A Californians View of Philadelphia

You feel like you're in America in Philadelphia. Everywhere history calls out to you to stop and look at the place where George Washington, Ben Franklin, and other founding fathers performed miracles. Plus, the city is gorgeous with its fountains and ornate City Hall as the centerpiece.One city feature to appreciate, the street name system, makes finding your way around the city easy. Because early Americans couldn't read, they planted chestnut trees on one street, pine trees on another, spruce trees on the next, and so on.

Therefore, the streets are named after trees with the cross streets numbered. Today, the streets are lined with gorgeous, huge trees!.Unlike other big cities we've driven around, such as Los Angeles and Mexico City, Philadelphia's traffic keeps moving. Philly's drivers amazed us with kindness: they stop and wave you through for left turns or stop and let you in line.However, parking is a big problem.

It cost us $22 dollars a night to park at the hotel. Most homeowners have to park on the street along with the tourists. Early Americans did not plan for so many cars.We got to see South Street! I never connected this South Street to the 60s hit song, "Go on down to South Street, where all the hippies meet." Of course, because I was a real Southern California hippy, it never occurred to me that the song referred to a street in Philadelphia.

South Street is the home of the famous Philly cheese steak sandwich. I think over the five days we were there, our son ate five cheese steak sandwiches.The Philadelphia Zoo should be called the Philadelphia Zoo and Gardens. It's a perfect zoo because you can walk through it in a couple of hours. You get to see interesting animals without taking two days to walk around.

The gardens have glorious peonies, which I've never been able to grow in California. Many of the trees were new to me; I wish they would label all the vegetation.When you visit, get the Philadelphia Pass, which comes with a Big Bus pass.

Save money by purchasing your city pass online before you leave home. The Big Bus Company has been operating live-guided, open-top sightseeing tours in London, UK since June 1991. The bus takes you on a tour of the amazing city with stops to see the Philadelphia Zoo, The Academy of Natural Sciences, and a ferry ride across the Delaware River to see The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial. The battleship, our nation's most decorated battleship, is berthed on the Camden Waterfront, across from Penn's Landing and Center City Philadelphia. We never had time to go to Mummers Museum, so we have an excuse to return.

For Philly cheese steak and cheese fries, try Jim's steaks on 4th and South, or Steve's on 7th and South. You have to wait in line at Jim's and walk up narrow, steep stairs with short treads to wait for a table to eat. Less-famous, but just as tasty, Steve's has no lines and a great little diner.

How do they get away with non-accessible rest rooms?.For a fabulous treat, go to the original City Tavern and dine like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson on exotic West Indies pepper pot soup, chestnut fritters, and pecan-crusted, honey-glazed roasted ducking. While you're there, don't forget to buy Chef Walter Staib's City Tavern Cookbook.Forget the "better than Hostess" cupcakes by Tasttee Cakes, even if the Big Bus driver raves about them.

Unlike Southern California and Texas, when you're in Philly, you know you're in the United States of America. If you've never been, go.Copyright 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher.

.Jeanette Fisher, author of Sell Your Home for Top Dollar--FAST! Design Psychology for Redesign and Home Staging, Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars: Using Design Psychology to Increase Real Estate Profits, Joy to the Home and other books, has researched the effects of environment on emotions for over 15 years.

Besides flipping houses, Jeanette teaches college courses on Design Psychology and professional real estate investing seminars. For free Design Psychology reports, visit http://designpsych.com/.

By: Jeanette Joy Fisher

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