Following our trip to the Kalahari Resort in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, we decided to take a little detour before heading home. Our detour required a south-easterly jaunt to get to our desired destination…
Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love!
We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in the city, as three kids had work at 6:00pm and we had a 5 hour drive to get home, but we wanted to make this stop a priority.
Gracie, our eldest daughter, will be marrying her true love on October 17th. They have decided to be married at the Philadelphia temple of our church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
It was important to Grace that her siblings visit her wedding location prior to the big day. Much of this was for the benefit of Tyler and Braden who struggle with the unexpected and unknown. She knew that visiting prior to her wedding day would alleviate some of the emotional angst connected to her getting married and leaving home.
It was a blessing. Grace was able to share her excitement of her upcoming nuptials with her family while also walking the boys through what they can expect that day. She was so sweet, asking for their input on decisions like the best locations for photos and what flowers would be pretty in her bouquet.
The visit was a blessing for the entire family as we all were strengthened by the spirit felt on those temple grounds.
And Gracie just glowed with anticipation as she imagined what her wedding day would be like.
By the time we left the Philadelphia temple we just had two hours left in the city before we needed to get on the road. Molly, Rusty and Braden were all scheduled to begin work at 6:00 pm, so we did a speed tour of Philadelphia sites that we didn’t visited on our last trip to the city.
Our first stop was the “Rocky steps,” located in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, made famous by the film scene from the movie, Rocky.
Toby opted to do a drive-by and drop us off rather than try to find parking,
while the kids ran the 72 steps that made the site an iconic tourist spot in Philadelphia.
I did not run the steps, but did walk then so as to take in the view of the city from the top,
And capture this memento of their Rocky moment:
A quick stop at the Rocky statue and then we caught our Uber (aka: Toby) on his fourth loop around.
We decided with our remaining time in the city that we would head to Reading Terminal Market, per Gracie’s suggestion.
Here is a little background information on this iconic Philadelphia site:
Reading Terminal Market is an enclosed public market located at 12th and Arch Streets in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It opened originally in 1893 under the elevated train shed of the Reading Railroad Company after the city of Philadelphia advocated to move public markets from the streets into indoor facilities for both safety and sanitary reasons. The Reading Railroad Company owned and operated the market space until 1976 when the company liquidated, leaving the market without its parent company and foot traffic from the train. Presently, it still occupies the ground floor and basement levels of the Reading Terminal’s former train shed which is now part of the Philadelphia Convention Center. Vendor stalls occupy the ground floor with entrances on Filbert Street to the South, Twelfth Street to the West, and Arch Street to the North. The stalls are arranged in a grid pattern with an open area in the center with tables and seating. Over one hundred merchants offer fresh produce, meats, fish, artisan cheese, groceries, ice cream, flowers, grilled cheese, baked goods, crafts, books, clothing, and specialty and ethnic foods.
It was a very cool place with its bustling atmosphere, sights, and smells. Had I not been trying to keep six other people in my sightline, while making sure everyone stayed regulated in this highly chaotic and stimulating environment, I probably would have enjoyed it more,
But if I am being transparent in my recollection of the experience, it was my idea of a living nightmare. (Just keeping it real)
I found everyone’s assessment of the experience fascinating as we took in the energy of the space. The introverts of the family began breathing quickly taking note of the closest emergency exit and desperately seeking out a corner to hole up in, away from the bustling crowds.
My extroverts, however, came alive, energized by the crowds and social atmosphere of the environment.
I found all family members landed firmly in one of two camps. They either LOVED Reading Terminal Market or HATED it.
The one thing we could all agree on was how delicious the food was that was sold there.
We decided to make the experience authentic by eating lunch there. We found the prices to be reasonable and the choices were abundant. Toby split the group in pairs of two and sent them out with money in hand to each buy what they wanted for lunch. The kids loved the freedom of picking their own meal and liked being able to be as daring (or not) as they liked in their food choices. There was something for everyone!
I opted to sit and save a table, having discovered an elusive find in seven free chairs around a reasonably clean table.
From my spot, back against the wall, I was able to observe the “dance” of the market from a place that felt much less overwhelming, and actually enjoyed it. It was fun to “people watch” once I was out of the stream of moving people, and the activity was pleasant when observed from the outside looking in.
We enjoyed a delicious and unique dining experience before jumping back on the turnpike for home. It was the quickest Philadelphia tour ever, but we fit a lot of fun and special family moments in our three-hour morning there!