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Old 09-10-2012, 03:30 PM   #31
Mary Jo
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It looks like we won't have much time in Philadelphia once the tour starts, but we have Wednesday evening and all day Thursday to do stuff. These ideas are helping me, too, so thank you everyone. I like the idea of the Franklin Institute and the Titanic exhibit.

I also would like to know if there are interesting buildings, as I like architecture, too. Hopefully my travelling buddy does, too.

In DC we're staying at the Mayflower for the nights after, and checking out on Sunday... just a thought, sayhello.
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:51 PM   #32
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Tobi, et al.

I can't help on the front end of this trip but as far as things to do in DC goes, there is so much that you won't be at a loss. Val & I visit DC probably once a year and in fact went there 3 times this year. We love the history of the place and never get tired of it.

We did a very unique thing in July. On Friday evenings in the summer (not sure when this starts) the Marine Barracks at 8th & I (SE) has a free "evening parade" that is very moving. Here is a link to the Marine Corps page with info on this.

What else to do in DC? It kind of depends on what is included by ABD but some musts include: Arlington Cemetery, all of the Smithsonian buildings (there are probably 10 of them) on the mall, touring the monuments at night, seeing all the various memorials on the mall (the wall is particularly moving), seeing the Capital building, and the National Cathedral. Also think about wandering around some of the neighborhoods like Georgetown and Chinatown as well as taking a boat ride along the Potomac.
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:56 PM   #33
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Forgot to mention the National Archives, where you will see the actual Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Also, the National Gallery of Art on the Mall, which is not a Smithsonian museum, is also a good take if you are into art.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:26 PM   #34
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In DC, get in touch with your Congress person and arrange tickets for the tour of the Capital building. The Library of Congress is a must for architecture as well as the reading room. The Botanic Gardens are a block from the Library of Congress. There is also a little know museum across the street from Union Station. It is the Postal Museum and takes about an hour or so to go through. The monuments at night is a must and the Martin Luther King memorial is better at night. In my opinion a must do restaurant is located in the American Indian Museum on the mall. Very different foods from different Indian Tribes.

The Holocaust Museum is difficult to get into unless you get tickets prior to your visit. Here is the link. http://www.ushmm.org/visit/

I do not know which airport you are leaving from, but if it Reagan National I would stay in a hotel in Crystal City, VA. The subway is right there and it is a lot cheaper than the DC hotels. Most of them have free shuttles to the airport. Crystal City is also full of restaurants from locally owned to chains.

If I think of anything else I will post again.

Last edited by nordkin; 09-10-2012 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:44 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary Jo View Post
It looks like we won't have much time in Philadelphia once the tour starts, but we have Wednesday evening and all day Thursday to do stuff. These ideas are helping me, too, so thank you everyone. I like the idea of the Franklin Institute and the Titanic exhibit.

I also would like to know if there are interesting buildings, as I like architecture, too. Hopefully my travelling buddy does, too.

In DC we're staying at the Mayflower for the nights after, and checking out on Sunday... just a thought, sayhello.
We actually have most of the day on Friday, also. The ABD won't start until late afternoon/early evening with the Welcome Dinner. I'll check out staying at the Mayflower. It certainly would be more convenient. Did you book through their website? I *thought* I had booked a pretty good rate there for 2 nights, but it turned out it was the wrong Renaissance in Washington DC...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OKW Lover View Post
Tobi, et al.

I can't help on the front end of this trip but as far as things to do in DC goes, there is so much that you won't be at a loss. Val & I visit DC probably once a year and in fact went there 3 times this year. We love the history of the place and never get tired of it.

We did a very unique thing in July. On Friday evenings in the summer (not sure when this starts) the Marine Barracks at 8th & I (SE) has a free "evening parade" that is very moving. Here is a link to the Marine Corps page with info on this.

What else to do in DC? It kind of depends on what is included by ABD but some musts include: Arlington Cemetery, all of the Smithsonian buildings (there are probably 10 of them) on the mall, touring the monuments at night, seeing all the various memorials on the mall (the wall is particularly moving), seeing the Capital building, and the National Cathedral. Also think about wandering around some of the neighborhoods like Georgetown and Chinatown as well as taking a boat ride along the Potomac.
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Originally Posted by OKW Lover View Post
Forgot to mention the National Archives, where you will see the actual Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Also, the National Gallery of Art on the Mall, which is not a Smithsonian museum, is also a good take if you are into art.
Oooo, the actual Declaration & Constitution! That sounds very cool. I must check that out. And we're taking (sort of) a boat ride on the Potomac as a part of the ABD (kayaking!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by nordkin View Post
In DC, get in touch with your Congress person and arrange tickets for the tour of the Capital building. The Library of Congress is a must for architecture as well as the reading room. The Botanic Gardens are a block from the Library of Congress. There is also a little know museum across the street from Union Station. It is the Postal Museum and takes about an hour or so to go through. The monuments at night is a must and the Martin Luther King memorial is better at night. In my opinion a must do restaurant is located in the American Indian Museum on the mall. Very different foods from different Indian Tribes.

The Holocaust Museum is difficult to get into unless you get tickets prior to your visit. Here is the link. http://www.ushmm.org/visit/

I do not know which airport you are leaving from, but if it Reagan National I would stay in a hotel in Crystal City, VA. The subway is right there and it is a lot cheaper than the DC hotels. Most of them have free shuttles to the airport. Crystal City is also full of restaurants from locally owned to chains.

If I think of anything else I will post again.
Oh, trying to get tickets for the Capitol sounds like a good idea! I will check into that. And I have heard the monuments are pretty spectacular at night. And that American Indian restaurant sounds intriguing.

I knew you need to get tickets to the Holocaust museum ahead of time (hence why I did not make it when I was in DC for one day!) I checked recently, and they didn't have a way to order tickets for May right now. I sent them a message to see when they might be available, and haven't heard back.

I've never heard of Crystal City. I'll check that out.

Thanks, all! Such wonderful information & suggestions! Keep 'em coming!

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Old 09-10-2012, 08:55 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
We actually have most of the day on Friday, also. The ABD won't start until late afternoon/early evening with the Welcome Dinner. I'll check out staying at the Mayflower. It certainly would be more convenient. Did you book through their website? I *thought* I had booked a pretty good rate there for 2 nights, but it turned out it was the wrong Renaissance in Washington DC...
Good thing to know about Friday. I booked the Mayflower via their website.

Quote:
Oooo, the actual Declaration & Constitution! That sounds very cool. I must check that out. And we're taking (sort of) a boat ride on the Potomac as a part of the ABD (kayaking!).

Thanks, all! Such wonderful information & suggestions! Keep 'em coming!

Sayhello
Ditto
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:29 PM   #37
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Another vote here for the Mutter Museum, Franklin Institute, Longwood Gardens, Adventure Aquarium, & Battleship NJ. We also enjoy the Academy of Natural Science in Philly.
If you do take the ferry to the NJ waterfront area for AA or Battleship (both are very nice) I wouldn't walk beyond there. Camden, though small for a city, is one of the worst cities ever. With a car, it becomes normal suburbs about 5 miles east of the Delaware River but I would not be walking around Camden, day or night. (Really, we wouldn't mind if it floated out to sea!)

Also a vote here for Jamestown for Williamsburg area visitors. We loved it! It's so amazing to see how people lived in those days.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:38 PM   #38
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I cant do anything but agree with ^^^ all of that ^^^

Personally, I LOVE the Academy of Natural Sciences. I was surprised it wasn't mentioned as much already. The art museum also really is a spectacular place to visit. The waterworks area behind it is a beautiful and fun place to wander around down by the river and take in views of the famous boathouse row.

I don't think I saw anyone else mention it yet... but I would look into purchasing a City Pass (http://www.citypass.com/philadelphia) its a great deal if you are planning on doing a lot of that stuff.

Also... if you enjoy a good beer, visiting Yards Brewery is a must. Very cool brewpub.

I will also add a vote for visiting Reading Terminal Market. Keep in mind that the Pennsylvania Dutch section isn't open sun-tuesday so make sure you go there Wed-Sat to get the full experience.

Oh... last but not least... do NOT go to Jim's steaks on South Street! haha I do not like the way they cook their meat (all in a big pile causing it to dry out quite a bit).

As some have mentioned... Valley Forge is also a great option as well as some of the historical things in the Brandywine Valley.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:15 AM   #39
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DC Monuments

If you think you might do the monuments at night (I agree with the poster above, it's so amazing!) one way to cut down on the walking is to do "Bike the Sites". It's a top rate outfit, check them out on line. Once booked, you go to their storefront get geared up and then a guide takes you from site to site on a bikes. It's super easy flat peddling, mostly on big wide walkways away from traffic (once you navigate the block or two to the mall from the shop). I'm an avid biker, but this was easy enough for our young kids to do and probably a lot easier than walking the whole circuit! We had several who hadn't ridden bikes in years in our group, they were fine! (it's like riding a bike)
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:38 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary Jo View Post
It looks like we won't have much time in Philadelphia once the tour starts, but we have Wednesday evening and all day Thursday to do stuff. These ideas are helping me, too, so thank you everyone. I like the idea of the Franklin Institute and the Titanic exhibit.

I also would like to know if there are interesting buildings, as I like architecture, too. Hopefully my travelling buddy does, too.

In DC we're staying at the Mayflower for the nights after, and checking out on Sunday... just a thought, sayhello.
I was reading this thread and wasn't sure if i should post this, until I read your thread. There is an absolutely amazing landmark in Philly called Eastern State Penitentiary. The architect (John Haviland) was incredible. It was a MAXIMUM security prison, so you can only imagine the story. Here is a photo of the prison and a little exert:

Quote:
While the intentions of the founders were good, the failings of the isolation system quickly became clear and the prison faced accusations of inhumane treatment of prisoners. The first investigation into the possibility of questionable practices took place in 1832. In 1842 Charles Dickens visited and said: “The system is rigid, strict and hopeless solitary confinement, and I believe it, in its effects, to be cruel and wrong.” It wasn’t until 1913 that the confinement system was abandoned.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:56 PM   #41
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Also here are some FANTASTIC food options. They may not be touristy, but they are in my opinion some of the best Philly has to offer:

Good Authentic Italian Restaurant:

The Saloon Restaurant

Best Philly Cheesteak (imo, sorry alorac):

Jim's Steaks on South Street

I guess it depends on what time you get to Jims. We are usually there after a night out so it is late and there is a line around the corner. With long lines that pile gets turned over in less then five minutes. But I can see if you are there at a slow time (if there is a slow time) that pile may last a little longer.

Pastries:

Isgro

And as PPs have mentioned, if you are a foodie you HAVE TO check out The Reading Terminal Market.

Have fun!
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May 2009 - Saratoga Springs Resort (Flower and Garden Festival)
October 2009 - Beach Club Villas (MNSSHP, HHN, Food&Wine Festival)
May 2010 - Boardwalk Villas (Flower and Garden Festival)
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Last edited by PAcpl; 09-19-2012 at 10:12 PM. Reason: For Jim's stipulation :-)
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:00 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruadisneyfan2 View Post
Another vote here for the Mutter Museum, Franklin Institute, Longwood Gardens, Adventure Aquarium, & Battleship NJ. We also enjoy the Academy of Natural Science in Philly.
If you do take the ferry to the NJ waterfront area for AA or Battleship (both are very nice) I wouldn't walk beyond there. Camden, though small for a city, is one of the worst cities ever. With a car, it becomes normal suburbs about 5 miles east of the Delaware River but I would not be walking around Camden, day or night. (Really, we wouldn't mind if it floated out to sea!)

Also a vote here for Jamestown for Williamsburg area visitors. We loved it! It's so amazing to see how people lived in those days.
Thanks for the advice about Camden. I can be a little paranoid some times, so it's good to know which areas to avoid and when! I do love Natural Science Museums. Sounds like there's a wealth of museums in Philly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by alorac View Post
I cant do anything but agree with ^^^ all of that ^^^

Personally, I LOVE the Academy of Natural Sciences. I was surprised it wasn't mentioned as much already. The art museum also really is a spectacular place to visit. The waterworks area behind it is a beautiful and fun place to wander around down by the river and take in views of the famous boathouse row.

I don't think I saw anyone else mention it yet... but I would look into purchasing a City Pass (http://www.citypass.com/philadelphia) its a great deal if you are planning on doing a lot of that stuff.

Also... if you enjoy a good beer, visiting Yards Brewery is a must. Very cool brewpub.

I will also add a vote for visiting Reading Terminal Market. Keep in mind that the Pennsylvania Dutch section isn't open sun-tuesday so make sure you go there Wed-Sat to get the full experience.

Oh... last but not least... do NOT go to Jim's steaks on South Street! haha I do not like the way they cook their meat (all in a big pile causing it to dry out quite a bit).

As some have mentioned... Valley Forge is also a great option as well as some of the historical things in the Brandywine Valley.
Oh, that waterworks area sounds like my cup of tea! So many wonderful choices!

And thanks for the info on the City Pass. That sounds like it will come in handy!

I think we have lunch at the Reading Terminal Market, but I have a feeling I'm going to want to spend more time there than that!

And no Jim's steaks. Check!

Sayhello
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:05 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by familygoboston View Post
If you think you might do the monuments at night (I agree with the poster above, it's so amazing!) one way to cut down on the walking is to do "Bike the Sites". It's a top rate outfit, check them out on line. Once booked, you go to their storefront get geared up and then a guide takes you from site to site on a bikes. It's super easy flat peddling, mostly on big wide walkways away from traffic (once you navigate the block or two to the mall from the shop). I'm an avid biker, but this was easy enough for our young kids to do and probably a lot easier than walking the whole circuit! We had several who hadn't ridden bikes in years in our group, they were fine! (it's like riding a bike)
Oh, thanks, fgb, that does sound like a really cool way to do the monuments at night! I will look into that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAcpl View Post
I was reading this thread and wasn't sure if i should post this, until I read your thread. There is an absolutely amazing landmark in Philly called Eastern State Penitentiary. The architect (John Haviland) was incredible. It was a MAXIMUM security prison, so you can only imagine the story. Here is a photo of the prison and a little exert:



Wow, thanks. Sounds fascinating. We used to have an old Penitentiary in Columbus, but they let it go to ruin and eventually tore it down. These places usually do have the best histories!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAcpl View Post
Also here are some FANTASTIC food options. They may not be touristy, but they are in my opinion some of the best Philly has to offer:

Good Authentic Italian Restaurant:

The Saloon Restaurant

Best Philly Cheesteak:

Jim's Steaks on South Street

Pastries:

Isgro

And as PPs have mentioned, if you are a foodie you HAVE TO check out The Reading Terminal Market.

Have fun!
Yumm! But, oh-oh! I've been warned by someone else to not go to Jim's Steaks! I smell a rivalry going on... I love non-touristy restaurants. Thanks!

Sayhello
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:30 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAcpl View Post
I was reading this thread and wasn't sure if i should post this, until I read your thread. There is an absolutely amazing landmark in Philly called Eastern State Penitentiary. The architect (John Haviland) was incredible. It was a MAXIMUM security prison, so you can only imagine the story. Here is a photo of the prison and a little exert:



They also do a scary tour around Halloween. (Sorry OP, I didn't note when your trip will be.) I've never done it since I'd be scared of the dark for another 10 yrs after but I've heard it's good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
Oh, thanks, fgb, that does sound like a really cool way to do the monuments at night! I will look into that!

Wow, thanks. Sounds fascinating. We used to have an old Penitentiary in Columbus, but they let it go to ruin and eventually tore it down. These places usually do have the best histories!

Yumm! But, oh-oh! I've been warned by someone else to not go to Jim's Steaks! I smell a rivalry going on... I love non-touristy restaurants. Thanks!

Sayhello
Oh yes, and it's vicious. Jim's vs. Pat's vs. Geno's. Just pick one and you'll get a good Philly cheesesteak.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:31 AM   #45
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Sayhello, a little time has gone by on this thread, you may have already decided on your itinerary, but I'll add my suggestions.

There is always so much to do, not enough time!

I also highly recommend Longwood Gardens if you have the time. If not, a trip out that way another time maybe combined with some Reading Pa. outlets shopping would be a great time.

A little more obscure but a gem, if you like art, the Brandywine River Museum in Chadd's Ford.
It is so beautiful there! Peaceful, a little slice of heaven away from the bustle of the city.

For DC, we really like the Mayflower, I think you will like it. Our favorite hotel is the Williard Intercontinental. It is perfectly located, beautiful, and very historical. Our favorite place to eat there is Cafe du Parc, they have an amazing brunch buffet. Old Ebbitt Grille is about 2 blocks away and has amazing seafood and delicious reasonably priced food for the city. Historical as well.

The Holocaust Museum is a *must do*. I would put this at the top of the list!

Also, something different, the Bascilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the campus of the Catholic University of America is amazing if you like architecture. Many tourists, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike come here.
There are scores of tiny shrines that represent cultures from all over the world. You can get a guide book and tour/read on your own, or you can go on a guided tour. We now go every time we visit DC.

Have fun planning! I love reading about all your ABD adventures and am excited to hear about your experiences with destinations I'm so familiar with.
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