Happiness Highlights from Philadelphia

I’ve been to Philadelphia once before, and the impression of the “City of Brotherly Love” I left with was that there was very little love in the city at all. I remember beautiful architecture and inspiring stories of our Founding Fathers, but the locals I met were mostly rude. Because of that visit a few years ago, I wasn’t exactly eager to go back; we added it to our itinerary more out of obligation than anticipation.

Thank God for obligation – and second chances.

Philadelphia 2011-07-19 009 Thanks to a light work schedule, we had ample time to explore the city last week. We also had a VIP access pass from the local tourism organization, which offered us free access to just about every major attraction in town. We put on our tourist hats, slathered ourselves in sunscreen, and set off to soak up as much as we could.

Philadelphia 2011-07-19 163 I remembered why I love to travel.

I got to roam, read, taste, and touch things new and old. I rode the train, watched the people, and hailed a cab. We slurped noodles in Chinatown, ate pizza on South Street, and came to a unanimous decision that cheesteak is not actually the best food this town has to offer.

at the top

Philadelphia 2011-07-20 129

Philadelphia 2011-07-20 242


Philadelphia 2011-07-20 402 Lorenzos-1


Philadelphia 188What made me happy this week was the pulse of a city, and the art of this city. It made me feel alive, the way being inside a breathing city always does.

What made me even happier was seeing the way that life fueled the people I love the most. I have always loved the sights, sounds, and scents of a city, and I love them all even more knowing that my husband and kids get it.

They get me.

And there is, perhaps, no greater happiness than that.

Rodan Museum-17

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  1. Sheila says:

    These “Happiness Highlights” posts always make me smile and my eyes fill with tears.

    I’d love to blame the explosion of crazy-pregnant-lady hormones I’ve got going on but I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m just so damned happy for you.

    And a little jealous because I lost my mojo. I’m getting it back though. Sort of.

    But seriously, keep grabbing life by the balls, okay? It gives me hope and helps me continue to do the same.

    So very much love to you guys.

    PS : Tell Jared he needs to lean a little bit more to eat that pizza the right way :)

  2. Danielle says:

    Until 2006, I lived about 30-40 minutes outside of Philly. I love it like no other city in the world. I am so glad that you got to experience the city that I know and love. Fills my heart with joy. I hope you also got to have a delicious hoagie. I really miss good sandwiches.

  3. naomi says:

    Oh that last shot made me SMILE!

    Isn’t it the coolest when your family grows up enough to start “getting each other” ?? My kids are finally at an age where they say tings like “oh mom would like this” or “we should do this because ____ would want to”, etc. It IS one of the greatest happinesses!

  4. Nanna says:

    LOVE the Rodin pic! Best ever. Except all the others. So tell me this. What do you think was the difference in how you perceived the people – what MADE the difference, I mean? Surely you didn’t just get into a rude cell on your first visit?

  5. Lisa says:

    LOVE these pics! They’re really great! I’m glad you were able to enjoy Philly the second time around. I’ve never spent any time there that didn’t involve an airport layover, but I’d like to see it someday.

  6. i wholeheartedly believe it is our attitude that defines our experiences. if we are crazy happy then rude behavior is easy to overlook, excuse or ignore.

    that last photo is my new favorite of yinz.

  7. Megan says:

    Love the last photo. And the one of Jared trying to keep pizza grease off of his phone. :)

    So glad you had a better experience this time.

  8. carol anne says:

    I’m so glad you loved my hometown. I’m sorry the people you encountered the first time were unpleasant. In my humble opinion I think the people you’ll meet there, at least in South Philly are the salt of the earth.

    Even though you had passes to most of the attractions I hope you got the chance to check out all the free art throughout the city as well.

  9. Judy says:

    I’m so glad you gave Philadelphia a second chance. I lived in the suburbs and took the train to Center City every day to work and I grew to love the city. It does have a pulse and I felt it every day. There was always something new around every corner. I moved away and I miss it so much. I’m going to move back. My secret was I smiled at everyone; a few didn’t smile back, but most did. I made many friends there; it has a soul. I’m glad you “get” it; I “got” it too!

  10. That last picture just makes me smile! I think you’ve found your Christmas card.

    “Thinking of you during the Holidays!”

  11. Awesome pics and awesome fun! I had to laugh at the Rocky stairs! I was on a biz trip to Philly a few years ago with about 20 women. It was about 20 degrees outside. One evening they decided to take a cab and run up the Rocky stairs. I, however did not join them, lol!
    Keep enjoying life! And keep sharing it with us Britt!
    PS. I thought of you this weekend as we had to empty the graywater tank on the RV! :-)
    Don’t get distracted by the SHINY!

  12. Jamie says:

    Great pictures. So glad you saw Liberty Bell. Oddly, when I went as a child during the Bicentennial (1976), that’s the one thing that made the biggest impression on me. Touching the crack in the Liberty Bell.

  13. Poppy says:

    Love the Thinker shot. :D

  14. You are having the time of your life.I love all the pictures.I traveled all over the globe in my younger days.It was soooooooooooooo much fun.And nobody can take that away from you.

  15. We just flew back from Big Sur and it was an RV paradise – they were everywhere and I managed to bring up your name to my hub at least twice a day … so far he isn’t biting on the ‘roadtrip’.
    But I am working on him! Maybe he will fly in and meet me in places ;)
    Have fab recommendations for spots when you hit that side of the world – we had a wonderful time eating our way down the coast!

  16. [...] Photos by Britt Reints AKPC_IDS += [...]

  17. HeatherS says:

    My favorite is definitely the thinker. I am not only mad jealous of you visiting all these awesome cities but I am mad jealous that your kids are eating all the different foods. If we traveled the country we would came back with a heavy binder titled, “Chicken Tenders Across America: Detailed Reviews and Reports.” It’s awesome that they are enjoying so many different aspects of your adventure!

  18. Mark Mills says:

    I didn’t really get the city when growing up in south Jersey but when we visited family a few years back and walked the streets and enjoyed the food, I was hooked. My wife is from Philly and she has thoughts from time to time, of moving back. I’m ready to clear the Florida boarder and head north whenever she is ready!

  19. [...] recently spent a few days in Philadelphia, my second visit to the City of Brother Love, and I think I have finally figured out why people live there. Although my first visit solidified [...]

  20. martymankins says:

    Love that ending photo. One of these days, I’ll see these parts of the country you are seeing, like Philly.

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