Riding the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Historic Jim Thorpe

Travel

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway train pulls up to the Jim Thorpe Train Station.

This year for my birthday the plan was to take a day trip to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, for a relaxing ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. The mountain town was once dubbed the “Switzerland of America” and it is an easy drive from Philadelphia or New York. It attracts visitors for the historic train, outdoor adventures or simply exploring the small downtown area. But it’s also extremely family friendly — and that includes your furry four-legged family members!

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Philadelphia Flower Show Explores Wonders of Water

Travel

Tulips on display at the Philadelphia Flower Show 2018.

You know spring is near when the Philadelphia Flower Show rolls into town. Each year the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) hosts the wildly popular show downtown at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. For 2018, the show is tackling the theme of water. This precious and limited resource is highlighted in some interesting and unexpected ways. But, as the Philadelphia Flower Show demonstrates this year, conserving water doesn’t mean you have to forgo a beautiful garden.

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Afternoon Tea & English Classics at A Taste of Britain

Food, Travel

A cup of tea at A Taste of Britain.

On a rainy and snowy late winter day, a date for afternoon tea and a meal at A Taste of Britain is the perfect way to spend a day. Or, really, any day if you ask me. While cities are known for having restaurants and shops that cater to all tastes, it’s actually Philadelphia‘s nearby suburb of Wayne where you’ll find this charming tea room. And be assured that A Taste of Britain is more than “just” a place for tea.

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Philadelphia’s Mummers Parade Tradition

Travel

Mummers strut during Philadelphia's Mummers Parade on New Year's Day.

The Mummers are one of those distinctly Philadelphia traditions that can be difficult for outsiders to understand. It’s like scrapple or booing Santa Claus at a football game. Each year on New Year’s Day the Mummers Parade takes place. Weather permitting, this community of sequins-wearing, string band dancing and playing group strut their stuff through Philly starting at city hall and then preceding down Broad Street towards South Philadelphia. And in true Philadelphia fashion, either you love them or you hate them.

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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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Free Things to Do in New York City

Travel

Cruising by the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry is one of the great free things to do in New York City.

Although the Big Apple is known for being rather pricey, there are plenty of free things to do in New York City. Free doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Even if you’re a luxury traveler, you have no excuses! There are some really fun and engaging things to see and do that shouldn’t be missed even if you aren’t a budget traveler. I’ve put together a list of my favorites free things to do in NYC! You’ll have such a good time that you’ll forget you’re not even paying a dime with these free things to do in New York City.

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Washington DC’s Freer|Sackler Galleries of Asian Art

Travel

Indian art on display at the Freer|Sackler Galleries in Washington DC.

The Freer|Sackler, that is the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, is easy to miss along the imposing and impressive National Mall in Washington, DC. The galleries are surrounded by significant museums. Just across the way is the popular Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Castle. The Hirshhorn Museum and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum are also nearby neighbors. It’s easy to not notice the Freer|Sackler given all those “distractions,” not to mention its petite buildings, relatively speaking.

But the Freer|Sackler Galleries are home to an impressive collection of Asian art as well as works from the American aesthetic movement, northern Africa, and the Islamic world. What’s more, there’s never been a better time to visit the museum. The dual museums celebrated a reopening in October 2017 after the Freer Gallery of Art was closed for renovations that lasted nearly two years. I recently visited the galleries and to say that the museums house an extraordinary collection is an understatement.

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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.