Our last day trip from Lancaster was over to Philadelphia. Our first stop on the way in was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Yes, this is the one featured in the Rocky movies and that has the statue of Rocky on the grounds. After a few photos with Rocky we climbed the stairs to the museum entrance. But even after striking the pose with Rocky, I couldn’t get Gary to run the steps and shadow box. The view of downtown Philly from the top of the stairs really is fantastic. We entered the museum and there was a board above the counter showing all of the admission price alternatives. After all of the free admissions in DC, we were somewhat taken aback to see that the entry fee for us would be $16 each. We were discussing it between us and were about to leave as we already had recently seen so many museums and galleries when a young man at the counter called out to us with “it’s free today”. Huh? We walked to the counter and were told that is was International Museum Day and therefore the museum was free for this one day. Now that was some good luck! We enjoyed the museum and it featured several furniture displays, something we had not seen a lot of in DC. Pennsylvania was a furniture making center at one time and among its styles was Shaker design which we always liked and had some in our “sticks and bricks”.
We traveled on in to the center of the city and Independence National Historic Park. The line for the Liberty Bell was way too long, but we were able to see it from an exterior window and snap a picture. All the complimentary tickets for Independence Hall had already been given out, but we were told we could go through the Congressional Wing (where the US House and Senate used to meet in Philadelphia) without a ticket. As we were leaving that area a group was entering Independence Hall right in front of us. We just blended in a bit and lo and behold we got the tour without the tickets. We saw where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and adopted, the same documents we had seen a week earlier in the Archives in DC. We walked through the rest of Independence Park seeing among other things the first central bank building of the United States created by Alexander Hamilton and the City Tavern established in 1773 which was a favorite meeting place of the founding fathers and the First Continental Congress.
Our final spot in Philadelphia was by far our most anticipated one. We ventured to South Philly for our own episode of “cheesesteak wars”. Pat’s and Geno’s are right there together but in the daytime we didn’t get to see them in all their neon glory but we could imagine it. Out first stop was at Geno’s, clearly the biggest promoter of the two with all their huge orange signs. I wanted one with provolone but Gary overruled me as our taste war needed to be based on the original and same cheese at each one – Cheese Whiz. We bought one “wit” (with onions) and whiz at Geno’s and split it between us. We then walked straight over to Pat’s They have an historical marker in front of their store as the true home and origin of the cheesesteak sandwich. We order up another “wit and whiz” and split that one between us as well. And the winner? For us, it was the original and historic Pat’s shown at the right. We felt the meat was seasoned a bit more. There was more whiz. And the outside of the hoagie roll seemed just a bit crunchier.
And on our way back to Lancaster, we had to detour just a bit for a quick stop in Delaware. Why? Well, it was the only state so far up the east coast that we hadn’t yet been in and if didn’t get there this trip, it was unlikely that we would hit it again in our full-time travels. But this is one state Alley cat won’t get too as she was “back at the ranch” in Lancaster.