Adventures in Philadelphia


This episode of Big Blend Radio’s Vacation Station “Food, Wine & Travel” Show with the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) features travel writer Mary Farah who shares her fun and fascinating adventures in Philadelphia. Hear all about the dining and bar scene, museums and galleries, the Founding Footsteps Trolley Tour, Magic Gardens, the Independence Park Hotel, and more.

Travel Notes from Mary:  
The Olde Bar, PhiladelphiaThe foodie scene is incredible with such a vast variety of cuisine often within streets of each other. Philadelphia’s Chinatown is one of the oldest in the nation along with San Francisco, Manhattan, and Boston. At EMei Restaurant, I enjoyed the most authentic Sichuan dinner I’ve had (and all gluten-free).

I wasn’t expecting the plethora of museums to peruse. One could easily spend a week in town merely focusing on the wide range of exhibits. I had a CityPASS and that enabled me to see up to five in town and get a great start. At the Barnes Foundation, I was wide eyed as they have some of the largest collections of Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Modigliani.

The Magic GardensOn the eclectic side, I could move into the Magic Gardens. Isaiah Zagar and his wife were the masterminds behind this extremely unique non-profit gallery. He used handmade tiles, bottles, bicycle wheels, mirrors, and international folk art to chronicle his life and influences. The space is made up of two indoor galleries and a bi-level outdoor sculpture garden. As an avid collector of Mexican and Spanish art, you’ll see a lot throughout the haven he collected and even some works of Picasso.

The Founding Footsteps trolley tour was a two-hour long journey led by guide, Warren. Warren should be on Broadway for his unstoppable energy and laughs. He improvises each tour which makes for a truly one-of-a-kind adventure. Best part? Founding Footsteps invites you to BYOB!

Independence Park HotelI had such a cozy stay at the historic Independence Park Hotel in Old Town Philly. Speaking of hotels, six of Philadelphia’s world-class hotels have made this year’s Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards list for the Mid-Atlantic category. Over half are in the prestigious Rittenhouse Square. I had the pleasure to spend a morning there and can attest it’s a beautiful, upper-class section of the city.

Check out Mary’s “Gluten-Free Dining Guide to Philadelphia” at and plan your visit to Philly at

Mary is a freelance travel writer based in Los Angeles. She’s written on her blog, Along Comes Mary, since 2012. Her work can also be found on various online outlets. Mary is a proud member and former executive board member of IFWTWA. Visit:

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About the Author:

Mary is a freelance travel writer based in Los Angeles.

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