I don’t know why, but there is something about Philadelphia that just has me going back. If I had to take a guess, it’d probably be because the city is just filled with so much culture and history– it’s hard to get enough! Don’t even get me started on the Georgian-style homes; I secretly look at listings when I’m out there!

Being in NYC we are lucky that we are just a short 2-hour drive away; with that said, we packed ourselves into the car and drove off to experience the city of brotherly love. No car? No problem! The Amtrak train will get you there in about 1h 30mins. They currently have a promotion going on – check it out! Alternatively, there are also buses that can get you out there; ah, the possibilities :).

Below is a day-trip itinerary we did most recently. Below that? All the fun spots that we recommend from visiting the city a few times; feel free to pick a few things and make the day trip your own! Also, always leave room for uncovering your own hidden gems– you just never know what you’ll find :).

Early Bird: 9AM

It’s tried and true, but still so good. Start with a tour of the iconic Liberty Bell. No tickets are needed. Cross the street for Independence Hall, where you can go into the room where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted.

Been there done that? Then try this: 

Pick up a coffee and morning treat at Old City Coffee, located inside Reading Terminal. Take a quick stroll around to see everyone start to prep all the deliciousness for the rest of the day. Head on out.

 

History & Shopping: 10AM

Step inside the historic Wanamaker building, that currently houses Macy’s, and see the world’s largest organ (purchased at one of the World’s Fairs). Maybe even pick up a new pair of shoes while you’re there *puts on halo* O:).

Brunch: 11AM

Get your brunch on at Talula’s Garden. Grab a mimosa or a glass of fresh squeezed carrot juice. Dine outside as you hear birds chirp and feel the warmth of the sun on your cheeks or head inside. Either way, their food is very good and so super fresh. Tip: be sure to make a reservation!

Art & Culture: 2PM

Get your art on by visiting Isaiah Zagar’s well-known Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. What started as a simple form of art has transcended into an immersive experience, not only at the museum itself, but also throughout the city of Philadelphia. Sign up for a tour and take a stroll around the neighborhood as you’re taught about the works of art and their meanings behind them. You even get to see Isaiah’s home; and, hey, he may even pop out himself– we got the chance to say hi! :).

 

Snack Time: 4PM

I’m sure you’ve built up an appetite strolling around the neighborhood, how about you fix that with one of Philly’s favorites like Blackbird Pizzeria? This place is all vegan, but widely popular (like they-even-have-their-own-t-shirts-for-sale popular). Get your own vegan Philly cheesesteak, or try one of their delicious pizza slices! The place is tiny, but it was voted as the best vegan cheesesteak in Philly and is home to some of the top vegan pizzas in the country!

 

The Wind Down: 6PM

Why not walk off your meal as you make your way back up to Elfreth’s Alley— the nation’s oldest residential street. Continue your walk across the speedway and right under the remarkable Benjamin Franklin Bridge to watch the sun set. After your wonderful evening, make your way back home and relish in the beautiful day out in Philly.


Additional Information/Tips:

History:

  • Benjamin Franklin Printing House: we have him to thank for the US Postal Service today, after all!

Food:

  • Café La Maude: French middle eastern amazingness. Once done (or while waiting for your rezy, check out City Planter next door and don’t forget to pick up some City Spice spices for home!)
  • Cheesesteaks: As I don’t eat beef, this recommend comes from my husband:
    • “When in Rome… definitely try Pat and Gino’s and come to your own conclusion of who has the best for a fun tourist thing to do. When you’re done, head on over to Jim’s; I keep it traditional “One Whiz With” (which translates to one cheesesteak with cheese whiz and onions!)
      For another vegan alternative, I’ve tried a cheesesteak from HipCityVeg – so delicious!
  • Reading Terminal Market: Everything under one roof; with so many options, here are my go-to’s:
    • Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties: try their mint and rosewater lemonade and a side of falafel as a snack!
    • The FlyingMonkey is known for their whoopie pies, don’t miss it! For my vegan friends, there is a chocolate cupcake in there that will make you go “MMM MMM MM!”
    • City Coffee: grab a cup from here to pair back with your baked good
  • La Peg: corner dining right by the bridge with a nice big outdoor patio and music to set the fun mood
  • Morgan’s Pier: by the pier and bridge; haven’t been here, but looks good!

Parks & Gardens:

  • Shofuso Japanese House & Garden: you take off your shoes before going in; a great cultural experience, plus they have traditional tea time! The gardens are beautiful, too. Great for cherry blossom season!
  • Fairmount Park Horticulture Center: sit back, take in the beauty and see what volunteers are up to!
  • Washington Park
  • Cities Sister Park: AMOR can be found here. LOVE was under renovation, head to LOVE park to see it once it’s back up and running.
  • Rittenhouse Square
  • Fairmount Park
  • Spruce Street Harbor Park: dine on the barge; summertime will be epic with activities galore and hammocks installed for you to relax– what could be better?!

Shopping:

  • Macy’s: See the world’s largest pipe organ that is played every day except Sundays. Call the visitor’s desk and inquire about their tours- super insightful.
  • King of Prussia Mall: I mean, this place just has it all. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, I’m not sure you will find it anywhere! Wear COMFORTABLE shoes! 😉

Happy Travels!
xx,

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Brooklyn native, Latina, and founder of Enlightened by Bravery, an adventure/travel and wellness blog that focuses on drawing inspiration from adventures around the world back into your life // iPhoneographer // Francophile

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B.

Beaufort: Small City, Big History, Lots of Beauty

I like pushing the envelope. It’s just what my curiosity does to me. It’s a curse, perhaps at times, but when it comes to travel, however, I find it as a true blessing. It was no surprise, then, when planning my trip to Georgia that I wanted to squeeze in a day-trip to South Carolina. Now, I knew my days were tight, so I made sure to make this destination worth it. Cue in Beaufort, SC, a little city that opened my heart and mind through its history.

As a NYC resident, I wanted to explore more of a southern coastal city (can you blame me?)  and so when I saw Beaufort featured in the New York Times (and then after I booked my trip saw it featured in Southern Living and Vogue,) well, you know I just had to check what this city was all about.With a population of about 13,000 (and it being the second-oldest city in South Carolina), I must say, I felt pretty close to everyone I encountered and felt the history instantaneously upon my arrival.

I partnered with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce to plan my trip and when I asked:
“What’s the best way to see the city?”
“Via a walking tour,” is what they non-hesitantly replied.

So, my husband and I got in the car, waved ‘bye’ to Savannah for the day and headed up north about 1.5 hours.

When we arrived to the visitor’s center in Beaufort, we were happily greeted and given recommendations of where to eat and what to check out. Never be shy about asking locals – they are the best source of information!

We started our day with lunch at Plums. Real talk: I have been having SO much delicious butter (and shrimp!) down south that I opted for a refreshing chicken salad – oh, and some oysters on the side, of course to change things up a little bit and give my body a bit of a break. As we entered the restaurant, we requested outdoor seating and were escorted to the back, right by the Waterfront Park, a wonderful spot for people-watching and seeing boats pass you by. Interestingly enough, every couple of minutes during our conversation, we’d have to stop talking because we had fighter jets fly over us; turns out, we were right near Parris Island, a Marine Corps Air Station. How cool, because you never see those jets flying around in NYC!

After lunch, we went on our walking tour of Beaufort where I walked amongst some of the most beautiful Antebellum houses I have ever seen, built on what used to be plantation fields and learned that they were used during the war. Today, many of the homes are residential and used for films! There were so many movie references while on the tour, I wish I was a big movie person to understand; but it was okay, I understood the history and, honestly, just walking along the streets filled with oak trees, Spanish moss, birds chirping, carriage steps and imaging myself back in the 1700s was just incredible.

Friends, look at the following photos and imagine yourself hearing horseshoes and standing in front of these beautiful homes while feeling the slight breeze on your cheek.  We walked around the city for about two to three hours. All worth it. So in love:

After our super informative tour, shopping was obviously next on the list. I sometimes wish I had a cute little beach home that I could decorate à la plage. But, who says that daydreaming is a bad thing?  Even if it’s to go inside and imagine the décor I’d put into my beach home, I have a wonderful time just strolling around, touching every piece of glass, opening up and flipping the pages of freshly printed coffee table books, and sniffing every candle my nose can handle.  At this point, my husband was outside sitting on a bench waiting for me as he turned to his phone and flipped through who-knows-what. Either way, I stayed inside the store and kept exploring. Scout Southern Market was such a great find! They have such wonderful things inside that are one-of-a-kind and I poo-poo on myself for not buying the beautiful blue & white porcelain dish I kept going back to!  Lucky for me, they deliver.  I’ll be adding that to my to-do list ;).

As we know, shopping works up an appetite (yes, yes it does, ladies ;)) and I was craving something sweet. I recalled the gelato sign we passed by earlier in the day and headed back to Common Ground Marketplace Café where I indulged in a wonderful lemon sorbet. As a lactose-intolerant soul, I highly appreciate when places that carry gelato also carry sorbet. It was the perfect treat after walking around for hours under the sun.

After our little snack, we sat by the Waterfront Park on its swings for a while and enjoyed the beautiful waterside view. We made our way through some more cute shops and pondered about how great our day was, how much we learned and which restaurant would be our last stop for dinner (we love to eat, don’t judge ;)).

We ended up crossing over a little bridge and (per a local’s strong recommendation- I mentioned I loved locals, ya?) headed on over to the Dockside Restaurant for dinner. I KNOW.  I know.  I said I wasn’t going to have any more shrimp. But… it was strongly recommended… and how could I not? ;).

As we finished up our dinner, we packed ourselves back into the car and headed back down to Georgia. Our day in Beaufort was as beautiful as its homes, its nature, its water, its friendly people and, most of all, its rooted history (for the history buffs, check more out here). In a city that I knew nothing about, I walked out knowing so much and banked the trip in my memory, so happy I fed my curious mind.

xx,
Loren.


Outfit

Dress: Revolve | Shoes: Nine West | Watch: Fossil | Sunglasses: Shein

2.

2018: Goodbye NYC, Hello New Zealand!

…and I don’t mean it just as a vacation. Family & friends, it is with great excitement and joy that we share with you all that we are leaving everything we know about NYC behind and heading off on an adventure abroad for the year!

We are moving to New Zealand!!

There have been so many factors that played into our decision: one of them was attending a Tony Robbins seminar (that post coming next!), another was experiencing the beautiful culture in Denmark last summer (gosh, I love that bicycle life), and another was that, frankly, I have been left feeling a little uninspired by NYC lately. Nothing against the concrete jungle, but maybe that’s my problem: too much concrete.

I don’t know if I ever shared this, but there were two times in my life that I literally sobbed on the plane as we took off: once was when I wheeled up from France after studying abroad there (oh, the tears!), and second was when we left Denmark (how could I live without all the pastries and that bike life?!). I started noticing a pattern and it drew up a concern for me: why was I crying so hard? And what was it about those countries that made me want to stay forever?

In my efforts to understand myself, it was clear that those other places (and travel in general), always filled a void of unpredictability, new adventures and new customs/cultures. When I landed, it was like a game of strategy in which you must survive, learn the rules and get excited about all the different things happening around you. I know NYC is a giant melting pot, but having been born and raised here, it all has just started to feel and become a little, well, predictable. I already know we are all celebrating the fourth of July no matter what state in the country I am in. And while I love traveling around the country (the USA is beautiful), I am seeking something more.

It occured to me that in order for me to continue to grow, continue to be inspired and continue to love deeper, I need to get out. NYC, USA, it’s not you, it’s me; we need a break. You will always be my home, but I feel that distance will make the heart grow fonder. You give such great opportunities that I have yet to be thankful for. The opportunities are endless and you can be whoever you want to be; yet, I’m not grabbing anything by the horns.

So why New Zealand? Well, why the heck not?!

xx,