I’m Back…A Day in Philly was Time Well Spent

Well, after a week away with the family on a first-ever trip to Pennsylvania, I have a myriad of thoughts and ideas racing through my brain (nothing new there). I’ve learned a few things, added just a bit of both historic and geographic perspective to my creative palette and look forward more than ever to getting busy with the next phase of the pre-launch of my triple-bottom-line enterprise! Here are a few of those perspectives, just to keep things thought-provoking and reflective without being too overwhelming…

My husband, the 3 teens and I spent one day in search of the famous Philly Cheesesteak (trying to keep it mellow, here). Hubby Rob had the great idea to tour the city via their double decker bus which was a great idea. I can’t recommend it enough. The tour system is structured such that riders have unlimited use of the bus all day, with another bus always coming along every 20 minutes. There are over a dozen stops. You can get off at all or none of the stops as suits your fancy. Here’s just a taste of what I learned along the way (can’t speak for the rest of the family!):

City of Brotherly Love ~ Embracing Differences ~ According to the tour guide (wish I caught his name), Philly’s best gift to society is that it truly embraced religious freedom. Signs of different religions are evident in the art throughout the city. Significant today is the manner in which the citizens have taken that respect for religious freedoms and differences and seem to apply that across a range of social topics, embracing cultural and financial differences for example.

Innovative Approach ~ Seeing Opportunity Where Others See Problems ~ This mindset, shared by many an entrepreneur social and otherwise, is illustrated (literally) on the walls of many buildings which are ablaze with glorious paintings. Philly used a major grafitti problem as a jumping off point for a wonderfully creative solution. The result? Philly has the most murals in any city and almost no grafitti. For each new mural, the community is involved in the planning process ~ showing a respect for what a neighborhood’s citizens want to honor and getting a buy-in such that it won’t be tagged over (good business based on good ethics)… Oh, one more benefit, just who are some of the painters? You guessed it! Former “tag” artists (that’s teen-speak for grafitti artists) who were caught and had to clean up their unsanctioned work. Imagine the social benefit of taking the talented offender and giving him (or her) a legal outlet for his (or her) talent and a sense of true pride in contributing positively to their community. A truly brilliant reform program!

Inspirational Historical Figure and Entrepreneur ~ Ben Franklin ~ Sharing similar history to Boston, Philly also boasts Ben Franklin as a former resident. The thing I love about this American Hero is his Renaissance nature… Author, Humanitarian, Inventor, Humorist… The biography of this incredible, historical figure is one I’d love to add to the book collection at Time Well Spent. Inspirational biographies can be just the ticket when one is reflecting on his or her own life. I find it rather ironic that what we see as history was merely present day to Franklin and his peers. Our present times will some day be a page, a paragraph or a topic of entire history books. Where will the choices of today lead and how will they effect history? Oops, got a little deep there, try as I might to keep it light!

Rocky ~ Rocky ~ Rocky ~ On the lighter side, we even saw the Rocky Balboa statue (more appropriately positioned to the side of the Art Museum rather than atop the famous staircase the fictional character ascended). Even more interesting than the made-famous-by-movies steps, the Art Museum (closed Mondays 😦 ) is atop a hill that was originally used as a reservoir… I found that rather ingenious and innovative ~ to look at a hilltop and think, “Let’s just hollow that out and use it as a reservoir for our drinking water.”  What’s more, they made the reservoir and its elements quite beautiful and the location became an early tourist attraction. Back to the lighter side, it brought visions to mind of ladle-scooped mashed potatoes filled with Mom’s gravy!

How was the cheesesteak? Honestly, I think I still haven’t gotten over the “bad experience” I had after eating one in Boston’s North End on my 13th birthday when my folks brought me into one of the Festivals of Saints… The interesting thing about the cheesesteak wasn’t the sandwich itself but the way the particular restaurant was recommended. The young man who sold us the bus tickets mentioned that, while there were many places to get the classic luncheon hoagie, he suggested a place that had great people working there and a truly welcoming, sit-and-take-a-break atmosphere as opposed to the sell-as-many-as-they-can spots with a move the people along like cattle  mentality (reminiscent of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi). Yet another example of what differentiates a good business from a good business who cares about more than just the bottom line, even if it is just to acknowledge that tourists are people, too!

Clearly, my attempts at keeping things light falls a bit short… Reminds me of my mother commenting on my being a DEEP thinker, REALLY, REALLY DEEP. Guilty as charged! To simplify, Philly may not be Boston (my undenied bias included), but it’s worth a visit! N.


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