Martin Guitar Factory Tour & Museum

Travel

Attaching guitar necks and bodies at Martin Guitar factory.

Five days a week, guitar players and enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, to visit Martin Guitar. The longtime family-run company, officially called C. F. Martin & Company, makes guitars for popular current favorites like John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Elvis, three-quarters of the Beatles, Tom Petty and many others have played their instruments. And with a visit to Martin Guitar’s museum and a factory tour, it’s easy to see just why these expertly crafted instruments are so coveted.

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My First Opera: Das Rheingold at Academy of Vocals Arts

Travel

The Academy of Vocal Arts production of Richard Wagner's Das Rheingold in Philadelphia.

The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia has officially made my husband and me into opera fans. When the Academy of Vocal Arts kindly offered tickets to see one of their two upcoming operas in German I was instantly excited. When it comes to language learning I’m willing to try just about anything. Soap operas, romantic comedies — even if I don’t enjoy it in English, I’m willing to try. But this sounded like a lot of fun. And it also happened to coincide with our anniversary and made the perfect date. In the end, it was the Academy of Vocal Arts’ production of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold that really wowed us.

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Ring in 2018: New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia (& Nearby)

Travel

New Year's Eve in Philadelphia with fireworks along the Delaware Waterfront.

Don’t have plans yet for saying goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018? If you plan to spend New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia and the surrounding area then I’ve got some ideas for you! Seemingly every restaurant or nightspot has something special going on for the last night of 2017. I’m highlighting eleven events that I think are some of the most traditional, unique or fun. But no matter where you go or what you do, have a good time and here’s to a happy, healthy and safe 2018!

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28 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Philadelphia (And Nearby)

Travel

28 things to do and see to celebrate Christmas in Philadelphia!

The holidays are here and Christmas in Philadelphia offers all the cheer, shimmer and joy that you would expect. Kids of all ages will feel that festive thrill when they explore the holidays in Philadelphia. No matter what gets you feeling festive, there is something for everyone. I’ve put together a list of 28 things to see and do during Christmas in Philadelphia (and the surrounding area)!

Many of these things to see and do are winter activities in Philadelphia aren’t limited to Christmas just the holiday season. There are lots of fun things to do this winter, no matter what holidays you are or aren’t celebrating!

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Post by . Originally published November 27, 2017. Last updated December 23, 2017.

Old Masters Now: Philly’s Johnson Collection Turns 100

Travel

Old Masters Now highlights the Johnson Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The classics never go out of style. Just ask Paul McCartney’s accountant. And those classics come in all styles and forms. Take art, for example. Philadelphia lawyer and art collector John G. Johnson fell in love with the Old Masters and you can’t get much more classic than that. Johnson collected the Old Masters and then some. He acquired everything from Renaissance masterpieces to impressionist classics. And now through February, art lovers can visit a special exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art dedicated to the collection, which is celebrating its centennial. I recently got a peek at the splendid exhibition as part of the museum’s members preview.

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Valley Forge Park Travel Guide & Dog Friendly Tips

Travel

A wooden cabin at Valley Forge.

The City of Brotherly Love gets much of the attention when it comes to the history of the United States’ founding. True, Philly did serve as the capital and the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And today, you can get up close to the Liberty Bell or visit the Museum of the American Revolution. But the surrounding suburbs of Philadelphia played an important role, too. Crucial battles were fought in some of these areas. But it was the battle of a different kind that makes Valley Forge Park worth visiting.

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Post by . Originally published October 18, 2017. Last updated October 14, 2017.

Brauhaus Schmitz Brings Oktoberfest to Philadelphia

Food, Travel

Brauhaus Schmitz Oktoberfest at the 23rd Street Armory in Philadelphia.

Earlier this week, after 18 days of rowdiness, revelry and more beer than you can shake a stick at, the original Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany came to a close. But most of us can’t make it over to Bavaria to celebrate. Philadelphia‘s Brauhaus Schmitz has come up with the next best thing: an Oktoberfest celebration to entice partiers from around the region. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at Brauhaus Schmitz Oktoberfest, which runs Friday, October 6th through Sunday, October 8th, 2017.

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Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies Light Up Philly Parkway

Travel

Riding in Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies pedicab in Philadelphia.

As Philadelphia‘s Benjamin Franklin Parkway kicks off its 100th anniversary, the city is spending the next year celebrating. And right now Fireflies are pedaling up and down the boulevard that is home to so many fantastic museums: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, Barnes Museum, Franklin Institute and more. That’s right — pedaling. Each Firefly is a pedicab covered in cheery Chinese-style lanterns. It’s all part of an art installation by artist Cai Guo-Qiang. And until October 8th, visitors can get involved by taking a free Fireflies ride!

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Visiting President Buchanan’s Wheatland Estate

Travel

Wheatland estate in Lancaster is the home of President James Buchanan.

To date, the state of Pennsylvania has only produced a single president. The 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan was originally from Cove Gap, in southcentral Pennsylvania just north of the Maryland border. But he settled in Lancaster which then served as the state capital. Wheatland was his longtime estate. Today it is a historic site worth visiting, less than two miles from the city center.

Historians would likely tell you that the one-term Buchanan is considered to be one of the worst presidents in US history. This is largely due to his failure to keep the country united. Seven states seceded from the Union under his leadership and shortly thereafter an all-out war broke out once Abraham Lincoln took office.

Regardless of your politics, Wheatland is a fascinating visit. Here you can learn the backstory and get an education on a man that, frankly, most average Americans known little of.

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Wyeths & American Art: Brandywine River Museum of Art

Travel

The entrance to the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

Just a stone’s throw from a battlefield from the Revolutionary War is a grist mill from 1864 beside the river. The renovated mill is home to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Inside this unassuming mill are treasures of American art. The museum serves as a perfect way to kick off a day in the Wilmington area before visiting the historic and luxurious HOTEL DU PONT for afternoon tea.

Currently, the museum is showing off an impressive retrospective on locally based and world renowned artist Andrew Wyeth. And that’s in addition to the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s remarkable collection.

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Post by . Originally published August 7, 2017. Last updated August 9, 2017.