One word to describe the city: Groundbreaking
Cost per person: $58
Kilometers driven: 1438
Hours spent: 28
Attractions/Sights: For a full list click here
Rating: 9 out of 12
Ideal visitor: couples with no children, sports fans, Franklin-philes
Before getting into the meat of this trip, let me give you some context. We chose to do Philadelphia on the same weekend that we moved across town to a new apartment. By the time we were piling in to the car late Saturday night we had already moved all our furniture from the old to the new apartment, painted the new place, and battled to the death with several Ikea heirlooms. Suffice it to say, the drive was a little sketchy.
We rolled into the city of brotherly love several hours later, looking our usual 12in12 best.
Just kidding, we looked terrible. After a quick pit stop for breakfast and a much needed splash of water to the face we were ready to take Philadelphia in all its revolutionary glory.
It took us all of 5 minutes to realize that our day was going to be dominated by one very large and looming personality. Let’s talk about Benjamin Franklin everybody!
The man, the legend, and apparently the founder/architect/author/inventor of everything and anything that Philadelphians (and realistically all global citizens) now enjoy. To say that he was the most consistent and recurring theme of our day would be a massive understatement. More tidbits were added throughout the day: he co-authored the Declaration of Independence; he started the first fire department, hospital, and prison in Pennsylvania; he founded the University of Pennsylvania; he served as the first Post Master General in the US; and he invented the lightening rod- just to name a few accomplishments. If you weren’t already convinced, how about this for a true fact: he is the first person known to have employed a “Pro & Con List” when trying to make a decision. All us type-A’s really owe him our peace of minds. To be honest, all this left us completely suspicious about how exactly he managed to pull all this off…..
Since most of his life’s work took place in and around Philadelphia, it felt like you couldn’t walk more than a few feet before being reminded of this man’s existence through a plaque, store name, or cheesy tourist token. Case in point:
The dude is popular. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that he was a master of stealing thunder not lightning. Like maybe he was at a pub with his buddies and then some do-gooder got a bunch of people together to start Pennsylvania’s first militia. Mr. Sees-an-opportunity jumps on the band wagon, and viola! 300 years later tourists like ourselves are learning that he started the militia himself. Slanderous? Perhaps, but you can’t help but be suspicious.
Speaking of his supposed accomplishments, the most interesting stop of our day was Eastern State Penitentiary. Legendary for many reasons, it was apparently revolutionary in its design and treatment of prisoners. You can see it in various stages over its decades of use and a lot of it is downright creepy.
Beyond the all incompassing love in for Ben, there were other awesome Philly type things to do. For example eat Philly cheese steaks.
Seriously though, that was the only thing we did all day that didn’t involve Benjamin. And I’m not entirely convinced that he wasn’t involved in creating/propagating the Philly cheese steak popularity. Maybe we just missed that special corner with the historic lamp post under which our great forefather Benjamin Franklin first conceived of mixing cheese and beef. You’re welcome world, you’re welcome.