|Street scene in Chestnut Hill|
I'm talking about Philadelphia . . . land of Philly cheese steaks, the hoagie, the Phillies, the Flyers, the Eagles. Okay, maybe the sports teams aren't underrated. Philadelphia hasn't been in the Superbowl or World Series anytime in modern recorded history.
|This storefront "proves" there's a hip Philadelphia|
But we spent the weekend in Philadelphia and were awestruck by the historic district, with its 2080-pound Liberty Bell, as well as Independence Hall and a number of other 18th-century sites. If you cup your hands around your eyes to blot out the skyscrapers, you might think you're still in Colonial America.
|Not a greenhouse; a breakfast place|
Philadelphia is also home to many college students and young people. Boston has Harvard, MIT, BU, BC, Tufts, Northeastern. But Philadelphia has the University of Pennsylvania, Temple, Drexel, Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, and a whole equation of others.
|A local food co-op|
Of course the city has its many urban problems both racial and economic. But we found at least one peaceful, prosperous, racially mixed middle-class community in Mt. Airy. And Philadelphia can also boast a few young, hip neighborhoods like Fishtown, Fitler Square, Manayunk.
I'm no expert on Philadelphia, just a tourist. We stayed in an area on the northwest corner of the city called Chestnut Hill, which is kind of "hip" but for an older crowd. There are lots of restaurants and coffee shops and antique stores and gift shops, as well as a food co-op and a couple of bed-and-breakfasts.
|It's an old city. But there's new construction as well|
We ate at the Flying Fish restaurant and met the owner, who chatted us up and told us he's been running restaurants in Chestnut Hill for 40 years, ever since he graduated from Penn. I had celery root soup -- which I'd never tasted before, and it was really good -- and an entree of crab-filled pasta. B had brisket, and judging from all the slurping and moaning going on across the table I'd say she enjoyed it quite well.
|The Flying Fish restaurant|
His daughter runs another restaurant up the street that serves breakfast and lunch. We wanted to stop by for a bite but ran out of time. So we're going to have to go back to Philadelphia . . . if for no other reason than we didn't get a chance to try all the restaurants!
|The reason we have to go back|