I ♥ Philadelphia


Thomas Bond, physician, 1712-1784

I’M IN PHILADELPHIA at the moment, in the breakfast room, below, of the Thomas Bond House, a delightful small hotel in Old City. The building dates from 1769, and I’m in my element, taking in the worn pine floors, 12-over-12 windows, toile de jouy wallpaper, Windsor chairs, etc. I’m a sucker even for the hokey details like electrified candlesticks in all the windows.




The Bond House is across the street from another of my favorite Philly places, which would be exceedingly corny if it wasn’t done so very well. City Tavern, below, is a painstaking re-creation of the pub/inn where George, Ben, and the rest spent many happy hours, on its original site.


That’s where I went yesterday for a late lunch (“midday fare”) after I concluded the business that brought me here: meeting with a contractor about interior repairs in my Queen Village building, following major roof failure during last month’s rainstorms, and welcoming a new tenant in Old Kensington.

I love to sit in a corner booth at the authentically underlit City Tavern, eating cornbread-encrusted oysters and sipping a citrus-y pale ale from Alexander Hamilton’s own recipe, served by waitstaff in bonnets or breeches who say “Good afternoon” rather than “Hey, what can I get ya?”


Today I’ll try for about the 5th time to get into the elusive Bishop White House, above, a fully furnished house of the 1780s run by the National Park Service. When I called yesterday for information, I was told its opening was ‘contingent upon staff.’

Happily, the Colonial garden at Walnut and 4th, below, is always open.


About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
This entry was posted in HISTORIC PRESERVATION, PHILADELPHIA, ROAD TRIPS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to I ♥ Philadelphia

  1. BrooklynGreene says:

    Funny, I had the same thing at the Tavern a couple of winters ago. I tagged along with the husband who had business in Philadelphia. Since I was left to my own devices all day, I did my own walking tour. It was really fun to wander around all day by myself. I even went to the Betsy Ross House! Something I hadn’t done in years and this time, sans children! Such a strange feeling really. At that time of year (February) the sites were very quiet.

    Nice time there, and I have to agree, they did an excellent job recreating the Tavern. Wouldn’t it be nice if the kind of recreations and restorations that were done for 1976 in Philadelphia could be done in NYC? Brooklyn could really use decent tavern…I guess real estate is too expense in NYC for this. As I remember, the section of Philadelphia that got redone for the bicentennial was very sketchy in the late 60’s. I remember old factories or warehouse type buildings and yucky lots in and around the historic buildings. What a great piece of public urban engineering they did to open it all up. I wonder how much/what percent of Federal money paid for the work. Any idea?

  2. Terry Kearns says:

    “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” — Benjamin Franklin

  3. cara says:

    Haha, yes – and these guys all seemed to make their own beer, in addition to their genius in dozens of other areas.

  4. cara says:

    Virtually all Federal money, I would imagine. This part of Philly (Old City) is often called the ‘nation’s most historic square mile.’ It’s all part of the Independence National Historical Park, run by the U.S. National Park Service. All traces of sketchy long gone.

  5. That garden is beautiful, I love the combo of boxwood hedges, and what I assume are berberis hedges. Gorgeous!

  6. Astor C. says:

    More of the garden, please.

    The Bishop White (first Anglican Bishop of Philadelphia and head of the magnificent Christ Church just above Market St) is notable because the furniture is actually from the house. Apparently the family saved it all after they sold/lost? the house. The Nat. Park Service has contemporaneous paintings of the interior which let them place the pieces just as they were in White’s day. Also interesting is the indoor (three-hole no less) privy with piping that deposited the waste outside in the gutter. It’s located just off the kitchen. Oh, well…

  7. jenny says:

    Hubby and I have been wanting to go for some time. He seems to always be sent away to school or deployed to the other side of the world. That leaves little time for traveling for fun.

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