Joan Mead-Matsui

Guest Travel Writers and Bloggers

Food on Foot: Travel Book Review

Travel Book Review

 

“FOOD ON FOOT”

A History of Eating on TRAILS and in the Wild

by Demet Guzey

Freelance food and wine writer and Author Demet Güzey, Ph.D., has climbed some rather high mountains in her lifetime.

“Food on Foot” is a captivating look at famous expeditions and unknown explorers who have demonstrated their ability or lack thereof to carry or forage food.

Guzey is a consummate hiker and food enthusiast with many published articles to her credit and Food on Foot (April 8, 2017; ISBN: 978-1-4422-5506-7) is the next installment in the “Food on the Go” series.

History on the Go

 

She introduces readers to the history of the human expedition, from the Incan pilgrimages at Machu Picchu to what we’ve come to know today as street vendors and food trucks. She guides her readers through the Arctic, across barren deserts, and over mountains to give firsthand accounts through “the lens of food.” In addition to her thought-provoking writing, you’ll also find photographs, expert opinions, and recipes.

Humanity is limited by the food we can find along the way and her book is dedicated to examining the ways we have approached the problem. Her book is also an invaluable educational guide with an extensive bibliography that can be used for follow-up learning. Pages and pages of sources illustrate Guzey’s thirst for knowledge and her commitment to providing accurate and compelling information.

Follow this link www.demetguzey.com to learn more about Guzey.

 

An Organized Traveler: “5 Tips”

Travel tips that go beyond what to pack in a suitcase

courtesy of Larry Schessel, Clakit Founder

What you pack in your bag isn’t the only important travel information to know

 

Besides the holiday season, summer is an ideal time to travel and go on vacation. The weather tends to be beautiful, kids are on break from school and there seem to be more activities available to do. While picking out the perfect destination and making a list of must visit sight-seeing spots is fun and exciting, on the other hand, packing can be a nightmare and cause you to rip your hair out. We all know to roll our clothes instead of folding them or to wrap liquids in bags and plastic wrap to prevent them leaking everywhere, but here are a few tips that go beyond what to pack in a bag.

  • Try to organize your bag so the items you need the most are easily accessible and can be grabbed without digging through it. Searching for items is a hassle and stressful, to begin with, but when you’re pulling all your items out to find whatever it is you’re looking for everyone around you can see what else you have in your bag. This exposure can make you even more vulnerable to theft.
  • If you have a medical condition, such as asthma, diabetes or a severe allergy, you should keep your medication and anything else you may need in one specific spot and let your travel companions know where it is so that they don’t have to waste time digging through your items if an emergency occurs.
  • Try not to put anything in your pockets while traveling, even while going through an airport. Not only can your items easily fall out, but it leaves you susceptible to pickpockets especially at check-in areas and security lines where there tend to be a lot of people. Attach ClakIt’s StrapPack pouches to the straps of your backpack and keep items such as passport, wallet, smartphone and any other item you need to have readily available secure from wandering fingers.
  • If you can, make copies of your important documents that you are bringing along on your trip and keep one set with you and the other in your checked bag just in case your bag is stolen or you get pickpocketed.
  • Luggage theft will always be an issue for airports. Make sure to mark your bags with a bright and distinguishable tag, ribbon or luggage belt that can help you identify your bag. It is also suggested to use Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks for your bags, including carry-ons. Passengers have had their bags that were stored in an overhead compartment rummaged through and items stolen while they slept or weren’t paying attention.

 

 About ClakIt

 

The ClakIt Clip and StrapPacks were conceived when the founder, Larry Schessel, was hiking in the California mountains and realized how irritating it was to have to stop and remove his backpack every time he needed to take a picture, drink water or eat a snack. ClakIt StrapPacks provide on-demand storage on the front of the body where items can be safe from theft, easily accessible yet hands-free. They securely clip onto any strap in seconds creating comfortable non-slip storage that can be interchanged and moved based on specific activities and needs.

 

“Clakit” and keep moving: Backpack Debunked

Clakit, Inc. pouches 

The possibilities are endless

Two of my favorite outdoor recreational activities are hiking and fly fishing. Some days, I don’t want to lug a heavy backpack or fishing vest. The Clakit strap and pouch are extremely comfortable and convenient for both applications.  

Are you tired of rummaging through your backpack in search of that one item you need?

Larry Schessel, Clakit founder, isn’t downplaying the importance of backpacks. He’s an avid hiker and traveler and while knapsacks serve a purpose, Schessel says, 
“They (backpacks) are great for carrying things on your back. But they are inconvenient for accessing gear you often need, like your smartphone for pictures, water and snacks.”

Carry your cell phone and other important items “under your nose.” ClakIt travel pouch will securely hold your smartphone, money, passport, etc.

The idea for Clakit was born while Schessel was hiking in the California mountains. Getting his hands on items he needed from his backpack was a laborious task.

“Every time we needed something we had to stop, take off our backpacks, search for the item and repack – whether water, smartphone, map, wallet, snack or permits,” Schessel noted.

Backpack storage problems Solved

Schessel designed The StrapPackTM by Clakit to solve his backpack storage problems by allowing easy access to valuables. Secure yet accessible pouches easily clip to your backpack’s front shoulder straps, so you can safely stash your belongings within sight and reduce the risk of theft. For folks who don’t want to wear a backpack, Schessel offers the Clakit Strap System ($14.95). Patented nylon clips secure the pouches to the strap system for a lightweight alternative to a pack.
Accessories available are the Smartphone Pouch Bundle ($19.95), Pocket Pouch Bundle ($14.95), Water Bottle Pouch Bundle ($14.95), Adjustable Utility Pouch Bundle ($19.95) and Two-Zipper Pouch and Clip Bundle ($19.95) and the Water Bottle Pouch Bundle ($19.95). The options are endless and the price is very reasonable and affordable.
I’ve sampled the Clakit strap system, clip and the Smartphone Pouch Bundle while walking our recently rescued Alaskan Malamute/German Shepherd pup. We take one to two-mile walks almost every day and as you can well imagine, he’s very energetic and strong. I was at a loss for a safe, convenient pouch or fanny pack to carry my cell phone and keys. The Smartphone Pouch saved the day.

Ideal for your commute and travel adventures 

Keep your valuables “under your nose” while commuting or traveling. StrapPackTM pouches allow you to have eyes on your belongings and help to prevent theft.

Schessel says, “Storing gear on the front pack straps just makes more sense.”

 
Clakit is available on Amazon or at clakit.com.

PigaOne: Your feet’s “best friend.”

Innovative footwear to stabilize and strengthen your feet for better performance.

PigaOne: Stabilize and Strengthen

Innovative Fitness Footwear

Balance and performance are essential to dancers, Yogis, martial artists and other athletes who often practice barefoot, but are shoe and sock-less always the way to go? That depends.

Personally, I find dance movements on a hot, sticky, cold or slick floor are a hazard and injury waiting to happen.

PigaOne is innovative footwear that’s suitable for all low-to-medium impact activities that are done barefoot, thanks to fitness enthusiast Sandra Tremblay, president and founder of PIGA, Inc., a Montreal-based company that’s making its mark in the fitness and wellness worlds.

I’ve spent my life practicing ballet, dance, yoga, pilates and fitness routines both at home and in studios and I currently own three pairs of traditional dance shoes that are well-suited for jazz and Latin-style dance moves. But for bar routines, yoga and strength building exercises, I have been searching for a product that’s a comfortable and practical alternative to barefoot. That’s when I received an email with an opportunity to sample a pair of PigaOne.

PigaOne Slippers offer a “barefoot” feeling, whether you’re practicing at the barre or balancing in your favorite yoga pose.

“Our objective was to create minimalist footwear sporting an attractive design that met the unique needs of barefoot sports enthusiasts for whom support and balance are essential,” says Tremblay.

PigaOne is the result of two years of research, development, and experimentation with a team of experts. Tremblay explained, “the dual-action PostureForceTM plantar arch support patent-pending technology stimulates the plantar arch’s nervous endings responsible for transferring the information received to the brain.”

The slippers offer a non-slip sole for added control but with a minimalist design and sensation that until now, I could only experience barefoot. Technologically-advanced fabrics are ultra-light and breathable. Tuck them in your suitcase or bag before your next travel adventure and you’ll be prepared for an impromptu class or workout while on the road.

To help this great product and take advantages of the early birds special, back it on Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2137413200/pigaone-experience-the-best-balance-activation-footwear. 

You can read more about PigaOne and purchase a pair at GETPIGA.COM.

 

 

 

Traveling Families’ Safety Checklist 

Traveling Families' Safety Checklist

Wherever you travel this summer, Krav Maga Worldwide wants you and your family to be safe.

Simple Self-Defense Skills

Traveling Families’ Safety Checklist

Personal safety experts share tips that can help protect stressed out travelers

A Traveling Families’ Safety Checklist can help to prepare you and your children for a season of family fun. If you have family travel plans this summer, more than likely you’ve thought about ways to lessen the stress and safety concerns associated with summer vacations.

Krav Maga Worldwide offers a Traveling Families’ Safety Checklist to ease your concerns as you venture out this summer. Founded in 1997, the company promotes more than 150 authorized Krav Maga locations known throughout the United States and around the world. Krav Maga develops, promotes and implements self-defense and fitness programs. You can find more information at kravmaga.com.

Traveling Families' Safety Checklist

Tips you should know before you travel

1. Traveling can frazzle your brain

Between trying to remember if you locked up the house or packed enough clothes for the kids, thinking about personal safety in airport parking lots is the last thing on most parents’ minds. However, poorly lit parking garages, arms full of luggage, confusing parking signs, forgetting where you parked and children trailing behind can make families easy targets for predators. To help families stay safe while traveling, Krav Maga Worldwide, the industry leader in self-defense and fitness, has put together a list of personal safety tips to keep in mind when at the airport, train station or in an unfamiliar city.

2. Prepare Your Kids For Travel

It is very important to prepare your children for travel. The conversation should begin prior to the trip and be reiterated in the car on the way to airport or train station. In some instances, if the importance of staying together and being prepared is not taught children can wander around potentially hurting themselves or getting lost. Airports and train stations are very large and can potentially contain different dangers.

3. Park in well-lit areas 

If you are renting a car while traveling, when you park avoid spots next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows. You want to keep your car and family as visible to as many people as possible and as such you should also avoid parking next to tall shrubs or plants that could block views of your vehicle.

4. Stay Organized 

If you are traveling with a family the best thing you can do is to stay organized. Know where objects are in your bags so you are not presenting all of your items to potential dangers. Make sure your kids know where their items are as well. If you and your family have to stop and look through a huge bag of luggage, pulling item after item out is not ideal instead know where your items are, grab what you need and go.

5. Always keep one arm and hand free of luggage and other gear

Many people travel with multiple bags, purses, laptop cases and other paraphernalia. But, if your arms and hands are tied up with bags you have no means of defending yourself from an attacker. Luggage that can stack together securely and be pulled by one handle is a safer choice than wearing and carrying numerous bags on your person. This goes to say that your kids should also be hands-free and in close proximity to you.

6. Stay Together

Even though it can be frustrating to travel in a large group, stay together. Airports and train stations are incredibly busy and it is very easy to get lost. Make sure you always have a head count on all members and inform your kids that this is extremely important.

 

 

Abington Heights Civic League, Inc. AHCL Wine Festival

Time for Wine?

Abington Heights Civic League presents,

“Cheers to Spring” Wine Festival

 

Celebrate spring at a “vintage” festival. A “Cheers to Spring” wine festival scheduled for May 6, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at South Abington Township Park, is one of the Abington Heights Civic League, Inc.’s (AHCL) biggest fundraisers. Proceeds from the event will enable the AHCL to continue to provide a myriad of services to the community. All proceeds raised benefit the community, according to Cathy Plishka, AHCL member.

“All money raised from these events is given back to the community at the end of the year,” Plishka says.

The AHCL was founded in 1931 as a means to introduce young women to the “workings” of the Federated Women’s Club and began working its magic in the community with its first kindergarten class in 1945. AHCL also opened the first library with a total of 750 books.

Plishka says, “Look at it (the library) now.” 

“The AHCL Dance Academy,” scholarships awarded annually to high school students, vision screening for registering kindergarten children, and Christmas trees for all the grade schools in our area are a few more examples of the benefits the organization provides.

 

Wine Festival

The Abington Heights Civic League “Cheers to Spring” Wine Festival will be held May 6, 2017, at South Abington Township Park, South Abington Township, PA.

While this is the first year for the AHCL wine celebration, supporters might also recall the Roaring 20’s Gala, two sell-out events in 2015 and 2016 that were sponsored by the civic league.

Plishka say, “For the last two years, we did a Roaring Twenties event at the Country Club of Scranton, which was very successful.”

What will you find at the festival?

For $20, Plishka says attendees can expect 11 wine vendors (and more could sign on), food, and musical entertainment by “Mace in Dickson” and “The Tisburys.” Raffles and baskets will also be available at an extra charge and 35 vendors are expected to offer their wares. Designated drivers can join in on the fun for $10.

Wineries already registered are Capra Collina, Antler Ridge Hidden Creek, Hidden Creek, Lucchi, Mucchilo Family Winery, Deep Roots Hard Cider, Iron Hart Brewery, Case Quattro Winery, Winterland Winery, and OneHope Wine.

To purchase a ticket online, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1145188532243026.

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Orvis Media Trip a commitment to quality products and environmental preservation

A warm welcome to Orvis 

One of the reasons I chose to apply for The Orvis Company affiliate program is the company’s commitment to protect and preserve our natural resources.

You’ll learn more about my recent media trip to Orvis, Manchester, VT, in upcoming posts, but for now, you should know that individuals, organizations and companies that foster a love and respect for the environment are at the top of my list. Orvis does both.

I am certainly not a master fly angler by any means, but after spending so much time wading in streams and rivers in the Northeast, with trout and other fish species swimming beside me, I understand and fully appreciate the great strides conservationists like Orvis have made in their efforts to clean up our waterways and protect them from future contamination.

Orvis donates five percent of pre-tax profits every year to protecting nature, supporting communities, and advancing canine health and well-being to the tune of $14 million in more than 25 years.

The Orvis Company is not only America’s oldest mail-order outfitter and longest continually-operating fly-fishing business. It’s an international, multi-channel retailer with a wide assortment of products and services ranging from sportswear for men and women, fine gifts and home furnishings, luggage, travel accessories, a wide assortment of pet items, and gear and technical apparel used for wing shooting and sporting clays. Orvis was founded by Charles F. Orvis in Manchester, VT in 1856.

In order to appreciate the steps already taken, you need to venture outdoors. Each hour I spend fishing, walking with my dog, Bear; and hiking is 60 or more minutes of free-time from worry or stress. It’s a therapy session for whatever ails me.

Four years ago, I participated in my first fly fishing class, sponsored by the Lackawanna Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. As time went by, I realized I needed my own equipment to fully appreciate my new hobby.

Fly fishing is a sport that takes years to master through continuous trial and error. That means hours and hours on the water and getting comfortable with your equipment.

I purchased my first Orvis fly rod and reel combo in 2012 at an Orvis-endorsed retail store, A & G Outfitters, located along the banks of the Lackawanna River in Dickson City, PA. In fact, I visit the store often during peak trout season in Northeastern Pennsylvania. A year later, I thought my youngest son, Yoshi had an interest in fly fishing so I bought an Encounter combo for him. He wasn’t overly enthusiastic about learning to fish, but I believe it’s my duty as a parent to be sure my kids get their share of the outdoors. My husband was the next recipient of an Encounter rod and reel. And yes, occasionally, we fish together.

Orvis’ guarantee is incredible. You can read more about guarantees here.

Learn fly fishing basics at a free Orvis Fly Fishing 101 course and locate a store near you by following this link. http://www.orvis.com/s/free-fly-fishing-lessons/8249?dir_id=22592&group_id=27370&cat_id=50215 

You’re also one step closer to catching a trophy trout, bass or panfish when you fish with the pros. Check out Orvis’ fly fishing and hosted trips. http://www.orvis.com/s/orvis-group-trips/9672?dir_id=22592&group_id=22958&cat_id=14007

Along with the thrill of catching a native brook trout on the fly or whatever your catch will be, take the time to appreciate the efforts of environmental groups that have labored to clean up and preserve our waterways.

Do you want to learn more about Orvis’ products and services, which run the gamut from fly fishing to outdoor gear? Follow this link to shop Orvis’ Clearance Room.

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The Lodge at Woodloch: a decade of recipes

“NURTURE with NATURE”

follow nature’s lead with seasonal recipes

Do you have a passion for nature?

You can cultivate your own well-being in much the same way you would improve or refine your garden using ingredients harvested from nature.

“NURTURE with NATURE: Seasonal Recipes for Body, Beauty and Healing,” a cookbook brought to you by The Lodge at Woodloch, is more than a collection of recipes.  It’s a “guidebook” that provides directives for anyone who seeks to discover or restore that delicate balance between living and thriving. NURTURE with NATURE is a culmination of a decade of guests’ favorite recipes.

Guests arrive at The Lodge at Woodloch, an award-winning spa destination located in the Lake region of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, knowing they will leave rejuvenated with their souls enlivened. During your stay, you will immediately understand why the lodge draws customers from near and far. Each moment of your visit is a celebration of life and come mealtime; after hiking, fly fishing, a painting or yoga class, or a spa treatment, a diverse array of dishes await you in the Tree Restaurant and Bar.

This recipe book is a celebration of the miracles of Mother Earth and her ability to provide our earth with a wide spectrum of seasonal foods, herbs and nutrients that enhance our well-being.

NURTURE with NATURE is a collaborative effort of The Lodge at Woodloch executive chef Josh Tomson and his team; Amanda Clabaugh, treatments’ manager, beverage recipes from Leslie Britt and Cindy Wasilewski, and Nathaniel Whitmore, master herbalist. Readers will find Pantry Clean-Up, Choosing Foods for the Season, a Food Rainbow, as well as more than 100 recipes. Much credit is also due to Andrea Killam, the photographer, and creative director, whose photos depict the calming environment at the lodge.

If you’ve never visited The Lodge at Woodloch, you are missing an opportunity to experience a world-renowned, adults-only spa resort destination and a culinary wonderland. The recipe book only scratches the surface of the locally-sourced, garden-to-table cuisine you will find.

As I perused the pages of NURTURE with NATURE, I made my list of must-have ingredients so I could begin to sample several of the recipes. Most of the ingredients are readily available at your local farmers’ market or in the organic herbs, fruits and vegetables sections of many grocery “superstores” or online. A few of the offerings are “crispy trout with wild leeks,” “oyster mushroom & homemade ricotta flatbread,” and “brown rice veggie burger.” You should also reap the benefits of the renewal beauty and healing recipes, which are also arranged according to the season. Try the spring “Calming Banana Mask” to soothe and smooth your winter-weary complexion and the “softening hand and foot scrub” before sandal weather is in full swing.

I’ve been a guest at The Lodge at Woodloch and Woodloch Pines, two properties owned and managed by the Kiesendahl family. Rest assured, you will be pampered by your hosts.

NURTURE with NATURE was published in December 2016 and you can purchase a copy by following this link: http://shop.thelodgeatwoodloch.com/cookbook

To see what’s on the schedule at The Lodge at Woodloch, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Historic Philadelphia in 24 hours

The City of Brotherly Love: 

Experience historic Philly in 24 hours

Do your plans include an overnight stay in The City of Brotherly Love?

historic Philadelphia

historic Philadelphia’s skyline is a mix of architectural elements and styles.

Why historic Philadelphia? 

By far, Philadelphia is one of my favorites cities to visit.

“The City of Brotherly Love” tugs at my heart.

Whether you choose to take in the sights on foot or perched on a streetcar, be sure to detach from your electronic devices long enough to appreciate the modern and historic buildings that line Philadelphia’s wide streets. Keep your camera close by because there’s something for everyone, whether you’re tuned into people watching or architecture. Philadelphia offers an array of stunningly beautiful architectural gems.

You’ll find a list and descriptions of Philly’s treasures here and a rundown of the Top 10 Historical Buildings in Philly.

A thriving birthplace 

Are you aware Philadelphia’s history dates back to 1682? I also learned something new while researching the city’s rich history. Philly and I share a birthday. William Penn founded Philly on October 27 to serve as the capital of his Pennsylvania Colony. According to http://www.ushistory.org/us/4c.asp, Penn aimed to draft a plan for the city that left the horrors of crowded European urban life behind.

Learn more about historic Philadelphia here.

 

What makes Philly unique from other metropolitan hubs? History abounds on the streets of Philadelphia, with miles of historic and cultural icons you won’t want to miss. Don’t forget to bring along your camera (and selfie stick) so you can capture every photo op. All photos by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Whenever possible, take your cue from residents and guests – a walking tour of Philadelphia is one way to see the sights. You’ll be tempted to pause often to glance into storefronts, read menus or stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. According to tripadvisor.com,  Philly offers 3,698 restaurants. That’s foodie heaven. You can find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Get your dose of Philly here.

The extra wide streets are a breeze to navigate.

5 must-see Philly attractions 

History: everywhere you turn

1. Penn Museum

(also known as University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology)

After a particularly long week, my husband and I took two days off to rediscover Philly’s cuisine and culture. We began our glorious 24-hour whirlwind tour at Penn Museum, 3260 South St.,
on the University of Pennsylvania campus, with Pam Kosty, public relations director, as our guide.

You’ll be captivated by the artifacts and art from around the world. Kunihiko Matsui, AIA, marveled at the distinctive architectural elements throughout the museum. Of course, the Japan gallery was a must-see for this Kyoto native.

Stroll the University of Pennsylvania campus and you’ll soon discover why this Ivy League school is regarded as one of the world’s most respected research and teaching institutions. Penn Museum, located on the campus, was our first stop upon our arrival in Philly. Both the interior and exterior of the building are enchanting and representative of an enlightened society eager to promote the arts and sciences. The museum in College Hall was formally opened to the public January 2, 1890.

Create your own signature learning experience as you celebrate the incredibly diverse artifacts and art displayed and intermingled with hands-on learning tools. If you’re fast-tracking your way through Philly and you’re short on time, you can view each of the exhibits in two to three hours. You can also expect to find many objects on display that originated from university-led archaeological excavations and anthropological expeditions. Stone tools, household items, monuments and yes, fine art, are among the treasures you’ll see.

When you think of archaeology and anthropology, what comes to mind? Truly, both disciplines are a celebration of mankind and our world’s diverse cultures.

Take your Pick or see them all

The interior space houses 11 signature exhibitions: Egypt (Sphinx), Egypt (Mummies) Gallery, Africa, Canaan and Israel, China, Etruscan Italy, Greece, Rome, Japan, Mexico and Central America galleries; space dedicated to special exhibitions, and a cafe that features tasty, authentic food from around the world. I chose an Indian dish that was delicious.

Click here for an updated list of special exhibitions or to purchase tickets to the museum.

Museum hours are Tues to Sun., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.

Admission is $15/general adult, $13/senior citizens (65 and above), and $10/children 6 to 17 and full-time students with college ID. Museum members, active U.S. military personnel, children 5 and under and PennCard holders (Penn faculty, staff and students) receive free admission.

 

Flanked by a lovely courtyard, koi pond and seating area, the lawn is a respite where students, staff and museum guests can take a coffee or lunch break, amidst the soothing sounds of trickling water.

 

2. Sonesta Philadelphia Lobby Art Exhibit 

Our next stop was check-in at the incredibly hip Sonesta Downtown Philadelphia. View the original art of Philadelphia’s fine artists and craftsmen in Sonesta’s lobby. The exhibit is updated every six months. Hotel guests in need of information should consult with the concierge. 

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.

 

Contemporary decor

Art created by Philadelphia artists and craftsmen is the focal point in the lobby of Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square.

Read more about Sonesta’s accommodations and services at my companion post: http://wp.me/p7Pqe9-uy

3. Reading Terminal Market 

Sonesta Rittenhouse Square is centrally located downtown at 18th and Market Streets in Center City, and only a short distance from a multitude of attractions. Whether you and your spouse are on an overnight getaway or you’re traveling with children, I guarantee you won’t want to miss the historic Reading Terminal Market. Whatever taste bud you hope to satisfy, you’ll find a selection of baked goods, meats, poultry, seafood, and produce. Other vendors also carry flowers and cookware. The Reading Terminal Market has been open to the public since 1892.

4. The Butcher Bar

What’s your hankering? As 5 p.m. rolls around, and particularly after hours of sightseeing and walking, why not try one one of historic Philadelphia’s newest restaurants?

As we approached the restaurant around dusk, the large shutters on the second-floor windows were wide open. I could see diners engrossed in conversation and candles gently flickering. The entrance-way was bursting with activity as guests sipped cocktails, wine and beer. Happy hour was in the works.

The Butcher Bar, 2034 Chestnut St, offers a lunch, brunch and dinner menu that will leave the meat lover’s mouth watering. I can still recall my reaction to one of our appetizers, a slab of bacon. “Oh, this is incredible – tender and juicy.” Words cannot describe this delectable creation. Kunihiko Matsui and I sampled a variety of menu items.

The bar features 16 beers on tap, 6 draft wines, and a whiskey-based cocktail program. You should absolutely make reservations. View the menus here.

5. The Eastern State Penitentiary 

Before leaving Philly, The Eastern State Penitentiary was our final stop as we prepared to leave the city. Over the years, I’ve heard rave reviews about the Eastern State Penitentiary, but since most of my trips to Philadelphia have been brief, I’ve never found the time to visit.

Regarded as “one of the most famous and expensive prisons in the world” and the world’s first true “penitentiary,” the ruins are bone-chilling and captivating. My overall opinion is the crumbling walls, empty prison yards and dimly lit hallways all speak of the lives of the inmates who called the Eastern State Penitentiary home. They are haunting as much as they are thought-provoking.

Notable residents were “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone, who were among some of America’s most famous criminals.

A masterfully created one-hour hands-on audio tour, history exhibits, artists’ installations, and a vivid imagination are all you’ll need to feel the history that emanates from the walls. A very knowledgeable tour guide also led us through portions of the building.

Stay tuned for video clips from Eastern State Penitentiary. 

Are you looking for a more in-depth history of the penitentiary? Visit http://www.easternstate.org/history-eastern-state.

The penitentiary is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entry at 4 p.m. Don’t plan to visit on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, when the facility is closed.

Adults: $14
Seniors: $12
Students & Kids: $10 (not recommended for children under seven-years-old) 
Members: FREE


Granted, you won’t have a full 24 hours to tour historic Philadelphia, when you factor in time while you’re sleeping, but in a brief period of time, you will get a taste and feel what makes Philly so interesting. Allow some time to relax and catch your breath. There’s no need to rush, and realistically, who can say how many days, weeks or perhaps even months you’d need to see everything Philly offers? Move at your own pace.


Visitphilly.com graciously arranged my visit and also provided me with information that helped immensely when we were mapping our 24-hour visit. Feel free to reach out to the staff as you are planning your trip to Philadelphia. 

Scranton landmark hotel: The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel

The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, a Scranton landmark hotel and formerly a bustling train depot, was built in 1908. Photo by Kento Matsui 2016 taken during Scranton’s 100th Birthday Celebration. 

Visit an iconic Scranton Landmark

The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel 

If you have ties to Northeastern Pennsylvania, you probably already know bits and pieces of the history of one of Scranton’s iconic landmarks.

Scranton landmark hotel

The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in Scranton, PA offers guests amenities they would find at a metropolitan hotel, with the added vintage charm of a turn-of-the-century Scranton landmark hotel. 

The former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad station, known today as The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, is a sight to behold and one I have admired for as long as I can remember. You simply can’t miss the limestone facade and the eight-foot bronze clock that’s prominently displayed on the front of the building as you head south on Jefferson Avenue. History buffs and travelers looking for a quaint and authentic experience, with distinctive architectural elements, will savor every moment at this Scranton landmark hotel.

Scranton landmark hotel

Regardless of the time of year you visit the hotel, the lobby is a masterpiece work of art in itself. Take time to notice the exquisite tiles that adorn the marble walls.

Architect Kenneth Murchison designed the station in 1906, as a replacement for a much smaller depot only blocks away on Lackawanna Avenue. The grand French Renaissance-style station is awe-inspiring as its poised between Spruce Street and Lackawanna Avenue.

The five-story structure was built in 1908 but a sixth floor was added in the 1920s to provide additional office space.

One of the most notable features in the lobby is a barrel-vaulted ceiling.

 

History buffs will marvel at the significant role the depot played in Scranton’s past as a transportation hub for travelers.

You can learn more about the history of the station at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWtea9H5Hjs

For me, it’s the delightful mix of history, architectural ornamentation that includes marble walls, hand-painted tiles and a barrel-vaulted ceiling adorned with Tiffany glass, combined with some very fond childhood memories. As a child, my late father, a commercial hardware designer, and I wandered around the first-floor before and after the station closed and rail service ended. Until recently, on only one occasion did I venture upstairs into one of the guest rooms.

In January, I was an overnight guest and treated to a night in one of the posh newly renovated suites.

Sweet Dreams 

When the time to relax or fall asleep is upon you, the ambiance of the sleeping area will have you dreaming of days gone by. The guest suite amenities are plentiful with a desk and a comfortable chair for those guests who happen to bring work along, a coffee maker, refrigerator two flatscreen televisions, and a decor that’s soothing to the eye.

Scranton landmark hotel

With ultra-comfortable linens and pillows, if you choose to read or work before you nod off, you might have a difficult time staying awake. Task lighting provides a perfect environment to watch television or surf the web with free high-speed internet while lounging on your bed. The hotel offers 146 posh lodging options and outstanding services to optimize your experience. 

Other amenities include the hotel’s business center, a complimentary shuttle ride to AVP Airport and local attractions, fitness center, same-day dry cleaning and a pet-friendly policy.

There are so many opportunities to explore Scranton’s rich history and cultural heritage at the nearby Steamtown National Historic Site. More information regarding admission prices and exhibits are available here.

Take a walking tour of some of the city’s other historic buildings. Shop at The Marketplace at Steamtown or one of many specialty boutiques and art galleries or spend your afternoon at The Everhart Museum, located only a few miles from the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in Nay Aug Park. The museum was founded in 1908 and is one of the oldest museums in the state of Pennsylvania.

Are you ready for a sumptuous meal? 

Whether you choose to order room service or you’re looking to socialize over a cocktail or fine wine, the dining options at this Scranton landmark hotel are as varied as an 8 oz Grilled Filet Mignon or Flat Bread with sliced tomato and fresh mozzarella. You’ll find three on-site dining choices, beginning with your jolt of morning caffeine and a croissant or pastry at the Station Café. Throughout your day, find your perfect meal at the award-winning Carmen’s 2.0 Restaurant & World Tour Menu or Trax Platform Lounge, a popular more casual meeting evening destination for both local residents and hotel guests. Order an appetizer, salad or entree to pair with your cocktail, tap beer or wine.

Scranton landmark hotel

Trax Platform Lounge is located on the original loading dock.

Scranton landmark hotel

The decor at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel is a delightful blend of old and new.

Please follow this link to see videos featuring Michael Kearney, Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel manager. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience this extraordinary hotel. Many thanks to Michael Kearney his gracious hospitality and Michael Chandler, facility manager, for his technical assistance during the filming of these videos. Stay tuned for more videos.