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Monday, July 31, 2006

Driving Mrs. Daisy

To be considered a "yankee" city, Philadelphia was surprisingly, a very pleasant place. Not that "yankee" cities are awful places to be, but when you're from the South and are used to southern hospitality, you notice the difference in regional mannerisms. Anyway, Philadelphia lived up to it's nickname as the city of "brotherly love." Mom and I had a wonderful, giggle-filled time, and can now mark Philly off as one more city on the list to conquer.

We finally arrived at the hotel at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, after a hilarious gas-related snafu at the rental place and some bum hotel directions. We practically crashed into bed, dreading the 6 a.m. wake up call, which of course, came too soon. I had previously mapped out our day in downtown Philadelphia and packed it full of historical sites and shopping. I totally need to quit my job and become a travel writer or a concierge or something.

Our day started at Independence Hall, standing in the very rooms where Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin and of course, John Hancock, constructed the Declaration of Independence. Throughout the day, we visited the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House. Franklin Court showcased Ben Franklin's stomping grounds, complete with a Book Bindery and print shop for his Aurora Newspaper. Blame it on my journalism background, but I especially enjoyed the working reproduction of a printing press. Mom and I visited Christ Church and sat in the pews where George and Martha Washington, Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin and William Penn worshipped. We ended our afternoon of historical tours at City Hall, where we rode a rickety elevator up to 22nd floor of the tower for an aerial view of Philly.

Our next stop was Geno's Steaks. It's un-American to visit Philadelphia and forego an authentic cheesesteak. We finally found Geno's, among the Italian ghetto, and ordered our sandwiches with provolone. Mom and I devoured them in all of their greasy goodness. I wanted to take a couple of photos before I left, so I asked Geno if I could take his picture in the window by the "This is America--when ordering speak english" and "Management has the right to refuse service" signs. Geno then invited Mom and I inside to take a photo with him standing at the cheesesteak grill. It sounds cheesy (pun intended), but we felt like it was a real privilege.

Later that afternoon, I drug mom to Philadelphia's Chinatown, in search of Sanrio merch. I was parallel parking our rental car in a very tiny space, when I barely tapped the car behind me on the bumper. Of course, I opened my big mouth and let a four-letter expletive fly out, while Mom sat there shocked. This made me laugh out loud when I realized the absurdity of the situation. I threw the car in drive and edged forward in the spot, hoping and praying that no one in the bustling city saw me back into the car. Mom and I got out and lingered at the meter, as if we were paying for our spot, and eyed the back of our bumper and the front bumper of the molested car. We didn't see any scratches or dents, so we sheepishly skittered away from the cars and went on our way. I know, we're going to Hell. Especially me, since I cursed in front of my mother.

Friday morning, we woke up rested and headed out the door for Amish country. Our first stop was Intercourse, PA and our visit there was very satisfying. We stopped at a local canning company and Americana craft and trinket stores, as well as watched to the Amish conduct their daily business. Friday also yielded stops in Bird-in-Hand, PA and Lancaster, PA. We finished the day by shopping at two large outlet malls right outside Lancaster.

Saturday, Mom and I had a beautiful day to explore Valley Forge National Park. We set out on the auto tour for a scenic drive through the park, stopping at the Revolutionary War Memorial
and the Washington Memorial Chapel, featuring the Justice Bell, cast to support women's suffrage.

Saturday afternoon, Mom and I took a little too much advantage of Philadelphia's statewide NO TAX on clothing and shoes mandate. It's a good thing we checked an extra empty suitcase and carry on, because we filled them both up. The King of Prussia Mall is the second largest mall in the United States and they weren't kidding. We spent a total of seven hours, excluding our lunch break, shopping from store-to-store.

Sunday, Mom and I checked out of the hotel and traveled back to downtown Philly, for a stop at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to run up the steps and jump around like the infamous Rocky. We headed over to the Rittenhouse Row shopping district to visit my favorite store, Anthropologie, and ate lunch at Di Bruno Brothers, a fabulous gourmet cafe.

Late afternoon, we boarded the plane to come home. Traveling with Mom is a lot of fun because we like lots of the same things. She warned me that if I made fun of her in my Philly blog post, that she would never travel with me again. I'm going to call her bluff and poke fun just once---I told her that I should title this blog post, "Driving Mrs. Daisy," because Mom freaks out, unnecessarily so, at my driving skills. She even presses the brake pedal in the floorboard of the passenger seat when she feels like I'm not stopping soon enough. It was almost as if I was fifteen again and learning to drive... Gotta love her though!


Blogger emilyb said...

Sounds like SO much fun! I'm glad you and Mrs. Daisy had a good time.

4:17 PM

Blogger jackie said...

Im always afraid Im gonna cuss in front of my mom too (I tend to have a potty mouth when Im at school).
Lancaster is a nice town :)

8:28 PM

Blogger ellen said...

So did you find any Sanrio stuff after the little incident in Chinatown??? :)
Have they remodeled the bldg. that houses the Liberty Bell??? I don't remember that large glass wall facing Independence Hall...
I'm glad you had such a great trip!

9:31 PM

Blogger Mary Anna said...

Ellen, it was the Sanrio jackpot! However, I didn't buy much because the Chococat goods were not as plentiful as if I'd of liked.

And yes, I think the Liberty Bell building was built in 2003.

Good to hear from you!

8:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun! I went to Philly once during Halloween and went on a walking ghost tour fo the city; we visited "haunted" old houses and cemeteries; it was really fun.


9:47 AM

Blogger Kristen said...

Ooooh, I really want to go there now! (You should be a travel writer! Do it!)

11:05 AM

Blogger Sarah said...

How much am I loving the picture of your face on a Minute Man's body?! Ha-larious.

Also, that concierge bit? You would be oh-so good. Do it.

8:14 AM

Blogger Texas Truth said...

Geno's Cheese Steaks is great, isn’t it? I was there in mid-June and Geno Vento was just as pleasant and accommodating to me and my party.

After all the flack and support in the media about the sign, I saw no problems whatsoever.

Some say Geno’s doesn’t have the best cheese streaks, but that is their opinion. I love the place, the neighborhood, the atmosphere and ambiance, and the cheese streaks.

It is good to see others feel the same way.

You have a great blog. Have fun in your travels and life.

1:03 PM

Blogger Texas Truth said...

Opps...I meant "steaks," not "streaks." SORRY

12:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi nice Blog. I feel bad while am living this Big Bear hotel , wow i enjoyed every second there. I dono weather i ll get one like this in future

6:54 AM


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