Need some brotherly love? Head to Philadelphia. It is one of the easiest road trips from Washington, DC. If you have the time plan on spending an entire weekend exploring. We only had a day and what a great day.
I really enjoyed my time walking around the historic city. We hit the usual spots including Independence Park, the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, the Love Block, Elfreth’s Alley, the Rocky Steps, Benjamin Franklin’s gravesite and Benjamin Franklin’s memorial statue in the Franklin Institute. All were great but very busy. If you don’t want to wait in line to see the Liberty Bell it is view-able from a back and side window.
While in Philly one has to look for the perfect Philadelphia Cheesesteak sandwich. Several people recommended we go to Pat’s and Geno’s for lunch. Both places are considered local icons made famous by several food shows showcasing their Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. I know I am going to get a lot of flack for my opinion, but I was disappointed in both places. I thought Pat’s set up was a bit more fun and lively, but I didn’t think either sandwich was anything I would ever order again. Both were ok, neither lived up to all the hype. I am still on the search for the perfect Philadelphia Cheese Steak. Sorry Pat and Geno lovers.
The highlight of the day was a visit to Eastern State Penitentiary. Maynard had discovered this place and suggested we visit. Before we entered, I was not excited about this old prison and really didn’t understand why we were wasting our time when there were so many other places to see. I was so wrong! Eastern State Penitentiary was awesome! If you like haunted places, if you like out of the ordinary places, if you like abandoned places, if you like incredible photo opportunities you have to go to ESP.
Pay the extra money for the audio tour narrated by Steve Buscemi. The prisoner stories and history of the place were incredible. I suggest to go later in the afternoon, so you can get a bit of shadowed light for photos. I have heard they do evening tours which I could only imagine are spooky. Check their website for hours and events.
Listen I know what you are all thinking because I was skeptical too, but this place is so interesting. Be warned the infirmary area is especially creepy. I am convinced that section is crawling with spirits, and if all that isn’t enough, Al Capone’s cell is part of the main tour.
For all of you who have always wanted to visit an abandoned building but were deterred by the “No Trespassing” sign, Eastern State Penitentiary is the place for you. As for the rest of you who are interested in history or just all around spooky sights, this place has got you covered. The penitentiary was closed down in 1971 and then sat dormant until 1994 when it reopened as a museum. During the time in which it was closed many proposals were made and dismissed. All the while letting nature slowly reclaim the plot of land. Today it is a smorgasbord of sights and hidden treasures, with limitless photo opportunities. I recommend a tripod for some of the more dark and creepy corners.
Logistics: Drive time to Philly from DC is roughly 2 hours and 30 min. and only about 2 hours from NYC, as with all things traffic can play a role in your road trip. As far as parking goes I would recommend parking twice, once near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and a second time Near Eastern State Penitentiary and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Recommendable: Yes. If you have the time, spend more than 1 day discovering the city and surrounding areas.
Love Shadow, Philadelphia.