On my last full day in New York I decided to go on a day trip. Gray Line New York is a tour company that not only do tours around Manhattan, but do a fantastic range of day trips to all sorts of wonderful places from New York. The one tour I quite liked the sound of was to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
I booked the tour the day before going on it and ended up getting up really early on the day, as the coach was leaving New York at 7am. This tour was going to split into two parts. First would be a tour around Philadelphia, and then for the second part of the trip, and the one part of the tour which interested me the most, was a visit to rural Pennsylvania to see where the Amish live.
Two hours later we had arrived in Philadelphia. I’ve never been here before, but our tour guide had told us that there is quite a bit of history with the city. Our first stop on the tour was to Independence Hall (originally called the Pennsylvania State House) where the US Constitution was drafted and signed in 1787.
Just across the street we were able to have a look at the Liberty Bell. This was the official bell of the Pennsylvania State House and sometime in the 1800s it cracked after being rang many times. The Liberty Bell serves as an icon of freedom as it was called it’s name by abolitionists. They adopted it as symbol of their cause and written on the bell is ‘Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.’
Other stops on the tour included a visit to the Old City where we went down this really old street called Elfreth’s Alley with some very nice old looking houses. This is America’s oldest residential street with houses being built between 1728 and 1836. People still live on this street too and it just so happened that the owners of one house were happy to open their door and let people go in and have a look.
After a short drive through Philadelphia, we made our way into the Pennsylvania countryside and began our trip to Amish Country. This is the part of the trip which interested me the most. I find it fascinating how people can live quite simple lives without electricity, internet or cars.
When we got off the coach, it was time for a buggy ride around the countryside, driven by this really nice Amish man. He was very friendly and was happy to answer any questions we had. The drive in the buggy was around 45 minutes and we got to see quite a few farms. At one farm we stopped for a short time, while this really nice Amish family offered us some homemade cookies and lemonade for sale. I didn’t get any cookies, but I got myself some lemonade which was very good. Homemade stuff always tastes nicer.
I really enjoyed the buggy ride around the countryside as it was extremely fun. Once back on the coach it was a short drive to Kitchen Kettle Village, which is this really nice small shopping park with loads of unique shops. I enjoyed having a look around and browsing all of the shops.
My favorite shop had to be this store that sold loads of jams and sauces. Everything is made there and they have jams in all sorts of flavors. Every item has a sample with it too, so you can try before you buy. I enjoyed sampling all of the wonderful goodies for sale.
Before I knew it, it was time to get back on the coach for the drive back to New York. It was a long day, but definitely worth it. The tour guides were fantastic and did an excellent job on the tour. I would definitely recommend Gray Line Tours New York and would go on one of their tours again.