The Wissahickon

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Yesterday we took a stroll along the Schuylkill River trail, intending to turn back toward the city once we reached Falls Bridge. Instead, we reached Falls Bridge and then kept going, eventually turning right into the Wissahickon, passing underneath the Henry Avenue Bridge and taking the bike trail through the gorge. The whole endeavor from home and back was about 17.5 miles, which explains why we did not get around to doing laundry yesterday. Instead, we fell asleep on the couch for most of the afternoon. It feels good to get another random item crossed off the ol’ Philadelphia bucket list.

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Trust Me

I know I’ve told you about the Reading Terminal Market before, but it’s time to be more explicit: Beiler’s is an absolute must-visit. I skip just about everything else at the RTM these days in favor of Beiler’s pastries: most notably the donuts (made on-site) and the sticky buns. It’s a sensitive topic, though, as my father’s side of the family has long laid claim to a much-lauded and top-secret sticky bun recipe… Pinky promise not to tell them about what the RTM has on offer.

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Morris Arboretum

I made it out to Morris Arboretum on a recent muggy day. It’s a bear to get to on public transit from Center City, Philadelphia, but if you have a car, this place is worth the lovely drive. I was especially impressed with the intricate and detailed miniature garden railway, which I’ve heard is also spectacular when decked out in holiday finery each December.

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Trailblazer

On my last day in Israel, Dad suggested a quick day trip over to the port town of Dor. It’s so off-the-beaten path that it wasn’t even in my guidebook index or anything, so I guess you could (and should) call him a trailblazer. These days, Dor is overshadowed by the more popular Caesarea, another port town with amazing ruins, which worked in our favor because we had the little Dor museum all to ourselves.

Some fun facts about Dor: Napoleon invaded it one time! There are Napoleonic ships and swords and treasures buried in the Dor harbor, some of which are displayed in Dor’s museum, and others of which are still visible under the sea when the water is at its clearest.

Also, Baron Rothschild founded a glass factory in Dor, for the purposes of bottling holy land wine, but the glass was pretty murky and the unprofitable factory was abandoned after a few years. Even rich, successful people fail sometimes! The factory became what is now the Mizgaga Museum.

After the museum, we snuck out onto a private beach for easier access to the Dor ruins. Then we climbed a little hill for the best view. The ruins are not as well-excavated as the ones in Caesarea, but I think that adds to their charm.

Afterwards, we visited the nearby public beach for ice cream and a swim. It was a perfect end to a perfect trip (that may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not!). Points to my dad who suggested the outing, trailblazer that he is. And a happy Fathers’ Day, too! xo

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Bahá’í Gardens

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My dad and I visited Haifa’s famous Bahá’í Gardens for an English-language tour.

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We were mostly there out of appreciation for the amazing landscaping, but we were hoping for an informative tour, too.

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What we got was a tour in bored monotone, never delving deeper than what we could have found through a cursory internet search.

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We learned that the religion was founded by a guy named Bob (actually, Bab, but I didn’t know the spelling during the tour).

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At one point, to explain the significance of the gardens, our guide asked: “Why gardens? Why did Bob not choose some other thing?” But then she didn’t really explain why not some other thing, so I couldn’t tell you.

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One other peeve from the tour: modesty.

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Not to sound all judgmental (okay, actually, I do), but I did my research before the tour and the takeaway was that my shoulders and knees should be covered, because we would be visiting a holy site.

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Our tour guide reiterated the policy and claimed that immodest persons would not be allowed entrance to the gardens.

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And then she just BRAZENLY let all these men and women in who were wearing short shorts and sleeveless shirts.

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It was shoulder and knee madness!

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So there I was, like a jobroni, wearing jeans and a t-shirt in ridiculous ninety degree weather.

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And Bob was silent!

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But the landscaping portion of the tour did not disappoint.

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This was what the guidebooks refer to as a “must-see” and I have to agree.

 

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Beaches

My mum took me to the beach daily, sometimes twice daily. She claimed it was a little cold – chillier than usual for June – but the temperature felt exactly right to me, and the water was lovely, with and without cloud cover.

Here were our main haunts of the week:

#1:

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#2:

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#3:

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Decked Out

I spent much of my time in Israel sitting out on my parents’ deck, reading, catching up with mum and dad, getting some sun during the day, and enjoying the atmosphere at night. I ditched all my plans for extensive tourism as soon as I experienced the bliss of putting my feet up on the outdoor coffee table, iced coffee in hand.

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P.S. Don’t even try to get me to feel ashamed about the pun in the title. I will never feel shame about wordplay. NEVER!

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