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Moon Philadelphia: Including Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Moon Philadelphia: Including Pennsylvania Dutch Country

by Karrie Gavin

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Journalist and Philadelphia native Karrie Gavin guides travelers around her hometown, from exploring Wissahickon Park to sampling the city's renowned cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, and hoagies. Gavin also includes one-of-a-kind trip ideas such as the Two-Day Best of Philadelphia and Philly’s Culinary Classics. With advice on the visiting the Philadelphia Museum


Journalist and Philadelphia native Karrie Gavin guides travelers around her hometown, from exploring Wissahickon Park to sampling the city's renowned cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, and hoagies. Gavin also includes one-of-a-kind trip ideas such as the Two-Day Best of Philadelphia and Philly’s Culinary Classics. With advice on the visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art, enjoying recreational opportunities on the Schuylkill River, and navigating Philly’s nightlife,Moon Philadelphiagives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.

Product Details

Avalon Publishing
Publication date:
Moon Handbooks Travel Series
Edition description:
Second Edition
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Moon Philadelphia

Including Pennsylvania Dutch Country
By Karrie Gavin

Avalon Travel Publishing

Copyright © 2011 Karrie Gavin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781598808865

Karrie Gavin Talks Philadelphia

1. Describe the spirit of Philadelphia in your own words.

Philly has been called the biggest small town in America. It rivals any major urban center in its diverse cultural opportunities, yet it also has a cozy, small-town feel. While Center City is a bustling metropolis, the city is made up of close-knit neighborhoods where families have been rooted for generations. Like Rocky Balboa, Philly’s favorite fictional son, Philly is a town known for its scrappy, fighting spirit, excessive pride, loyalty, and determination. But under the tough exterior, Philadelphians are also friendly and fun-loving. There are no prouder locals anywhere in the world, and while we enjoy a weekend visit to nearby New York, the rumored underdog complex is a myth; locals genuinely believe that Philly is better than NYC.

2. What is your favorite restaurant in Philly?

On a weekday when I just don’t feel like cooking, we head to Nam Phuong, a great, inexpensive Vietnamese restaurant on Washington Avenue, or order takeout from Vic Sushi or Tiffin (Indian). There are tons of great BYOBs (bring your own bottle) in town, and Dmitri's and Mercato are two of my faves. When you’re ready to lay down a few bucks, head to Amada (or really any of Jose Garces’ restaurants) or Tequilas Restaurant for a lively night-on-the-town atmosphere and excellent food and drinks.

3. It’s 5pm and you’re ready for a happy hour cocktail. Where do you go?

I’ll often choose a good old dive, like Bob & Barbara’s or Oscar's, where the Friday happy hour often turns into a raucous dance party. Or I’ll stop at my favorite neighborhood bar, Sidecar, where I can munch on half-priced nachos with my craft beer at one of the outdoor tables. For a fancy cocktail and cool mob-era atmosphere, Prohibition Taproom is tops.

4. Let’s talk transportation. What’s the best way to get around town?

In Center City, walking and biking are excellent options for navigating the flat grid of streets while avoiding parking and traffic. New bike lanes have been recently added on many major thoroughfares, making biking better than ever. Public transit is extensive is Center City, and you can get pretty much anywhere by bus, subway, or regional rail line. A car comes in handy for exploring Fairmount Park or the Northwest section of the city, where things are more spread out and public transit is less extensive. When going out for a night on the town, walking or grabbing a cab is usually the quickest and easiest, especially in Center City and surrounding neighborhoods.

5. What is the best place, or places, to stay on a budget?

The two best options for budget travelers are Apple Hostels in the heart of Old City and Chamounix Mansion in Fairmount Park. Both offer dorm-style accommodations and a few semi-private quarters. Chamounix is a cool, converted historic mansion, but it’s off the main drag, so having a car is useful when staying there. Apple, on the other hand, is right in the heart of Old City, so it may be a bit loud and active, but this is the place for you if you don’t want to worry about transportation and if you plan on hitting all the Old city attractions by day and bars by night. For those looking for a reasonably-priced digs with a bit more privacy, check out some of the smaller bed-and-breakfasts in Center City East or South Philly, where you can stay in a cozy room in a converted home for less than you’d spend at most hotels.

6. If money is no option, where is the ultimate place to rest your head?

The Rittenhouse Hotel overlooks Rittenhouse Square, the park in the heart of Center City surrounded by many of the swankiest restaurants and shops in the city. It is in the perfect location, with every amenity. Mark Wahlberg, Oprah, Bill Clinton, and Tom Hanks are among the many visiting celebrities who have stayed there. Need I say more?

7. When is the best time of the year to visit?

Philly has four distinct seasons typical of the Northeast. Each one is beautiful in its own right, but spring and fall are generally pleasant and mild, while winter and summer can be brutally cold or hot at times. Summer is the most crowded with tourists, with long lines at some of the most popular attractions, and slightly higher hotel rates. May and September are excellent months to visit, because it’s a bit less crowded and hot than summer, but all the seasonal attractions are still open.

8. What’s your favorite Philly neighborhood, and why?

Tough question. Each neighborhood has its own unique energy. South Philly is top-notch for food, as it’s home to the Italian Market, as well as a slew of affordable Italian, Asian and Mexican restaurants. Northern Liberties has excellent nightlife and a lively young energy. Old City is best for tourist sites and getting a sense of Old Philadelphia, and the Rittenhouse area of Center City West is best for shopping, strolling and people-watching on a weekend afternoon. And since I grew up in Mt. Airy, I must give it a shout-out for its lovely tree-lined streets, diverse community, and access to Wissahickon Park.

9. What is there to do with kids in Philadelphia?

All of the historic sites are very family-friendly, and offer kids a great history lesson in a fun setting. The Please Touch Museum is a world-class interactive kids museum in Fairmount Park, and the Franklin Institute (and IMAX theatre), Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Constitution Center, are excellent attractions for kids with interactive, hands-on exhibits. Smith Playground is a free 100+-year-old playground and playhouse in Fairmount Park with a giant old wooden slide that can fit about 10 kids across—it’s definitely off the tourist track, but very popular with locals. I had many a memorable birthday party there in my youth!

10. Tell us something you think people would be surprised to know about Philly.

Philly is home to more murals than any other city in the world, with more than 3,000 murals beautifying walls across the city, courtesy of the Mural Arts Program. Guided trolley tours offer a chance to check out the elaborate works of art and catch a glimpse of many neighborhoods most people wouldn’t otherwise see. Also, I’m not sure if people know that Philly has the largest urban park system in the world, so outdoor recreational opportunities abound.


Excerpted from Moon Philadelphia by Karrie Gavin Copyright © 2011 by Karrie Gavin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Karrie Gavin comes from a long line of Philadelphians that began with her great-grandparents, who immigrated from County Mayo, Ireland, over a century ago. Born and raised in Germantown and Mt. Airy, Karrie now lives in Center City.

Karrie attended Central High School of Philadelphia and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in English at Penn State University and a master's degree in journalism at Temple University. Her interest in writing about Philadelphia was sparked during her time as editor of Campus Philly, a local nonprofit where she was responsible for creating online and print guides and a magazine about Philadelphia for local college students.

Karrie is the former Philadelphia/South Jersey Guide for the website About.com, and her writing has appeared in numerous regional and national magazines, including Philadelphia magazine, Philadelphia Wedding, Philadelphia Home, AAA World, and US Airways magazine, and in the anthology PS: What I Didn't Say, published by Seal Press. Her deep Philly roots and knowledge also serve her (and her clients) well in her work as a real estate agent at Elfant Wissahickon Realtors.

In her spare time, Karrie assists adults with special needs on vacations and local outings through Special Vacations, an organization founded by her mother. She also enjoys hanging out with her husband, her two sons, their dog, and her large network of family and friends. Luckily for her, they are almost all in Philly! While Philadelphians may leave for a while, they almost always come back.

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