Posts Tagged With: Loews

We Almost Missed Our Train to Philly

2/20/14
You probably don’t know this about me but I’m either early or late. I’m rarely ever on time. My mother knows this about me and thus usually forces me to be anywhere from 1-2 hrs early for planes and trains.

I woke up at 7:30am and our train wasn’t leaving until 10:30am. In my mind that left 2 hrs to get ready, 30 mins to travel there, and 30 mins to wait. Somehow that didn’t work out. It was 9:45 and I was struggling to find a bag I needed. I found it and we ran out of the house to the subway. My mother was pissed at me. I kept mumbling I told you not to book an early train. I don’t do mornings. We run down the subway stairs and catch the packed train waiting to leave the station. We got on much to the annoyance of the people standing already. We waited and waited and waited and waited. The train wasn’t leaving the station. My mother kept shooting me dirty looks while I prayed for the doors to close. In my head I was picturing a repeat of my MET fiasco where it took 2 hrs to get uptown. I kept looking at my phone for the time. What the hell was going on? We were going to miss our train and it would be all my fault. The train doors finally closed at 10:05. The train ride should take 20-30 mins. We were screwed. By some miracle we got to Penn Station at 10:17. We had made it! I didn’t majorly screw us up.

Our train was on time and we took seats in the quiet car. The lady behind me spent the entire ride sneezing and coughing on me. To quote Jimmy Fallon’s character Sara, “ew!” I used the train ride to text, respond to work emails, and plan a video my friends and I will be filming next week.

We arrived in Philly around noon. We got out of 30th st station and we could immediately tell something was wrong. A street was blocked off with caution tape. There were police, fireman, and a huge crowd. There were more sirens in the distance. I took a picture because my friends and co-workers tease that I bring horrible events to places I go (war, revolution, bombings, natural disasters, etc). I sent it them and really figured it was just a bad fender bender, but no one was hurt because their was no ambulance, sense of urgency, flames, etc. We boarded Septa and headed to our hotel. A large transvestite fell on me when the train lurched. I smiled at the thought how normal that was when my non city friends would have freaked. I’m just glad I wasn’t crushed. They were the size of a football player.

We got off the train and were very confused. The entrance for our hotel was gone. We remembered a side entrance that was rarely used and headed there. That entrance was now the main entrance while they undergo restaurant renovation. We checked in and were happily surprised to find out that our room was ready despite being 4 hrs early and we had been upgraded due to my mom’s birthday. Our room was located on the 32nd floor, who is considered one of the club floors. The club lounge was located on 31. We headed to the lounge first only to find out it is only open on weekday mornings until 10:30am. It had a beautiful view though. Lots of different chairs to sit in. We headed back down to our room which was the exact same room as last time just 10 flights up. The room had two double beds, flat screen tv, desk, mini bar, Keurig, and a bathroom with a tub. The view is lovely from the room and it is very quiet.

We were hungry so we headed to Reading Terminal Market. We picked up a mini King Cake, a brioche roll, garlic crostinis, and an M&M cookie. I ate the roll in 10 seconds. I also got a christmas rubber ducky to add to my collection. We headed to an expensive thrift store so my mother could buy herself something nice as a birthday present to herself. Every time we go to this store they are closed. We arrive and they are closed again. However, this time there is a worker on his cell and he refuses to open up. Great work ethic! That annoyed my mom so we decided to move on. We did a lot of shopping. We went to Dollar General, Buffalo Exchange, Payless, H&M, Claire’s, and the shops at Liberty Place. We got free tea at Liberty Place from Tazo. We were going to go to Federal Doughnuts to see what the hype was about, but it looked like it was going to pour. We started to walk back to the area outside Reading Terminal. We did more shopping! I went to Burlington Coat Factory and Five Below.

At 4:45pm we headed back to Reading Terminal for discounted cookies. The problem was their dough wasn’t delivered on time so they didn’t have many cookies. My mom got a bunch, but I just got two. We headed across the street to Maggiano’s for dinner. We were so surprised that the place was almost empty. It’s usually swamped so much so that you face a 2 hour wait if you don’t make a reservation in advance. They sat us in a booth. We knew what we wanted to eat right away. We ordered fried zucchini and two margherita flatbreads (1/2 price for happy hour). They brought us out hot rolls. My mom ate most of the zucchini and some of the flatbread. I downed my food. All of a sudden the waiter, Edward, came out with cookies, a strawberry, and two candles for my mom. So sweet and awesome. I had put in my Open Table reservation that it was my mom’s birthday, but I totally doubted anything would be done. She was so surprised. I ordered an apple crostada and went in search of the waiter to sneakily give my credit card to so I could pay for dinner, but I couldn’t find him. Meanwhile, the couple in the booth next to us were having a bad night. The guy sat in cherries and the girl spent the whole time crying into her menu, then a tissue, and then her alfredo. We asked them to pack up the cookies and the remaining pieces of flatbread. We got matches for future candle lighting.

We got back to the room and were shocked to see two cupcakes and a card by the TV for my mom. The hotel had signed the card. We put a candle in the cupcake and she quickly made a wish. We settled in to watch the Olympics. She ate her cupcakes and I noshed on the leftovers.

Categories: Family Vacation, Food, Philadelphia, Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1787 and 1968

8/17/13

I woke up and got dressed while watching Scandal. We checked out of the Loews. They told us there was free coffee in the restaurant. My mom added to her cup. We left our bags with the hotel.

We went straight to the National Constitution Center. I’ve been wanting to go to this museum since it opened. I never went because of time and the price. We decided to go this trip because there’s also a 1968 exhibit. So we felt like we were getting two museums for the price of one. I got in as a youth ($13). I always say I’m 17. My mom got in for the AAA adult rate ($12). The woman giving us our tickets was not nice and didn’t give us any info about the exhibits. I took all the brochures I could find (not knowing one of the items was a fold up constitution-if I had known I would have taken some for my students).

We decided to do the 1968 exhibit first. I was happy that they allowed photography in the exhibit. I had just taught a 1960’s class so I was excited to see everything I just taught. My mom felt like she was looking at her childhood. The exhibit covered the assassination of MLK and RFK. It also covered Vietnam, the Black Panthers, moon race, music, toys, clothes, the Olympics, etc. I liked the Vietnam helicopter, the clothes, the items from the kitchen where RFK was assassinated, and the albums.

After the 60’s exhibit we went upstairs to the We the People exhibit. It’s an interactive exhibit on the constitution. It focuses on the 3 different branches. There were sections where you could watch videos. You could be sworn in as the president. You can simulate the jury duty experience. There were election booths where you could vote on ideas and it would match you with a past president. They had judicial robes you could try on. There was even a jeopardy game you could play against people. I got all the questions right. There were little sections where you could listen to Paine, Jefferson, Adams, FDR, etc. I liked that they set up FDR’s audio section to resemble a fire side chat. My favorite part of the exhibit were all the artifacts. They had items from different presidents, judges, and other historical figures. They had items from the Dred Scott case, the Scopes trial, prohibition, Sandra Day O’Connors’ robe, etc. There was an old copy of the Emancipation Proclamation and one of the first public copies of the constitution.

Our next stop was Signers’ Hall. The hall is the same size as the room where they signed the constitution. The room is filled with the delegates from the convention. The statues are very life like. My mom and I posed with several of them. We both signed the constitution. Supposedly you can print a copy of your signed constitution in this room. I didn’t see anyone doing that. You also can give people a link at home and they can watch you in the room.

After that we took pictures of Independence Hall from the second floor. By the staircase they had plaques in the ground of when each state ratified the constitution. We headed down to the gift shop. I got some postcards. I wanted postcards from the 60’s exhibit but they didn’t have any. I got 3 press a pennies (that will be a separate post).

We caught the 1:30pm Freedom Rising show. Sandra Day O’Connor called it the best 17 minute civics lesson. I couldn’t agree more. The show was extremely engaging and made me feel very patriotic. I just kept wishing I was rich enough to bring my students to see these exhibits. They would love them!

We left and walked through the visitor center. I took a picture with Rocky. We crossed the street to the President’s house. I haven’t seen that area before. They found it in the last couple years when they were trying to build bathrooms for the liberty bell.

We walked over to the Graff House, which is where Jefferson drafted the declaration. It was closed, which I knew but I still took pictures from the outside. My mom and I did some more shopping at Ross stores. We went back to the hotel to pick up our bags. We hopped on the train and had about 40 mins to kill at the 30th Street Station.

We boarded our Amtrak train on time. We were able to get quiet car seats again this time we were facing the right direction. Time to head to New Jersey.
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Categories: Family Vacation, History, Philadelphia, Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eating and Shopping in Philly

8/16/13
My mom and I caught a 2:10pm Amtrak train to Philly. We picked the quiet car and chose a two seater with a window. However, we chose seats that faced the wrong direction. I hate that!! I get motion sick. This meant I couldn’t read. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t. I closed my eyes and listened to music.

We pulled into Philadelphia 30th st station around 3:45pm. We crossed the street and caught the train into the heart of Philly. We took the train to 13th st and walked the half a block to our hotel. We were going to try the Loews Hotel for the first time. Every time we come to Philly we either stay at the Hyatt at Penn’s Landing or the Hyatt Bellevue. The lobby was really elegant. We were checked in right away. The lady at the desk couldn’t have been nicer. They had free lemonade by check in. On our way to the elevator we noticed the giant vault door. We took the elevators to 22. We got upgraded to a deluxe double. We asked for a room away from the elevators and the ice machine and they actually listened to us. We had room 2212. Right away I noticed they left us gifts. There was a note welcoming us, a snow globe, and a mini LOVE sign. What a lovely touch! The room had a nice view of the bridge and the city. The decor was modern, but classy. The bathroom could easily fit two people at the same time. The shower was also roomy. They even gave us cotton balls and Q-Tips. They gave us two ropes made of silk and terry cloth. There was even a magnifying mirror. The windows seemed to be sound proof and the ceilings were pretty high. There was a coffee machine with coffee from Emeril. Everywhere I looked there were outlets. Finally a hotel that has a lot of outlets and in sensible places. The room had a flat screen tv with 63 channels. We dropped our stuff off and went out to shop.

We went to Burlington Coat Factory and Five Below. We then dashed to Reading Terminal Market to catch our favorite cookies on sale. We wound up getting 7 cookies and a marshmallow cup from the Pennsylvania General Store. My mom got a blueberry fritter from the Amish. We then went back to Burlington. We also did Claire’s and Pay Half.

We had 6pm reservations at Maggiano’s but I called and pushed it back to 6:15pm because we got stuck on line at Pay Half. The restaurant wasn’t too busy when we got there. We got the slowest waiter. We ordered a flatbread pizza, fried zucchini, and an apple crostada. I had the flatbread, which was yummy as usual. My mom had the fried zucchini. They usually give us 8 pieces of zucchini. We got about 5. I had one piece and it was good as usual. My mom had the bread and thought it was delicious. The apple crostada came and it was perfect. My mom had the ice cream that was on top. Dinner was great.

We went back to shopping. We hit K Mart and Walgreens. We then headed back to the hotel to drop our bags off. Since it was still light out and we wanted to walk off our dinner we decided to walk around the Rittenhouse Square area. We window shopped at several closed stores. We stopped in H&M and Insomnia Cookies. At 9pm everything shut down so we walked back to the hotel.

We came back to the room and ate our cookies. They never fail to disappoint. They are definitely the best cookies I’ve ever had. I had my chocolate dipped butterscotch cookie and my regular butterscotch cookie. My mom had her butterscotch cookie and her turtle cookie. We tried to watch TV, but the batteries in the clicker died. We called down and they sent a guy up with a new remote. We settled in and eventually went to bed.
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Categories: Family Vacation, Food, Philadelphia, Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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