Philly art and eats

philadelphia museum of artDecided to take a quick day trip to Philadelphia to visit with extended family. Our choice for this rainy Sunday was to spend the day at the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, home to the “Rocky” workout steps. Surprisingly, none of us had been there, though it had been on our to-do list for years. Our easy Sunday morning drive into the city was topped off by the spectacle of scullers on the Schuykill at Boathouse Row.

Once we met up and paid our entrance fees (Sunday’s museum fees are by donation), we decided to buck the crowds and start at the top, working our way down. Our intuition made for a happy accident, as we began historically, progressing from the religious iconography of the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and ending up at Modern and Contemporary art. We loved the temples, portals, palaces, teahouses, and cloisters that centered each historical exhibit on the second floor, giving a sense of the space one would have encountered these art pieces originally. Re-creating simple rooms and elaborate parlors helped put the work in context.

Needing sustenance before exploring the first floor, we went for a quick walk to a colorfully-restored 19th century firehouse for an extended brunch (the brass firepole is still there, right next to the restrooms). With the towering doors opened to the gentle rain at Jack’s Firehouse, we feasted on Philly cheesesteak omelets and fabulous French fries. My aunt, who hadn’t been in the states for a year, indulged in the Big Cheeseburger for a hearty taste of Americana. We were delighted to see so many locally-sourced items on the menu, and pleasantly surprised with the warm chocolate chip cookies that arrived with the quite reasonable check. Satiated, we welcomed the walk back to finish our art survey, from Impressionists to Dada to Postmodern. For us, a mix of awe-inspiring with the ridiculous, sublime settings and goofy postulations, just great cultural immersion and family reunion, all rolled together in one artful experience.

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