Our first few days of vacation in Philadelphia are a great way to start winding down. We find it takes a day or so to deal with not just the jet lag, but with getting your brain into vacation mode. You have to unlearn the habits of checking up on work and lose the feeling that you *need* to get somewhere or do something right away.
My Aunt Sue found us at the airport easily, and our drive out from the airport was educational. From what I could observe, things like Speed limits, lane markers, stop lines, and most other traffic laws were gentle suggestions, as opposed to something most people were actually expected to follow. Most of the guard railings that I saw were badly bent and misshapen, making me think that the driver’s education out here was two tickets to the Disneyland Autopia.
We survived our ride out to their house, and got the tour of their neighborhood from my Uncle John. They live outside the city center, in a 100 year old house near a commuter rail station, with a farmer’s market nearby, and a small local township down the road. The house itself is built from local stone, with 3 stories of tight stairways, and real shutters on the outside windows. You can see right away that it has gone through years of on and off renovations, the current clue was the men going in and out of the cellar, pouring a new floor. It just looked like a chunk of history sitting back from the road.
Our first night, we had a great BBQ with everyone, including my cousin Lauren and her family. Her son Miles, was very excited to meet his older cousin Sasha, and couldn’t stop dragging her back and forth around the house, showing her where had toys hidden, and making sure that the adults didn’t get to see his hidden caches.
The next day we took it easy and walked around the area. We went around the local train station, over to the Farmers Market (and the adjacent shopping center.) The walk was great. The Philly suburbs have a great feel to the architecture and layout. You forget how new the west coast is until, you see how old most of the east coast is. So many of the areas are pre-revolutionary, with little original towns of one or two streets swallowed by the current day suburbs.
We did nothing but wander about. We grabbed some coffee at a local shop, had lunch at a local pub. It was great.
For dinner we went with Sue and John to the Water Works, an amazing restaurant on the water in Philly in the old water works. Great wine, fantastic food. Mostly, it was just good to be out with the family.
Downtown was next.