saturday afternoon in philly: the old city, and the waterfront & washington square districts

Saturday, March 5:  After stuffing ourselves with Philly cheese steaks, we walk off our lunch by making our way to the Betsy Ross House. Betsy Ross of course is known for sewing the first U.S. flag, although that fact is often debated.  Betsy’s family swears to this version of events, which has not actually been discredited.  Though there is scant evidence to support her claim to fame, visitors still descend on her house to see the place where she is known, for a fact, to have produced flags for the government for fifty years.

Betsy Ross House
Betsy Ross House

We don’t go inside the house, but move on to the nation’s oldest residential street, Elfreth’s Alley.  On our way, we pass by the Trenton China Pottery Co.

Trenton China Pottery
Trenton China Pottery

Elfreth’s Alley is a narrow street of around thirty tiny houses built between the 1720s and 1830s mostly for artisans and craftsmen who did business out of their homes.  Most are now private homes.

Elfreth's Alley
Elfreth’s Alley

While walking through the Historic District, we pass some stately buildings, origin and function unknown.  Behind this grand building is a small cemetery.

Imposing structure
Imposing structure
Churchyard in Historic District
Churchyard in Historic District

The Historic District has some beautiful neighborhoods and impressive homes that are apparently ultra-expensive.

Historic District of Philadelphia
Historic District of Philadelphia
Historic District of Philadelphia
Historic District of Philadelphia
home in Phiadelphia's Historic District
home in Phiadelphia’s Historic District
Historic District of Philadelphia
Historic District of Philadelphia

We end up at Penn’s Landing, home to the Independence Seaport Museum and two former U.S. Navy vessels.  We don’t go to the museum or board the ships as we just want to take a peek and head back toward our hotel.

Penn's Landing
Penn’s Landing
Independence Seaport Museum
Independence Seaport Museum
Mike at Penn's Landing
Mike at Penn’s Landing

We’ve been walking through Society Hill, a desirable upscale neighborhood.

Historic District of Philadelphia
Historic District of Philadelphia
Historic District of Philadelphia
Historic District of Philadelphia

We make a stop for hot chocolate at a little coffee shop, to rest our feet before the long walk back to our hotel.

Coffee break
Coffee break
Urban art
Urban art

We walk through the cemetery of Old Pine Street Church.  The congregation was organized as the Third Presbyterian Church in 1768. The original church was a red brick Georgian structure but in 1777-78, the British occupied the church and stripped and burned the contents, including the pews, leaving behind 100 Hessian mercenaries buried in the churchyard.  In 1857, it was rebuilt in the Greek Revival Style and the brick exterior was covered in stucco.  By the mid-1900s, the neighborhood had declined and the church stood in disrepair.  In the 60s and 70s, more renovations were made, and the church played an important role in the revitalization of Society Hill.

Old Pine Street church
Old Pine Street church

Many people who played important roles in U.S. history are buried in the churchyard.  One notable is Jared Ingersoll, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, signer of the Constitution, and Attorney General of Pennsylvania.  The Memorial Garden today contains remains of more modern-day church members.

We still have a long walk back.  Now we’re so tired, we just want to get back to our hotel and put our feet up for a while before dinner.  We do see a couple of interesting things along the way, like this pair of kangaroos.

kangaroos
kangaroos
a stroll through the park
a stroll through the park
Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness
Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness
Harry
Harry
Walnut Street Theatre
Walnut Street Theatre

We make a stop for some craft beers at Strangelove’s Beer Bar.

Mike
Mike

Mike’s phone has lost its charge, and after just a few sips of beers, my phone rings.  Adam is on the line with urgency in his voice: “Is Dad there?”  When Mike answers, he immediately stands up, says, “What’s going on, Adam?” and walks out of the bar.  He’s out on the sidewalk talking to our son for a half hour.  During that time, I’m trying to enjoy my beer but getting increasingly anxious, imagining all kinds of horrible things that I can’t even share here.  Finally, I can’t take it any longer.  I ask the bartender if I can pay the bill but leave our beers on the bar so we can return and finish them momentarily.  I tell her my husband is outside in a conversation with our son, and I need to go find out what it’s about.

I walk out and say, “What the hell?”  By this time, Mike is ready to get off the phone.  He says goodbye and hangs up.  We return to the bar and he tells me about some tough things our son is going through, but luckily he is handling them in a way that is more productive than his usual meltdown.  It takes me a while to calm down, but eventually I do, and we are able to relax and finish our beers.

I feel like the picture below shows either how tired I am from all our walking, or how much I’ve aged since I returned home from China and have had to deal with difficult family issues.

Me looking a little haggard
Me looking a little haggard

We return to the hotel to relax for a bit, and then we go out in search of dinner in the immediate neighborhood.  We end up at Cibo Ristorante Italiano, where we drink some robust red wine and I enjoy Wild Mushroom Bucatini.

I look at my FitBit at the end of the night, and I see we walked 24,550 steps today, about 10.4 miles. It was a great day, but I’m aching all over.  No wonder I’m so exhausted. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “saturday afternoon in philly: the old city, and the waterfront & washington square districts

  1. Hi Cathy! Just been admiring rainbows from our roof. Warm but a little mixed. Sounds like you had a good time. Hope Adam is more sorted by now. I hate that feeling when they’re on the end of a phone and you don’t know what’s happening. Got tired feet too tonight after a lovely walk with friends. Hugs darlin xxx

  2. Lovely photo gallery, Cathy. I hope your son is okay now. It’s always so worrying if one of our youngsters is going through a tough time. He’s lucky to have you and Mike to turn to. I think after walking all those thousands of steps, I would look rather haggard. Great exercise though. 🙂

  3. The Historic District looks very nice – reminds me a bit of Boston. I guess it would be very expensive to live in such a desirable area. And I think you are entitled to be tired after all that walking!

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