hopped back on our bikes and rode towards the Rocky Steps. Then, we stumbled upon a bike path along the river that never seemed to end. We rode along the river, to Boathouse Row, and beyond before we decided to turn around. We could have rode forever if we had had more time.

We ended our time in Philly the only way we knew how: with a Philly Cheesesteak at Cleavers. While the cheesesteak was tasty, the pizza waffle fries were the star of the show. Maybe we just couldn’t appreciate the cheesesteak as much because we had gone mostly vegetarian at that point? Or maybe because it just wasn’t saucy enough. Either way, apparently we’re not cheesesteak eaters.

After lunch, it was time to pick up our rental car. We were honestly really sad to leave Philadelphia, so we promised we’d be back – particularly to try more of the restaurants and ride along the never-ending bike path.

Next stop: Virginia Beach.

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