Day 49 – June 8, 2007 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Yesterday we pulled into Philadelphia around nightfall. We are staying by the airport which is about ten miles outside the center of the city. In my extensive online research, I read that the area surrounding our hotel is a little shady, but since the residential areas are over a mile away, everything turned out alright. Our hotel sits among a dozen or so others just outside the airport and the area felt pretty safe. Compared to staying inside the city, we got great value from staying out by the airport!
We set out this morning on a mission to eat a real Philadelphia Cheese Steak sandwich. Where else would one go for a real cheese steak than Pat’s or Geno’s in downtown. Pat originally invented the cheese steak sandwich in the 1930’s. Geno followed right behind and the rival shops that sit right across the street from each other are both world famous.
When we found a parking spot, a tough decision was presented to us. Should we go with Pat or Geno’s sandwich? We made a decision for no particular reason to go with Geno’s. In my opinion the sandwiches were great. They offer either American, Provolone or Cheese Whiz on the sandwich making it a bit different than what you might get at a regular restaurant. Shawn Reece for some reason didn’t like it that much, but Jasmine and I sunk our teeth in. The one complaint that we had was how expensive they were. I think that these places have turned into tourist traps, charging quite a bit more than they should for what you get. But, in the end, we now have experienced a real Philadelphia Cheese Steak sandwich. I guess that is worth the extra couple of bucks!
For some reason, we didn’t feel like staying in the city today. Tomorrow we are going to take a trolley tour of Philadelphia, so we decided to head out west to Amish country. The Pennsylvania Dutch area is mostly centered around Lancaster Pennsylvania, about 50 miles outside of Philadelphia. As we left the city, it was hard not to notice how the landscape started to incorporate more farms. When we saw a sign off of the highway with a picture of a horse and buggy, we knew that we had arrived.
After a couple of miles, we saw a visitor’s center on the side of the road and stopped. It turned out to be a company selling tours, (they also had a show, hotel & Amish restaurant) but they also provided us with more information about the area and the people. We declined to take the 3 mile tour aboard one of their carriages since at $10 a person it seemed a little over priced. Instead we decided to drive around the little side roads surrounding all of the farm land. On one side street, we caught a glimpse of a mother and her children returning home from school on their buggy. Throughout the area, we saw several Amish families going about their business. It was weird to see them working out on the farm with horses instead of tractors. It really is a trip back in time!
We drove around the Lancaster area for about an hour as the landscape is vast and beautiful. After leaving Lancaster we headed back to the hotel for the night. As mentioned before, tomorrow we are going to take a trolley tour around Philadelphia. At this point I don’t want us to tire out too much, because we still have New York coming up in a couple of days!
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The Coomer Family