Hoo-hoo, I am back in urbanville and I must say my heart soared at the sound of buses, motorcycles, honking horns, and people yelling at each other from their cars; the sight of sullen, pouting hipsters  slouching dejectedly down the sidewalk nursing their fresh tattoo wounds;  and the prospect of artisinal bread, strong coffee, and, since this IS Philadelphia, a visit to the Barnes this afternoon.

Call me shallow but just as I love the silence and solitude of “the country,” I also love the crazy energy of cities. And good coffee and little shops in which to browse and a world-class museum or two or three. Somehow sight unseen I managed to book a hotel in exactly the part of town I would have chosen, The Alexander Inn, on S. 12th and Spruce.

The minute I checked in yesterday, I started out on foot for the Mutter Museum, which features medical anomalies, deformities,and pathologies of the human body including, nicely laid out in a glass case, the world’s largest distended bowel.

I sat in the window of my fifth floor room last night and reveled in the city lights.

It has been a long, LONG two and a half weeks. I’m glad of a two-day respite that’s not going to be a respite because I’m so excited I will spend the whole time walking around town and exploring. I can’t remember the last time I so instantly responded to a city: the old buildings, the doorways, the lintels, the flowering trees, the shaded alleys, the shops, the feel…

10 Replies to “PHILLY”

  1. Welcome to the city of Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love, Heather. My home for nearly 40 years is a part of who I am, just as our Lord has used Los Angeles to shape you into the woman you are now. Be assured of my continued prayers, and know that I prayed for your women's retreat group at Malvern this past weekend. One final tidbit that all visitors to Philly must experience: stop at the convenience store we call "Wawa." Pick up a hoagie and a cup of coffee — you can't go wrong, and it is part of the true Philly experience! Continued blessings.

  2. Perhaps a fitting song for this post, recorded where else but Philadelphia:

  3. I haven't had a hoagie but I certainly WALKED the streets of Philadelphia today. The Reading Terminal Market, noon Mass at the Cathedral, the Barnes and a walk along the Skyuykill (sp.) River to Walnut, then home. With a bunch of tangents along the way. Bartram's Gardens tomorrow. Thanks folks, great Springsteen song.

  4. Visit the Shrine to St. John Neumann if you have time and of course a cheese steak from Pat's! I think you brought the sunshine with you. God bless your visit.

  5. Don't worry about the spelling of Schuylkill … we natives can't spell it, either!

  6. Do you have a favorite part of the city thus far or something which most struck you about it so far, Heather?

  7. I once spent a week camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and on the drive back home to Boston, I felt the same sort of exaltation you did, Heather, as soon as I caught sight of the city in the distance. I worried at the time that it was simply the distractions a city offers that I missed, but I think it's more than that. Not for nothing that the words "civilization" and "city" are connected in their etymology.

  8. You know what is special about Philly? Every week a car drives into a building. True story. I once blogged about for a full year. Every week. Anyway…carry on and enjoy the city.

    Tiffani – who lives in stunning Allentown.

  9. Hi Heather!
    Hope you had a wonderful time in Philly.
    I thoroughly enjoyed our time on the retreat.
    Thank you for helping me and carrying love everywhere you go 🙂
    You are an official member of the Jersey Girls Posse now and will have to travel with us when we retreat!
    Love you and keep in touch 🙂


    1. Theresa! I am THRILLED to be an official member of the Jersey Girls Posse and to know you gals are carrying the torch in that part of the world…that last chat we all had in the lobby was one of the best parts of the retreat, for me anyway, and yes, I loved Philly. Got to the Barnes AND the Phil. Museum of Art AND Bartram's Garden. Walked endlessly…I'm safe home now-we will be with each other in the sunlight of the spirit. Thanks so much to all of you for helping to make the weekend so rich and deep–xoxo Heather