What better way to spend President’s Day weekend but to leave the house a mess, do absolutely no food shopping and take the bus for a family trip to Philadelphia? Of course my husband’s biggest gripe was, “We’re gonna miss the new Walking Dead episode!” Once he checked and double checked that it would be recorded, he came off the ledge.
Usually, when I think Philadelphia, I automatically picture Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington in that order. Then I remember a time I planned an excursion – when I was about twenty – and my dad said, “What are you going to see in Philadelphia – the Riberty Bell?”
It occurred to me that my family spends a lot of time vacationing in Pennsylvania.
In comparison, it’s cheaper than a stay-cation in New York, where your average pub bill is about sixty bucks for two appetizers and two rounds of parental medication (kids get bar water because if it’s good enough for the dogs, then it’s good enough for midgets).
In Philly, it was twenty-four dollars for two rounds of craft beer, a basket of fries and also two hot chocolates (‘cuz I don’t trust tap water in other states) at McGillins Olde Ale House. On Yelp, the review said the place was not kid friendly but they must’ve been talking about kids who don’t eat real food. Accompanied by parents who drink soda – at a pub. No, it was very kid friendly. And the food was so good we went back the next day to watch Zuki polish off an entire Philly Cheese Steak sandwich by himself. With a bag of chips. And french fries.
He wasn’t as enthusiastic with the pulled pork sandwich at DiNics but I was all over it. Ever since my husband and I saw the place featured on Man vs. Food, we vowed we’d go there to try it. As soon as we got off the bus, we went to Reading Terminal Market and got lucky. The line wasn’t bad, the price was half of what we thought it would be (we were thinking Katz’s prices) and once we got it, we practically inhaled it. No foreplay, no nothing – just straight to business – and my God! It was The Best sandwich I ever ate in – my – entire – life.
If I’m ever on Death Row – and I happen to be in Pennsylvania – DiNic’s pulled pork with provolone and broccoli rabe is my last meal. With a beer, of course. That should buy me an extra six hours unless they have an express line for corrections officers.
We putzed around the streets of Philadelphia for an hour. It was friggin’ cold and the boys were pains-in-the-asses. All they wanted to do was go to the hotel – yet, they had no concept of time, let alone “check in time.” To kill the last hour before check in, we went to the Apple Store on Walnut street. The boys could put their greasy fingerprints on the store’s display iPads all they wanted while my husband and I fantasized about buying a new laptop. Oh, look! It’s only sixteen-hundred dollars…
At least the whole trip was pretty cheap: $197 for four round trip bus tickets and one night at Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia. I booked it through GotoBus but if you’re like my mom and skeptical about the odds of their buses crashing because the bus fare is so cheap, you can go with Megabus, they’re way more expensive. I don’t know how that improves the odds, but I do think it might have something to do with the departure location. On GotoBus, we left from Chinatown NYC and ended up in Chinatown PHL, which of course had Samu asking, “Why are there so many Chinese people around here!”
He’s Turrets Kid.
Finally, the highlight of our trip was running up the “Rocky” stairs, which are actually the stairs leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You’d think with the Insanity workout killing us, it would’ve taken us less than forty-eight seconds to climb them. Even then, Zuki reached the top first and I don’t know what Turrets Kid was doing but luckily I wrapped up his face with my scarf so we couldn’t understand his complaints.