Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jersey Days, Philly Nights

I've continued my lazy streak now that I'm home for Thanksgiving. Since getting off the election campaign, I've done nothing but watch tv and sleep. I've got a million friends in Boston I haven't seen in ages and all I want to do is watch 'CSI: Miami' and sleep 10 hours. Part of me chides myself for my laziness, the other part drags me back under the covers.

Thanksgiving night I slept 12 hours, so I think I might be caught up now and am ready to be back to my exploring self. Last night I went into the city (meaning Philadelphia for us South Jersey people) to see a show with the folks. We tried to get a table for 45 minutes at Monk's to no avail. In the meantime we tasted a lot of good beers from their 60+ beer menu, including my new favorite 1809 Berliner Style Weiss Beir. Without a dinner, we took in a show at the Walnut--Hairspray--which was incredibly corny and didn't hold a candle to either of the cult classic movies, but still thoroughly enjoyable.

Today we're taking Dad into the city again for his birthday to do a tour of the Philadelphia Brewing Company. Word has it is that he took a tour of a brewery in Atlanta with the sister and loved it, probably more for the free beer than the beer-knowledge though.

I'm glad I've had a chance to give Philly a second chance since childhood. When I was a kid we'd take our yearly trip to walk South Street with mom, an occasional visit to the Franklin Institute and of course the Christmas spectaculcar at the downtown department stores. When I was a teen we'd get cheesesteaks at midnight on all the high holidays. (The biggest act of rebellion for my jewish friends was eating bread and meat and cheese together on Rosh Hashanah.) We'd drive to the art museum and run up the steps like Rocky. Later on I'd go in for a swing dance every once in a while.

But there's a lot more to the city. Yes, cheesesteaks, the Philadelphia Art Museum and the Libery Bells are must-sees (and eats) when you're visiting the city and still won't get old, but it's great to discover the neighborhoods. Shopping on Walnut is a lot better than South Street. Eating at Ludwig's is more of a dinner experience than Pat's & Geno's. Hanging out at Tattooed Mama's with friends or catching a jazz jam at Ortlieb's will beat out the regular diners for a night out. There's a lot of art--the city's buildings are covered with murals (2,800!). There's a lot of community too.

And best of all, there's no attitude. Unlike DC and NYC, you get the feeling that no one is out to impresss anyone. What a great feeling! I probably won't have a chance to live there, but it's nice to visit home and such a great city each holiday.

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