Journey 165: The Neighborhoods of Philadelphia

The writers conference concluded today. It was an amazing experience and I’ll be sharing insights from this trip and the impact of the conference in the next few days. Today, my last full day in Philadelphia, Lu Ann and I explored the grand old city further. 

We started with brunch in a neighborhood of Philly called North Liberties. The restaurant, North 3rd, is classified as “creative North American fare served in a dimly lit space with mismatched decor”. That pretty much sums this place up! The dining experience was interesting and the food, superb. I had Jersey frittata. Scrumptious! 

As we walked back toward the conference, watching for a cab to hail, we noted the mix of architecture in the area. New, contemporary apartment buildings reside next to 200+ year old brick Georgian townhouses. Lu Ann explained that Philly is comprised of many diverse neighborhoods that together form this sprawling city with its mix of architecture and variety of cozy restaurants. 

After the last class this afternoon we set off on foot, walking through some of those neighborhoods. We visited The Book Trader which holds a vast collection of gently used books. The old building is the perfect location for this shop with its tall bookshelves crowded with books on every subject. I could have spent hours browsing for treasures. 

Across the street is Christ’s Church. Founded in 1695 as a parish of the Church of England, this brick building was the home church of city fathers such as George Washington, who sat in pew 58, and Ben Franklin, who occupied pew 70. Such a beautiful, sacred place surrounded by well groomed grounds that have more the look of a garden rather than a cemetery. 

I am so fascinated with the historical nature of Philadelphia. Everywhere we walked in the Old City there were reminders of the antiquity of this area. It did not require a stretch of the imagination to see Franklin and Washington strolling down a  cobblestone street or rounding the corner of the church. 

There’s so much more to Philly than history though. Lu Ann drove me by one of the city’s most iconic spots…the stairs Rocky climbs in the movie by the same name. Considered a symbol of determination and perseverance, the steps lead to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Nearby is a larger than life bronze statue of Rocky. Both attractions are a must see for tourists and there was a line of people near the statue waiting to have their pictures snapped with Rocky. 

As we drove to Lu Ann’s house, cruising along the river road, she pointed out the boathouse where a scene from the movie The Sixth Sense was filmed. And she told me of Grace Kelly’s childhood home located nearby. Actor Kevin Bacon is from Philly as well, along with many other notable performers, writers, artists and musicians. 

As with the architecture in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia, there is a diverse culture here too…a mix of the historical and contemporary, past and present heroes, people from all over the globe. I am so glad I visited this city and so grateful to Lu Ann and Phil for their hospitality. Even after long, full days at the conference, Lu Ann always took the time to explore the city further and show me one more thing. I look forward to a return visit to Philadelphia.