I was invited to go on a girls' trip to Philadelphia a few weekends back, for my friend Kim's birthday. Never having been before, I was very excited to add a new east coast city to my list of those I'd visited. My friend Elaine and I caught the train from Penn Station and it was only an hour and 25 minutes to Philly! Such an easy trip. The beginning of the ride isn't terribly pretty as you're going through industrial New Jersey, but as soon as you get into Pennsylvania it's quite green and you pass right through the cute Philadelphia zoo on the outskirts of town.
Philadelphia is much smaller than I expected - it was only a four minute cab ride from the train station to our hotel right downtown. The city is chock full of gorgeous, historic buildings and we even got to stay in one! Elaine scored a great deal at the Ritz, located in a converted landmark building right across the street from city hall (above). It's inside an old bank with a breathtaking dome lobby, full of marble and giant columns on all four sides. Very, very cool.
Kim had cute welcome bags waiting for us at reception filled with treats for the weekend, which made it even more fun when we checked in! She and her sisters were at the spa when Elaine and I arrived, so we walked over to Rittenhouse Square, a cute area with lots of shops and sidewalk restaurants and spent the afternoon wandering around. The city is very walkable and laid out like a grid, so it's easy to find your way. But Elaine has been to Philly quite a bit and knew the area well, so I didn't even have to pay attention to where we roamed. :)
That evening we went out to dinner at a fantastic Greek restaurant that was BYOB, which is apparently very common in Philadelphia. The girls got to bring along as many of their favorite bottles of wine as they wished (though we'll never reveal how many) and it didn't make the bill crazy expensive! Everyone got different traditional dishes (one brave gal even ordered goat!) and we passed them around family style so it was a fun tasting event. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and sat in the bar for a few hours just chatting the night away.
The next morning we had reservations for brunch at a place a few blocks away, but decided last minute to stay at the hotel restaurant when we saw their breakfast buffet spread. To die for. There were SO MANY delicious things to choose from and we spent a good two hours lingering over a leisurely breakfast.
Our train back to the city didn't leave until 4pm, so we had lots of time on Sunday to stroll. A little more shopping, some sightseeing and of course wrapped up our afternoon with a Philly Cheese-steak (though we learned that when actually IN Philly, you just order a cheese-steak or you sound like a huge nerd).
Bonus snaps of my growing belly taken in our hotel room mirror.
Baby C has already visited one foreign county (¡viva México!) and four states (NY, NJ, PA, TN)!