STAY PHILLY: PART ONE
Much too often we get fascinated with a trip that will take us far far away from home; a place completely different from our everyday, someplace “exotic”, someplace unfamiliar. While moments and trips like those are indeed special, I am increasingly gaining a great appreciation for the quickie getaway, to a place not too far, a place nearby that I may have taken for granted. My goal in 2017 is to spend more time on these mini-trips next doors. To visit as many small cities and tiny towns, all the very many unassuming but lovely places nearby. Places that would fit the bill would be within a 4hour drive from New York City- many are in New York State, other places are in neighboring NJ, CT PA or DC. I may cheat and hop on a plane- but it can’t be more than 2hours away. These trips would have to be no longer than 2 nights and oftentimes a night would have to do. My goal is not to do every single thing, but just to get a taste, a sample. I won’t stress doing too much and I won’t script out an itinerary (YIKES!!!). Me with no itinerary is like inspector Gadget with no gadgets.
To kickstart my self-imposed challenge, I headed to Philly for a night- yup One Night only. Philly isn’t exactly a small or hidden destination and while I’ve been there before, I realized that so much of it is unknown to me. Also- I really wanted to check out a single neighborhood- not really the entire city. I settled (sounds like a compromise, but that’s not what I mean) on Old City.
INTERESTINGLY, the more I travel the more I realize how important where I stay means to me. Yes, I’ll spend most of the time out of the room, but I really love being in a space I can look forward to passing out in at night.
No place checked off all my requirements quite like Lokal in Old Town. This new boutique hotel (opened this year) has an amazing concept called invisible service- which basically means in many ways it feels like an upscale vacation rental and less of a traditional hotel. So, gone are the expected lobby, lobby attendants, room service etc, although those are available if you need. For someone like myself who really is no fuss, I much prefer this laid-back version of service. I can just show up to my place, key in my code and be on my way- no waiting in lobby for checking in and out and all those formalities.
I’m a sucker for detail and design- you can tell so much care and thought went into the space. I walked in and was slightly ticked off that I was only spending a night. The open layout and windows looking out to the city with the cobblestoned streets of Old City down below made it feel even that much more special. Blogger Tip: before I even set a bag down, I get a little picture crazy (see below) doing my best to capture the space, frozen in perfection, before my chaotic self turns the place upside down.
With no itinerary in sight and no knowledge of what lay north, south, east or west, I do what I’ve come to love to do- I step out into the streets and start walking, a little aimlessly at first and then I can sniff it, it could be the sound of people laughing, the sound of music, the smell of food, or just a tiny sliver of something in the horizon…and off I go- come what may.
Return Thursday for Part 2.