Quick Overnight in Philly (sans kids)

We were in Philadelphia visiting family for the holiday weekend and took advantage to sneak away for a night without the kids.  We were gone for less than 24 hours but it was just the right time to have two great meals, sleep in and head home refreshed.

I've mentioned how great the Kimpton chain of hotels are before and Hotel Monaco was no exception.  The decor is hip and funky but we saw lots of families checking in and many guests with their dogs.  There is complimentary wine served every evening in the lobby and on this extremely cold night they were also offering the choice of a hot toddy or warm apple cider. 

Photo courtesy of Kimpton Hotel

Photo courtesy of Kimpton Hotel

We didn't do any sightseeing but the hotel is in a great location right down the street from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.  There are complimentary bicycles available and a cardio boxing class is even offered every Wednesday evening in the fitness center. 

Just a short walk from the hotel we went for breakfast at High Street on Market, chosen by Bon Appetit as one of the best new restaurants of 2014.  The menu is based around the amazing breads that are baked fresh daily and coincidentally, one of their pastries , the Red Eye Danish, is on the cover of Saveur magazine this month.  Alan's sandwich looked just like the picture below and on our way out we grabbed a loaf of ancient grain to take home, which I have been enjoying for breakfast this week. 

Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine

Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine

A Day Out in Philadelphia

We are lucky to have family outside of Philadelphia so we headed down there when the kids had a couple of days off from school last week.  We spent one day of the break exploring Philadelphia which we always enjoy.  

We started off at the U.S. Mint and took the very informative self-guided tour (unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this as photography is prohibited).  The whole experience only takes about 45 minutes and includes seeing the factory floor where the metal is cut into different coin shapes, washed and dried and then sent over to the other side where it is then stamped with the coin faces and reverses.  The kids were amazed that we were seeing actual money being made and packaged for transport.

Next we headed over to the Reading Terminal Market to grab lunch.  The building has been the site of a food market since 1892 but it's current emergence began in the 1990's.  You can find any type of food you are craving here and there are lots of great shops to purchase something to take home.  We wanted cheesesteaks so we went straight to Spataro's.  You can get a cheesesteak in multiple variations (with or without cheese, onions, or mushrooms), and for those who want something else (Ava), they also have standard deli sandwiches such as ham or turkey.  

On our way out we stopped by Metropolitan Bakery for dessert.  In addition to amazing cookies and cakes, they also sell fresh breads, granola and dog treats!  We tried the chocolate pound cake and two different chocolate chip cookies (one with walnuts, the other with macadamias) and each one was better than the last.

If I hadn't had my hands full with cookies and kids, I would have stopped next door at Old City Coffee and grabbed a latte and some beans to take home.

Finally, we checked out the Franklin Institute.  We had visited years before but the kids really enjoyed our time here.  This place is fantastic with so much to do and see although I think it is really best for those kids ages 5 and up.  We didn't come close to seeing everything on offer here including the special exhibits such as Body Worlds:  Animals Inside Out or any of the IMAX shows.  The exhibit on the brain was fascinating and had lots of hands-on experiments to demonstrate the complexity of the brain.  The space section had a great demonstration of gravity by having kids pick up the same lunch box on each planet and see how heavy or light it felt.  I also loved these travel posters for planetary travel...