Summer started with a vacation/move. Have you ever incorporated a vacation into moving someone? There is much more mental work involved, especially when housing hasn’t been pre-arranged. Where Traveler stood financially, and the cost of living in a big city, renting a room was the road to take, and that is something we didn’t want to do sight unseen.
I straddled the fence as whether I would go on this journey too, or stay home – which would have left the trip to just a moving trip. In the end The Man and I joined Will and Traveler.
Two cars headed to the City of Brotherly Love. Traveler has a GPS so for part of the trip, the magic little box guided us through the unknown. I came to a conclusion about GPS’s – I can see where they could be helpful, but for me, I think I will always want a traditional map/atlas handy. I like having a better idea of where I am heading as opposed to waiting for the voice to tell me where to go next. And the word “recalculating,” well, that became a joke.
We divided the 16 hour drive between two days, arriving in Philly on Saturday night about 7:30. As we drove North on I-95 and entered the city, my breath was taken away. Not in a good way. My first impression was not a great one. It matched what I had heard many say – a dirty city. And this is where we are leaving Traveler?? Thank goodness we did not have to leave our impression to this initial view.
With a busy weekend, the hotels of choice were booked so we headed across the river to New Jersey, where after many twist and turns the GPS finally got us to our hotel.
On Sunday, Will and Traveler set out on the task of viewing rooms for rent and talking to potential landlords. The Man and I ventured to attempt some site-seeing. They took the GPS, The Man and I map and the directions we had googled to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.
Funny how quickly we arrived across the river and in downtown Philly compared to the reverse drive the night before using GPS. But then again, we were instantly lost – seems the name of the road google gave us and how the street was labeled were two different things. Then we just drove around for awhile finally finding a road listed on direction to another site – Edgar Allen Poe’s home. We found it! But as we passed it and looked for parking, I knew I was out of my element – I was not getting out there and walking anywhere!
So we got the lay of the land in that area, realized the roads were laid out grid style, many one way streets – even numbers ran south, odd numbers north, etc. We stopped at a rite aid and purchased a city map and cute pop up tourist map. Finally some bearing. We stopped at diner around the corner and the lunch wait was rather long, they gave us directions to a diner 4 or 5 blocks away – safe to walk to, and the two of us were off.
The Man was nervous, I was amazed (ok a little nervous when I saw a pair of rather new black tennis shoes hanging from a power line, what that I heard that meant?). The old charm and architecture with the run down, unkempt, new offered much to see.
...and around the corner
We arrived at the diner – Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat. We added our name and sat outside taking in the block and the customers. It was a great mix of college students to 30 something yuppies.
It was a great brunch! The Man with his French Toast, me with my Goat Cheese Tart topped with Caramelized onions and a salad.
Why do boys quit smiling for cameras when they hit 13 or 14? As soon as the camera is down, life is good and smiles return.
Tummies full, we headed back to the parked van and trusty new maps and we find our way FINALLY, to the Magic Gardens.
With The Man more interested in art and photography recently, a building covered in mosaics, inside and out was an interesting stop.
The artist is Isaiah Zagar. As we drove up and down streets, looking for parking (parking is awful ), we saw many walls covered with colorful mosaics. The actual gallery was layer up layer of mosaic work. To quote the website “ Located at the site of Zagar's largest public mosaic installation, the Magic Gardens includes a fully mosaiced indoor gallery and a massive outdoor labyrinthine mosaic sculpture.”
After Zagar’s gallery we set out to find the site for a city Mural Tour, but the address and what we found there were not a spot for a tour to begin…so that was saved for another day. Instead we headed to catch up with Will and Traveler, check out one more room and then what turned out to be a late dinner. Oh we ate late on this trip.
It was a busy, trying, educational day, but the great thing about this day, was having The Man as navigator. He took charge of the map and guided us through our strange new surroundings and did a great job!