30 November 2013

A Masonic Temple That Blew Away My Expectations

It is taking me far too long to post all of my Philadelphia photos but I think it was this post that was intimidating me.  After our trip to Poe's house, we headed to the center of town to the Masonic Temple.  I had no idea about this place but a friend told Jenica and we put it on the list. 

There are a lot of photos because there are 8 different rooms - each with a different theme - that are incredible.  This is the one of the largest and most elaborate temples around the world. 

We waited in the library before the tour started and Jenica knows me well enough to point out this important fact about candy corn.  Thank you George for your contribution to society.

This first room reminded me so much of Alcazar when I walked in and that was the inspiration for the designers.  You get the idea that each room has the altar and throne-like area.

I was giddy when I saw the members of The Masonic Motorcycle Club.  I tried to get a better photo of the back of their coats but no luck.  I can't help but picture Sons of Anarchy in my head whenever I see a motorcycle club though I know that is not the same here.

Every single room and hallway was elaborate with detail.

Paul posing for me.

It was in the third room that I started trying to take group photos but Jared would never smile.  He couldn't shake off the feeling from Poe's house.

And there was a lot of time when this was the view I had.  I started finding this very funny.

Benjamin Franklin was a Mason.  They also mentioned Joseph Smith as a Mason during the run down of famous American members.

The temple is right across the street from Philadelphia City Hall and blends well in the city landscape.

24 November 2013

Poe in Philadelphia

After the donuts in Reading Terminal, we headed to one of homes where Edgar Allen Poe lived during his time in the city.  I'm a big fan of Poe and no one responded negatively to the idea of a visit so I planned it accordingly. 

We arrived to see Paul taking photos of Travis.  We were coaching him on the proper expression one should have on one's face when posing in front of Poe.

We had Jenica model the proper expression.  And if you're ever bored around Jenica, just shout out an expression and she'll be happy to model it for you.

The home is not furnished unlike the one in the Bronx but it gives a very nice idea of what his life was like with his wife and mother-in-law.

Paul, Emily, Jared and Debbie enjoying the backyard.

We had to go outside to get to the cellar which we were informed probably gave Poe the idea for a location in his famous story "The Black Cat." 

"One day she accompanied me, upon some household errand, into the cellar of the old building which our poverty compelled us to inhabit. The cat followed me down the steep stairs, and, nearly throwing me headlong, exasperated me to madness. Uplifting an axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded, by the interference, into a rage more than demoniacal, I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain. She fell dead upon the spot, without a groan."

We all appreciated the cat left there for us.

06 November 2013

The Best of Philadelphia Donuts

Our search for the best donut in Philadelphia started at Reading Terminal on Saturday morning.  We met some friends there who drove up from Delaware and I don't believe they were really prepared for the love we feel for donuts (I'll exclude Debbie from the we as she more likes donuts).

We went the long way through the market to look around at all of the stalls and finally found the boys in front of Beiler's Bakery.

This was only a small segment of the selection. We had a hard time choosing the flavors but stuck with the glazed, pumpkin cake, pumpkin glazed, chocolate, apple, etc.  The ones you expect us to get if you followed us through our Kentucky adventure.

I promised lots of photos of Jenica being happy with food.

Cutting up the donuts into equal parts is a serious business.

The glazed won our vote for best of though Emily loved the Boston Creme.

Our next stop wasn't until the next morning when we visited the reason I planned the trip - Federal Donuts.  This place exceeded all of our expectations.

There are two kinds of donuts here - fancy and hot fresh.  We bought one of each.

From my favorite to least favorite in the fancy category - blackberry anise (top middle), sticky bun (bottom middle), pumpkin spice latte (top right), mango coconut (top left), sea salt and chocolate (bottom right) and cookies n'cream (bottom left).

But the hot fresh donuts were the absolute best.  With each bite of our vanilla spice, strawberry lavender and cinnamon brown sugar, we only wanted more of these.

We made one last stop on our way out of town at Frangelli's. We were so full from brunch that we didn't even open these until our ride home after visiting Longwood Garden hours later.  I can say with confidence that Federal won this contest but the cronut from here was pretty good.  I'm so excited after eating this one to try the real thing in NYC this weekend.