Destination: Philadelphia

Travel Morality Tales

Travel Morality Tales Screen shot from commercial for DIRECTV

Parsing the hidden travel advice in two DirecTV commercials

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Two Cheers for Gloom

Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel

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Dr. Phil Hops Aboard the Acela

Dr. Phil Hops Aboard the Acela Photo by Danielle Scott via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Danielle Scott via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The talk show host and self-help kingpin will film a special episode on Amtrak’s Acela Express on September 9, Gawker reports. According to the press release, Dr. Phil will be “speaking with Amtrak customers about everyday problems.” Somebody see if he can do something about those rubbery, microwaved turkey sandwiches, OK?


Trip Planning: Museums on Twitter

Trip Planning: Museums on Twitter Photo by biskuit via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by biskuit via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The experiment: ignore various, er, discussions over whether Twitter is good, distracting, or evil and find other ways to use it to enhance future travel experiences and planning. Since I tend to like museums big, small, and flat-out odd, I figured I would see what some U.S. museums are doing with it.

I’ll admit, I didn’t use the most scientific of methods. I searched Twitter for the term “museum” and, click by click by click, signed up for the first couple dozen on the list.

The information started to drip, drab, and, in some cases, flow in. Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, famous for its jars of medical oddities, was (and I love this!) offering free health screenings (@MutterMuseum); Northport, Alabama’s Kentuck Museum (@KentuckMuseum) wanted you to put its April 24 poetry festival on your calendar; and Baltimore’s Walters Museum (@walters_museum) offered up a behind-the-scenes photo of an intern working on a Roman sarcophagus and an invitation to its college night with “mash-up DJ artists, tours, & more!”

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Help for Hungry Travelers Who Can’t Handle Gluten

Having grown up with a sibling who has a major food allergy, I give a huge thumbs-up to anybody who helps ease the way for food intolerant folks on the road. Fellow travel writer (and friend) Hilary Davidson does just that on her Gluten-Free Guidebook. Her latest piece discusses Philly tourism’s online guide to gluten-free restaurants.

Know of other online guides for allergic eaters around the U.S.? We’d love to hear about them.


What We Loved This Week: Kutiman, the Scorpions, Meat (Glorious Meat)

Our contributors share a favorite travel-related experience from the past seven days.

Rob Verger
I loved this hilarious pro-flying bit by comedian Louis CK on the Conan O’Brien show. My favorite part? When he says, “Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going, ‘Oh my god, wow!’”

Valerie Conners
Meat, glorious meat! Went to one of Philly’s more interesting restaurants, Ansill, to try the special “European Barbecue.” It involved a plethora of mysterious meats (think quartered hearts and kidneys from an unidentified beast) and very tasty grilled meats served with a variety of dipping sauces. The experience brought me right back to my days living in Leuven, Belgium, and one of my fave restaurants there.

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The Economy is Affecting Hotels in Strange and Curious Ways

Photo by MrLunch via Flickr (Creative Commons)

How curious? People are going to Philadelphia—on purpose! (I keed, I keed. Please don’t throw any D batteries at me) According to the AP cities like Portland, Oregon, Philly and Palm Springs have growing tourism numbers—Portland even has hotel rates that are rising—as visitors take short-hop trips instead of visiting more far-flung destinations. Some of the visits are buoyed by cheap domestic airfares as well. 

It’s an interesting phenomenon on two fronts. First, I hope that this is the end of people not going anywhere for vacation; people are leaving home during their time off, even if it’s to visit a place that’s nearby and famous for drug rehab or Cheez Whiz. Second, for hotels, a spate of satellite-style properties is likely in the cards. The Ace is already open in Palm Springs, for example, and rates at the Nines in Portland are at Crazy Eddie levels. As long as we don’t see any hotels with cheesesteak-themed spa treatments, I fully support this trend. 


Morning Links: Mexico Travel Alert, Mardi Gras Tips and More

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What We Loved This Week: Flip Video, Language Lessons, Pandora and More

Our contributors share a favorite travel-related experience from the past seven days.

Michael Yessis
I love this response to the news that Birmingham will do away with apostrophes on street signs: “If you don’t have apostrophes, is there any point in full stops, or semi-colons, or question marks? Is there any point in punctuation at all?” Indeed.

Sophia Dembling
I already love my Flip Video camera, a gift from Santahubby. And I love the Hocking Hills region of Ohio. Now I learn that the Hocking Hills Tourism Association is lending Flip Ultra cameras to visitors staying at an association member property, no cost. Double shot of love! (Triple, if you count Santahubby.)

Eva Holland
This might sound crazy considering the array of not-available-elsewhere experiences that New York City offers, but what I loved most about my first full week here was having access to Pandora again. The site, which helps listeners discover more music similar to their old favorites, cut off all non-U.S. users awhile back. Yesterday, I plugged in “Etta James,” and have been enjoying Candi Staton ever since:

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What We Loved This Week: Christmas in Germany, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and More

German Christmas Market Photo by Terry Ward
Hamburg Christmas market by Terry Ward

World Hum contributors share a favorite travel-related experience from the past seven days.

Terry Ward
German Christmas Markets. I’ve been drinking in the holiday cheer as much as possible since arriving in Hamburg. Tchotckes are everywhere. But the best way to get in the spirit is by hanging in the glühwein huts at the Christmas markets and going stall to stall sampling things like grünkohl (a hot dish made with kale) and lebkuchen (ginger bread).

Julia Ross
I finally caught Slumdog Millionaire this week and was swept away by director Danny Boyle’s breathless, vibrant take on life in modern Mumbai. The film’s conclusion, staged in the city’s iconic, Raj-era train station, serves as a hopeful counterpoint to the terrorist siege that occurred there just last month.

Pam Mandel
“The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz. Dominican history, a vocabulary of nerd culture references and the eternal pursuit of sex ... all in voices so real I expected to see the narrators sitting on my couch surfing our WiFi every time I put the book down.

David Farley
I love Slate’s five-day Well-Traveled section, in general, and this week’s installment, in particular. Tony Perrottet does historical perverts better than anyone. The Pervert’s Grand Tour is a fun and intriguing read.

Kelsey Timmerman
Anna Quindlen’s piece in Newsweek, Stuff Is Not Salvation. Like everyone else, I’m wrapping up my holiday shopping, and she provides a great perspective on our consumer culture: “Ask people what they’d grab if their house were on fire. No one ever says it’s the tricked-up microwave they got at Wal-Mart.”

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Philadelphia’s Newest Attraction: It’s ‘Comcastic’

Photo by Valerie Conners.

The Liberty Bell. Independence Hall. Cheesesteaks. The lobby of cable giant Comcast’s world headquarters? The list of Philadelphia’s attractions has grown by one this summer, surprising pretty much everyone in the City of Brotherly Love, not least of all, Comcast.

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Philadelphia Welcomed Record Amount of International Visitors in 2007

More good news for the City of Brotherly Love, which, as we noted, recently shook off “its regular litany of national ranking dishonors.”


Philadelphia: It’s Not Just America’s Fattest, Ugliest, Most Miserable City

iStockPhoto

It’s with apparent pride that Philadelphia shakes off its regular litany of national ranking dishonors—it’s already been named among the fattest, ugliest and most miserable cities in America—to accept a ranking it can finally be proud of: fifth most walkable U.S. city.

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‘Which Middle East Capital Was Once Known as Philadelphia?’

That and other intriguing questions (and answers) can be found in the San Francisco Chronicle travel section’s new geography quiz. Presumably, Hot Americans on Television Botching Geography Questions need not apply—if they do, please send us the video.


This Magazine Cover Has the Philadelphia Hotel Association Running Scared

Philadelphia Magazine usually distributes about 6,000 copies of its glossy pub to hotel rooms around the city. Not this month, though. November’s issue features a cover story about murder in the city, with a subhead that reads: “One terrifying night on the streets—and why everything we’re doing to stop the shooting won’t work.” Philadelphia Hotel Association executive director Ed Grose “urged hotels to think twice before providing guests with copies” of the magazine, according to a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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