Philadelphia- is this feasible?

Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:14 PM
  #1  
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Philadelphia- is this feasible?

We are planning our Labor Day weekend trip to Philadelphia. We think that we would like to drive out to Valley Forge, but don't want to rent a car for our entire trip.

Our flight gets in Friday around 10 am or so, and I was thinking that we could pick up a rental car at the airport and drive to Valley Forge, spend the day there, and then return the car later that night to the airport drop off and catch train from airport to downtown area to get to our hotel in Historic District (Holiday Inn).

Does this make sense? We could drop off the rental car somewhere closer to the hotel I suppose, but then we would more than likely be charged the drop charge that most rental car companies love to add when you return a car to a different spot than where you picked it up.

I guess what I am wondering if its possible to catch the train (R1) once we get back to the airport without having to go through security, etc.

Hope this isn't a dumb question! If it is, please be gentle

Thoughts? Thanks!
Cadgirl is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:37 PM
  #2  
yk
 
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I think it's okay, at least definitely the airport pick-up part.

I've lived in Philadelphia for years and went through PHL and took the Septa train a gazillion times, but never rented a car at the airport. I'm pretty sure the car rental place is not right at the airport but you'd have to take the car rental shuttle to the rental place. If that's really the case, then on your return, it is kind of a pain...

Imagine: drive to airport rental place to return car, take shuttle to the terminal, take the SEPTA train into town, walk from SEPTA station to your hotel (with luggage too?)

I'd suggest you find out how much MORE (if any) the extra drop-off charge is IF you choose to return the car IN TOWN, close to your hotel. Then you can decide if the airport return savings is worth the trouble and time (it'll take at least 60-90 minutes more for the airport return), and don't forget to add in the fare to ride SEPTA.
yk is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:42 PM
  #3  
 
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Check with the car rental companies, they may not charge you a drop off fee since it is in the same city, or they may wave the fee, since business is pretty bad for alot of the rental companies.

Never hurts to ask. We used to rent at Newark Airport and drop off in the city with no drop off charge. That was National Car Rental and AVIS.

There's a great outlet shopping site in Philly called Fraklin Mills, you might want to stop there if your kids are looking for school stuff, a mile of outlet stores in the mall, and GREAT prices.
travelbuff is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Check and see if you can drop off inside the city close to the hotel w/o drop charges, I know National/Enterprise does this in some cities. You don't say how many of you are traveling together, but if the rental car company is going to charge drop charges, you might think that "you and the kids" get dropped at the hotel with bags etc, and that only one person returns the car to the airport. That way you don't all have to schlep on the rental car bus back to the terminal,take SEPTA into town, etc.
meath1 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:59 PM
  #5  
Amy
 
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Unless Valley Forge is an absolute must for someone in your group, I'd gently suggest that you spend the time in the city with no worries about a car. I'm a history buff, but have never found Valley Forge to be exceptionally interesting; I definitely wouldn't want to spend a full day there. (Unlike, for instance, the Gettysburg battlefields.) There really wasn't a whole lot that happened there, of course.

And three days in the city is minimal for the many things that there are to see and do. Of course, if you've all been in the city before, that's a different matter; in that case, I can understand going further afield.

There are many great threads on what to see and do in Philadelphia; any questions, I'd be happy to try to answer for you.
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-itinerary.cfm
Amy is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 06:42 PM
  #6  
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Thanks everyone. Let me switch my question up a bit. I want to save Independence Hall, Liberty Bell etc. to our first full day in Philadelphia (Saturday). If we skip Valley Forge, then please recommend something else for us to do to keep ourselves busy for a half day on Friday when we arrive. I assume we'll tucker out pretty early since we are getting up so darn at the crack of dawn to catch our flight from Chicago.

Oh, its just the two of us, myself and fiance (no kids).

Thanks again!
Cadgirl is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 07:17 PM
  #7  
yk
 
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What else do you have planned for the rest of the long weekend? If you tell us your itinerary for the other days, it's probably more useful. (No point for us to tell you to visit XYZ on Friday if you have already planned to do that on Sunday instead.)
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Aug 2nd, 2009, 07:20 PM
  #8  
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I have nothing else planned at this point
Cadgirl is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 07:31 PM
  #9  
yk
 
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Philadelphia Museum of Art is open late on Fridays until 8:45pm. It has an "art after 5" program every Friday with great live music: http://www.philamuseum.org/artafter5/

Of course, the galleries are open too aside from the music.
yk is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 11:07 AM
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Ditto on the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is considered one of the best Art Museums in the U.S. I also agree with the comment on Valley Forge. Although the Park is huge, it might not be worth the time and distance. Also, the Norman Rockwell Museum is wonderful. A walk down South Street could be an option as well as a visit to Penns Landing. There might be some event at Penns Landing or you can take a ferry over to Camden, NJ and visit the Aquarium. The Aquarium is good but not as good as the one in Baltimore. Also, if you get a chance, try one of the Steven Starr Restaurants. They are considered some of the best in the city. Budakun is my favorite and is close to the Holiday Inn in Old City. You will need reservations. Maybe make one for Budakun before you arrive? Have a great trip.
ShawnRodgers is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 11:29 AM
  #11  
yk
 
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I'm not sure which museum is ShawnRodgers is actually thinking of, but I'm pretty sure he didn't mean Norman Rockwell Museum. That museum is in Stockbridge, MA, over 200 miles away from Philadelphia.
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Aug 4th, 2009, 11:44 AM
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Sorry, It has closed It used to be at 5th and Walnut. I am dating myself. Was thinking about the great things I have done over the years in Philadelphia as a resident. I just googled the location and found that the collection is now at Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia. The link is http://www.philadelphiahistory.org/ It was always a great place to visit and see the works of Norman Rockwell. At leas the illustrations did not leave philadelphia. They could have easily shipped them to Stckbridge, MA. I am not sure if Cadgirl would be interested in Rockwell.

Sorry for the confusion.
ShawnRodgers is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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Yes. There was a Norman Rockwell museum--in the Curtis Building.

http://www.ushistory.org/tour/tour_rock.htm

"The former Norman Rockwell Museum is closed, and its collection of prints is on display at the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia."

Do stop at the Curtis Building on Sixth Street near Independence Hall to see the Dream Garden, the marvelous glass mosaic designed by artist Maxfield Parrish and executed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios.

http://www.ushistory.org/tour/tour_dreamgarden.htm
kmbp is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 11:54 AM
  #14  
yk
 
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Wow! I had lived in Philadelphia for 6 years and never heard of the NOrman Rockwell collection, nor the Dream Garden! And even after spending several years here on Fodors, I don't think they were ever mentioned. This is fantastic and makes me want to go visit Philadelphia ASAP!
yk is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 12:16 PM
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Perfect half-day activity in Philly for the day of your arrival: Flavors of Philly food tour. It begins at 1:30 p.m. in the heart of the city. It's a guided walking tour and you stop by 6 different food venues and sample different Philadelphia foods, and learn about the city.

http://www.cityfoodtours.com/philade....cfm?tourid=18

If the timing doesn't work for you there are other types of food tours at different times through the same company.

My family did the Flavors of Philly tour on a recent visit and it was enjoyable and informative. We did it on the last day of our trip -- it would have been even better on the first day.

This is also rated the #1 Philadelphia attraction on tripadvisor.
bakerstreet is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 12:31 PM
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Ditto on the Tiffany Dream Garden. It is a must see. I knew some people who tried to buy it years ago. They were told no way. It does not cost anything to see. It is right in the lobby of the Curtis Building. When I first saw it years ago, I wondered how many people each day walk past the Mosaic and never realized it was one of the best pieces of priceless artwork in the city.
ShawnRodgers is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 01:45 PM
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The historic sites in Old City can easily fill up one day or more (Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Elfreth's Alley, Christ Church, National Constitution Center, Franklin Court, Second Bank of the United States, Carpenter's Hall, Physick House, Powel House, Betsy Ross House, Arch Street Meeting House, etc.).

Will echo the idea of going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is excellent. Depending on what time you're ready to sightsee on Friday and what your interests are, there are many options:

-Franklin Institute (a very good science museum)
-Rodin Museum (sculpture by Rodin)
-Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (a worthy smaller art museum)
-University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
-Rosenbach Museum and Library (private library)
-Masonic Temple
bachslunch is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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You can read about casino owner Steve Wynn buying the Tiffany Dream Garden--and how it happend that it did not leave Philadelophia after all--on the link I provided upthread.

For Art after 5 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Friday nights, tables and chairs are set up in the Great Stair Hall for table service of cocktails, appetizers, and desserts. Not certain if it's happening again this year, but last year they also had martini service on the outdoor steps facing the parkway and city hall.

Did you know that from the main door leading out to those steps, you can see work by three generations of the Calder family--Alexander, his father and his grandfather. A large mobile by Alexander Calder is suspended behind you in the museum. At the end of the parkway before you is the Swann Memorial Fountain by his father Alexander Stirling Calder. And extend your line of vision further to see the statue of William Penn atop City Hall by grandfather Alexander Milne Calder.

Enjoy your visit!
kmbp is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 06:52 PM
  #19  
yk
 
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Yes, I knew about the 3 generations of Calder lined up along Ben Franklin Parkway. Forgot how I found out about it (perhaps a docent tour at the PMA), and thought that was really cool!
yk is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 07:46 AM
  #20  
 
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Let's not forget about Rocky Balboa running up the PMA steps. If the weather is nice, a bike ride around Fairmont Park is always a winner. I once remember being on my bike and watching a bus load of middle school aged children, leave their school bus and all run up the steps, stop at the top and jump with their fists in the air. Just one of a number of incredible sightings in this great city.
ShawnRodgers is offline  

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