Top Philidephia Must Do’s

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Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Look anywhere on the web, and you’ll find that Philadelphia is one of the most impressive places to visit, but if you’re going there are some things you absolutely must do, make sure you do not leave until you have…

Had a photo in front of the Liberty Bell

It doesn’t make a sound, but The Liberty Bell is free to visit year-round with no tickets required. It draws people from everywhere in to get their perfect a photo in front of the soaring glass walls overlooking Independence Hall.

Posed with the Rocky Statue and ran up the “Rocky Steps.”

There are two of the most famous tourist attractions in Philadelphia and have now become an international destination. Travellers come from all over to embark on their own run up the stairs, pumping their fists in the air while taking in the spectacular view of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the city’s skyline. To finish off the experience, you should head to the bottom of the stairs and snap a photo with the bronze statue of Rocky, initially created for Rocky III.

Eaten best Philly cheesesteak

The Philly cheesesteak is the city’s most famous food. These excellent sandwiches consist of chopped (or thinly sliced) steak and a choice of cheeses and fried onions on a hoagie roll. Mmmmm!

Visited the Independence Hall

This is the actual place where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the U.S. Constitution was created. Today, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is the centrepiece of Independence National Historical Park, and you can go on guided tours all year-round for free. You have to get timed tickets which can be picked up at the Independence Visitor Center but plan ahead because tours fill up fast!

 

Gorged on food from dozens of vendors at Reading Terminal Market

This is America’s oldest farmers’ market, and a foodie’s paradise. The 125-year-old Reading Terminal Market serves as both one of the top tourist destinations as well as a source for fresh produce, seafood, meats and cheese for the locals. You can also enjoy meals from dozens of restaurants as well as browsing retailers stalls selling housewares, jewellery, linens and more.

Visited the impressive museums on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway was modelled after the Champs Elysees in Paris and is sometimes called Philadelphia’s most artistic mile. Here, you’ll find some of the city’s most important cultural institutions, including the Barnes Foundation, The Franklin Institute, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Rodin Museum and the crowning Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 

Taken in an epic view of City Hall — then toured the massive building

The City Hall has been the home to Philadelphia city government for over a century. Once the tallest building in America, the 14.5-acre masonry structure remains the country’s largest municipal building. You can enjoy an interior tour that explores the building’s history, art and architecture or a 15-minute tower tour. Both options include a view from the observation deck, located below the 37-foot-tall, 27-ton bronze statue of William Penn atop the clock tower.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Heading South

Over the Christmas/New Year holiday period we decided to drive to New Orleans for New Years Eve. We left New York City, five days before Christmas heading south. The only ‘plans’ and accommodation we had wasn’t until the 30th, so we could enjoy the drive and see where we would end up! Looking at the map of the USA, I also decided that I would love to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the way down. So we headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Scenic drive

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an absolute dream, the scenery is breathtaking.  It is America’s longest linear park, stretching 469 miles, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Shenandoah National Park. Located in the States of North Carolina and Virginia. Parts of the Appalachian mountains are also included in the parkway.  The Blue Ridge Parkway is a nature lovers dream, rich in biodiversity. There is so much variance in the fauna, flora, climate and geological features.

 

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Peaks of Otter

Before we left NYC, we had decided that we would rather camp in various National forest or State forest camping grounds, so the trip could remain relatively unplanned and be more cost effective. So the first area that we stayed at, was Peaks of Otter,  now being that this was in the middle of December and we did not do any research, the visitor center and camping area is actually closed at this time of year! It was raining and getting late, and as our car is set up for sleeping in ect we still stayed near the visitors center. The next morning we woke up to a blanket of fog, I felt that the thick fog enhanced the beauty. Peaks of Otter surrounds the Jefferson National Forest, and provides breathtaking views. You can take multiple hiking trails near the visitor center. Due to the fog being so thick, we decided to hike the shortest route, the elk run loop. This hike offers a self guided ecology walk, with displays along the walk describing the forest community, very cool.

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Overlooks

Next stop along the parkway, the Head Foremost Mountain overlook and the Arnold Valley Overlook.

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The fog had still not cleared up by lunch time! I can only imagine how spectacular these views are on a clear spring or summers day.

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Curtis Creek

For our second night, we camped at Curtis creek, a camping ground nestled in the mountains at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains. This campsite was open (Closes December 31st) and works on a first come, first serve system.  Near the camp ground, there are multiple hiking trails on offer, plus the pretty creek.

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Nantahala National Forest

After hiking during the morning at curtis creek, we drove to Asheville, N.C to spend the day there ( a separate blog post). After Asheville, we continued the journey towards the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This time, camping in the Gorgeous Nantahala National Forest. Nantahala is Cherokee for “land of the noonday sun” a very fitting name for this beautiful forest. The forest is half a million acres of pristine woodlands. A true beauty to explore. Our campsite for the night was located at Lake Santeetlah, a mountain lake surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest. A really pretty and relaxing place to camp.

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Next stop – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park