G-G-G-Going to PHILLY!

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So anyone who follows How I Met Your Mother knows that in season 1, the gang goes to Philly.

So Melanie decided to come visit me, and asked if I’d like to take a road trip over the weekend.  We looked at our options and decided we’d spend a day in Philadelphia, exploring the city and eating cheesesteaks.  So we hopped on the interstate and began our journey.  Here’s a funny little quirk about traffic on the East Coast.  Throughout my life, whenever I’ve run into stopped traffic, it tends to be due to an accident, construction, lane reductions, things on fire in the next lane, etc.  Here things just stop for NO REASON.  Our journey to Philly was no exception, we were caught in crawling traffic for over an hour, and then it just dissolved randomly.  I will never think that’s ok, and I will never get used to it.  Do better, East Coast.  Also, I would like to mention that tolls are the devil.  An $8 toll?  EIGHT DOLLARS?!  To drive on a street?

So we FINALLY got to Philly, and my GPS in its infinite wisdom decided to drop us near the sports complexes in South Philly, where we were greeted by traffic for the Georgetown/Villanova game.  GAH.  So then we got past that mess, and made our way through the south part of the city and up towards the city center where our hotel was.  This is when I saw ANOTHER strange situation: in South Philly people just park right in the middle of the road, right in the median.

That string of parked cars? Yeah they’re in the median/turn lane. Facing different ways too. Totally bonkers.

I had never witnessed this before, so I asked a buddy of mine who grew up in PA and he explained to me that there was an entire TV show dedicated to this phenomenon on A&E: Parking Wars.  It all makes sense now.

So we FINALLY get to the hotel, and find that the parking garages in the area are booked, the streets are full of people, and the neighborhood is basically going crazy.  Why?  Oh, because the Philadelphia Flower Show is in town.

So, we FINALLY find a parking spot (after leaving my poor Camry at what seemed to be a pretty questionable parking garage, where I neglected to even check the price before handing my keys over to a complete stranger), we dropped off our bags at the hotel, and decided that we needed a cheesesteak and we needed it now.

Instead of opting for the famous Pat’s or Geno’s for lunch, we decided to walk to the nearby Reading Terminal Market to choose from the HUGE number of merchants that were selling everything from sandwiches to smoothies to jerky to homemade doughnuts to gyros, you name it, you could find it there.  And we did.


A little crowded

A little crowded

So we elbowed our way through the crowd and made our way to Carmen’s for a well-deserved cheesesteak.  So having done my research, I knew exactly how to order my cheesesteak so that the nice people in Philly would not mock me for my etiquette.  For instance, you don’t say you want a “Philly Cheesesteak” because that is a given.  If you want onions, you say “wit”, for no onions, you say “without.”  If you want cheese, you should specify what kind in an abbreviated manor (for instance, mine was Cheese Whiz…not even sorry…and I ordered it as WIZ WITHOUT.)  Melanie ordered PROV WIT.  Both were outstanding.

The line was impressive but they were quick!

The line was impressive but they were quick!

How they kept track of your order, they'd call out your card when your order is up

How they kept track of your order, they’d call out your card when your order is up

Favorite moment: girls on the bar next to us asked for a fork.  Woman behind the counter was HORRIFIED.

Favorite moment: girls on the bar next to us asked for a fork. Woman behind the counter was HORRIFIED.


So we thoroughly enjoyed our main course, and made our way around the market for more goodies.  Ate the BEST doughnut of my life at Beilers (warm apple fritter, OMG) and bought some homemade candy from the nice Amish booths we found.  Food everywhere, if you’re in the area go spend a whole day there, just maybe don’t pick a Saturday when the flower show is in town.  Oh and if you are looking for a good gift idea for me in the future, this will do just fine:



So we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around downtown, seeing some pretty gorgeous buildings, interesting statues/sculptures, and a lot of annoying skateboarders.


City Hall, kept getting shooed away from the building as they were shooting a movie or TV show there


Purdy church


Brotherly Love


A church? Opera house? Nope, this is Macy’s

I scored a pretty excellent deal at the Loews Hotel so we went back to the room to rest up, get pretty, and head to dinner.  After a lovely dinner of Thai food at Spice 28 (best green beans EVER!) we headed to the 33rd floor of our hotel to have a cocktail and take in the view.  IMG_3196


So either this telescope was broken or neither of us were smart enough to use it

So we were finishing up our drinks, then out of the corner of my eye I see a group walk into the bar…and I gasp.  In walks Maulik Pancholy.  Who, you ask?  Well he plays Jonathan, Jack’s assistant on one of my favorite shows of all time: 30 ROCK!!


So, did I go talk to him?  Did I get a photo of him or with him?  Am I even 100% sure it was him?  Well.


But I’m PRETTY SURE and therefore I’m sticking with it.  He was wearing a tux and was with friends and his mother I think and the last thing I wanted to do was interrupt his evening, so I took a mental picture and left the bar, armed with my awesome story of how I’m pretty sure I think I may have seen a not very well known celebrity.  I have a fabulous life, you know.

UPDATE: After a mild bit of Twitter stalking, I have confirmed that yes indeed, Maulik was attending a gala in the hotel that night, and as I expected, he was there with his mother.  I SAW A CELEBRITY and I’m glad that I wasn’t crazy for thinking it was him.


So the next morning we did the standard iconic Philly historical stuff, including seeing the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the site of Benjamin Franklin’s house, etc.  Overall it was great to see these historically significant places and I’m glad we did it.


I really wanted to lick the Liberty Bell, but did not. Maybe someday.


Independence Hall



So we spent a good part of the day in Philly, then decided we’d had enough and it was time to head back home.  It was a short trip but I’m glad we made it.  I’m  happy to use these next couple months seeing cities on the East Coast, this one is marked off the list.  Thanks to Mel for coming to visit and going on this little adventure with me, see you at Easter!!


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