Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Always Sunny

This last weekend we took a bus to Philly. We've been trying to plan more trips to get out of the city, but it's a challenge without our own vehicle. I hadn't heard the best things about Philly in general, but we LOVED it! So much history! It's very walk-able, local vibes, American, and great cheese steaks, of course. Plus the east coast is just beautiful right now. I love when the leaves change. Living in Cali the last few years, I really missed the seasons. Needless to say, Philadelphia has a lot more trees to enjoy than New York City (at least in the BK hood and Times Square anyway).
The whole weekend was gorgeous! Sunny, bright, just warm enough, but definitely jacket-weather. This is the best temperature for boyfriend and I. He's too hot with anything warmer, but I can handle this with a scarf and gloves (without complaining too much). We got an Airbnb right in the heart of the city, North Philly. It was so easy to walk to/from. The streets are so adorable. Row houses galore and lots of cool brick architecture. I love a bright blue door and some flower boxes. What more can you ask for in a home, really?
Look at that handsome bus rider xo

We only rode the bus a couple times, but we were super impressed with hot fast these guys are! I mean, wow. After living in SF, now NYC...I've had my share of bus travel. In Philly, they do not mess around. Oh, your card's not ready to swipe? Better hold on. They don't even pull over. You walk in the street to jump on. It's so efficient! I wish New York would catch on :)

The first thing we did was head over to Independence Hall. I already love history and America. When they come together, I get super excited. This building, right here, is where our founding fathers decided "let's do this". How awesome. I was loving all the fall leaves and American-ized classic buildings. I mean, check out this door lock  ->
We were ready for lunch after the bus ride all the way from Manhattan (and the train ride before that...joys of public transportation), then walking around, so we made Sonny's a destination. I read it was the best cheese steak and it TOTALLY lived up to the hype. Soooo good! The best part was the quality of the meat - no extra fat, tender and juicy, really perfect.

The staff was fun too and the restaurant had a cool, basic vibe while still being branded. We ended up getting seats right inside by the counter. Don't let the line fool you, it moves quick! And, it's definitely worth it.

Nothing bonds two humans like cheese steaks.

We walked around and explored for a while, then found the City Tavern. The building is newer, because the original was torn down. But, they restored it, along with the entire interior. The staff is in costume! The furniture and glassware is all period-accurate. It was so fun to sit and have a drink just like they would have in our revolutionary days. Imagine these guys sitting down to a wassail and discussing government? Boyfriend ordered a beer set, each based on an original recipe from the time. I ordered a special liquor/wine drink that was popular. It tasted like plum wine, but a bit drier. I bet the City Tavern is really cool at night with all the old school lighting and family style dining.

Just up the main drag, you'll find the Reading Terminal Market. It seems like every city has one of these. SF has the Ferry Building, NYC has Chelsea Market. But, Reading was my favorite. It's so full of delicious foods! They don't mess around with too much arts and crafts (just a few); it's all about food here. Boyfriend read about an ice cream shop that uses a ton of butter fat and creaminess. We ran right into it: Bassett's. This place was established in 1861! And, I don't think they've changed their formula. It was so yum. So fatty that it took a minute to get used to the texture, but deliciously flavored and really rich. We only had one complaint - they don't allow you to order 1 scoop! It's 2 or 3 scoops, or nothing. And this is 1 scoop kind of ice cream.
But, nothing can be perfect and we ate it all the same. I know, I might be thinking, well why didn't you share? We want to try too many flavors to share! I got Butterscotch Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip, and English Toffee Crunch. We went twice (again the next day).

Ok, here's where I'm not going to lie. I loved Philly, but this sign is a joke. Let me be the first to say - come on, Phils, you better fix this. Make it bigger! What is going on here? This sign is famous! Talk about underwhelming. I mean, you can't even climb on it. I think the Amsterdam sign and the bean in Chicago are outshining this poor little guy. We still got a picture. It definitely wasn't a highlight. The city has flags from other countries running along the main street as well. We had a lot of fun guessing and discovering which country belonged to which flag. Boyfriend is a bit of an internationalist (if that's a thing), so he knew most of them.

We walked around so much, after this that we ended up just laying in the grass by the bus stop. The trees were so beautiful. We were hoping a leaf would fall so we could watch it on it's way down, but boyfriend ended up thinking the bus was coming and got up too soon.

I was only slightly obsessed with the patterns on what I can only assume were some kind of birch trees. Amazing! The bark was gorgeous. That boyfriend of mine is pretty good at putting up with me. Still, after the 30th tree photo, he started giving me bad looks ;)

That's Rodin's Thinker surrounded by changing trees. It was awesome.

We passed Chinatown and a few really cool sculptures. This city is not without art. Between the historic touches and famous never-ending murals, there's always something to see.

The whole reason for us going this particular weekend was to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary Haunted House. It's known as being one of the best in the country. I've definitely been to my share of Haunted Houses, and this one was really good! The best part,by far, was the 3D experience. You put on 3D glasses. Super trippy and really scary when stuff pops out at you. If you make it there: pick a time around 8:30 (it was only an hour or so wait then), wear a glow necklace (they hardly mess with you and it's a lot more fun), and don't forget to pop in the historical museum area for a partial info/tour. They put a cross of fake blood on your face. We have yet to discover a reason behind it besides unnecessarily getting you dirty. But, maybe we're just old. So, after the prison, we headed over to a cool prohibition type bar called the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. (catchy, huh? haha) and found a bathroom to wash it off!
They had quality drinks. One might call them expensive, but coming from NYC they were pretty standard. I ordered this Ages Over 8s and loved it. Strong at first (and all liquor), but it went down smooth. I love moments like this when boyfriend and I are just out and about. We get some time to sit face-to-face and talk about all the important stuff. There's been some major changes going on in both our lives recently, and more coming up soon. We get home at the end of the day and it's just "oh this and this happened at work, I picked up broccoli, so and so is staying with us on whatever date, should we watch that new Adam Sandler movie?" It's easy to get in a routine. Eventually you realize your not really sure how your other half feels about something that happened. *Edit: Actually, I'm pretty sure boyfriend always knows how I feel. Not only do I speak in emotion, but you can tell how I feel based on my face. It's not a great quality of mine and you can add it to the list as to why I'll be even more wrinkly than a usual person. 

We had a great conversation. I'm so proud of him and excited about our life in New York. It's not an easy place to live. Anyone who says it is...has a lot of money. We had a drink, then some dinner at a local diner that I fell in love with. They make french toast just like my momma: supper thin and eggy, just the way I like it. I will be returning there next time I'm in Philadelphia -for sure!

The next morning we walked towards the art museum, got breakfast at a local place near the water and checked out some geese. The area in this photo is a row of boat houses that are pretty famous. Some of them had nice lake house architecture, but otherwise I didn't quite understand the appeal. The art museum, however, was ah-mazing! I mean, wow. One of the best in the country in my opinion. I was thoroughly disappointed that a Turner was missing on a touring exhibition that I would've loved to see.

But, this Cezanne makes me cry. Yes, literally...just freaking weep. The photo online looks oddly primal, but the real painting is so full of energy. He is an absolute master at depth, tones, and composition. You can let your eyes wander the canvas for as long as the day will let you and you'll never be bored. The delicate wrist of the woman on the left, the sun-filled calves of the woman on the grass, and the careful warm tones of the trees starkly contrasted against a cool blue sky - it's unreal. I can't imagine having that touch on a canvas. I'm so glad I get to appreciate it. I'll be returning to Philly just for the art, I can promise you that. And of course, we took the obligatory Rocky stairs photo. The girl who took it for us did a pretty amazing job! So, thanks girl at the museum <3
hehehe I love Rocky!

All the while, this little pup was hanging out with his new best friends Elliot and Payton.

You know, it's like he doesn't even miss me.

Until next time,

xo E