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C'est la Z

Philadelphia Freedom

Time for another travel post. Figured that by posting here there's more permanence and search-ability than a Facebook or other post.

So, Devorah and I are spending a few days in Philly. We started coming down here a year or so ago and this is our third trip. It's a nearby getaway from NYC and we've got friends here that we rarely get to see.

Sports fans notwithstanding I'm surprised that Philly doesn't get more love from NYC people looking for relatively nearby travel. It's under 2 hours away, is a very walkable city, and has the things we love, in no particular order - food, culture, history, art, architecture, and neighborhoods.

We did a lot of the mainstream history, rah rah America stuff in our last couple of visits along with such gems as the Barnes Foundation and the Eastern State Penitentiary so this time we've been looking at some less mainstream attractions so I thought I'd share.

On the way in, we stopped at the American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philly. Great museum in a gorgeous 100 year old building. The museum covered the early Swedish/New World history (including, for New Yorkers like me, interesting tie ins with Peter Minuet and Peter Stuyvesant) but had so much more. They had a room on inventor John Ericsson and another on Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind, brought over to the USA by P.T. Barnum and played all over including at Castle Garden (nee Fort/Castle Clinton) in lower Manhattan. Also lots more including some sketches by painter Anders Zorn and a whole bunch of artifacts. There was also a special exhibit on Swedish candy.

The highlight for Devorah was an exhibit on Swedish weaving:

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Today we started off at the Ben Franklin Museum. Pretty cool but nothing unexpected. I recently watched Ken Burn's documentary on Franklin so I was up on his life but it's a nice little museum with some neat artifacts and it was only $5.

Next up was a real gem - the Science History Institute. This free museum has artifacts and the development of science from alchemy through modern day.

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A special exhibit on dyes:


And education in science:

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Of course, Devorah found the knitting:


We were a little "museumed out" by the end so will have to come back but this is a must visit museum!!!

Next up, a pit stop. We ended up at Shane Confectionary. America's oldest continuously running candy store. They had some old-timey candies but they're really a chocolate place, making products from bean to bar so to speak.

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Had a great conversation with the person working there, purchased way too much chocolate and headed off to our next stop - another gem - The Museum for Art in Wood - also another freebie ($5 suggested donation).

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Finally, lunch time. We went to a hand pulled noodle shop that we had visited two years ago. Really tasty and super inexpensive:


Our final stop was the Fabric Workshop Museum. Lots of interesting stuff going on behind the scenes but for tourists like us, think of it as a general art gallery where the medium is fabric. There were a couple of really neat exhibits and again, free ($5 suggested). Another winner.

We then picked up doughnuts for later at the Reading terminal market and wandered back to our AirBnB. On the way, we saw a number of murals:


And also these people holding up a skybridge:


Spent the evening relaxing, having reheated leftovers for dinner from yesterday.

Hope you enjoy some of these less known Philly attractions when you get to town. Tomorrow we're going back to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for their special exhibit on Mary Cassatt and will also probabyl hit the Rodin museum and then we'll figure out Saturday.

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