Playing Tourist, Philadelphia

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Blogging is kind of funny, isn’t it? You put your life on the internet but have to figure out the fine line between what you want public and what you want private. Such as being MIA from you blog for over 2 months. Do you talk about it? Explain yourself? Pretend like you’ve been here the whole time? Personally, I don’t like any of those options. I’ll just say, there’s been a lot going on and blogging has been the last thing on my mind.

The combination of a slow work load and a feeble attempt to get my life back on track has me back now and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Last week I found myself trading the Motor City for the Birthplace of America. I had a conference in Philadelphia which gave me the perfect excuse to play tourist for a few days.

Philadelphia is one of those places I never thought of visiting but am so happy I did!

You wander down cobblestone streets, past imposing, historic buildings, immaculate gardens and homes landmarked for belonging to some figure from history who you haven’t heard about since your government class in elementary school.

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After hastily depositing my bags at my hotel I rushed over to Independence Hall to squeeze in a tour, beating the weekend rush, before my conference began.

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Your tour begins in a little room adjacent to Independence Hall where your guide will give you a SparkNote version of American history leading up to the Declaration of Independence.

The guides are so passionate and excited as they tell you the who and the whats of history, the excitement in the room (from history lovers and non-lovers alike) starts mounting to become absolutely tangible.

Finally, they lead you through the doors of the hall and straight into an enormous and ornate entrance way.

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First, the Courtroom where your guide will describe the events that happen here so precisely that you’ll swear you can hear crowds jeering, sticks banging and bells ringing.

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Finally, you’re ushered across the hall and into the Assembly Room or, as the guides so eloquently put it, the most important room in American history.

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Washington’s Sun Chair.

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The guide explained that unlike many state rooms across Europe, this room is very basic as this was not a room to impress, it was a room for ideas.

Everyone around was nodding fervently, snapping pictures and left the tour with big Cheshire Cat grins, feeling very inspired and lucky to be an American.

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You can leave after the tour (which is really only about 45 minutes) or you can take my advice and head across the courtyard to Congress Hall.

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The Philadelphia County Courthouse was the home to Congress for 10 years when Philadelphia was the temporary capital of the United States.

The first floor was the House of Representatives which is arranged now to look as it did when John Adams was inaugurated.

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The Senate is on the second floor.

Let me tell you, those Senators must have had the most incredible calf muscles because those stairs are no joke.

Steep and narrow stairs seems to be a theme in Philadelphia – very rough after a long day but the perfect excuse to not workout as you can consider it leg day.

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If it were me, I’d want to be a Senator over a Representative just based on the rooms. I mean, just look at this:

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There would be worse places to work, I guess.

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When the bell started chiming, I rushed back to the 21st century and over to my conference only to emerge a few hours later, utterly starving.

I skipped out on hotel buffet food and headed over to The Olde Bar in the Bookbinder building which came highly recommended.

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An old fashioned bar with dark wood paneling, dim lighting and a killer old fashioned. Just my kind of place.

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I can’t recommend The Olde Bar enough – if you’re in Philly, you absolutely must check it out and be sure to have an old fashioned for me!


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