“Welcome To Pennsylvania” the sign read, and underneath in small imaginary letters it also said – “You’re Now Leaving the Mid West.” I’m from Illinois. I’ve traveled south for vacation and west for work, but I’ve never driven east. Pennsylvania was uncharted territory for Guillaume and I, which made it mysterious and exciting.
Our terrain was changing. The flat chested land of my childhood, where I would tower over spring crops only to be stunted by them come autumn harvest, began to grow mountainous breasts. The architecture was changing. Mini-mansions and cookie-cutter homes were less prominent, and instead you’d see the occasional 200 year old tiny home, which I assume wasn’t considered tiny at the time.
The night before we reached Philadelphia we stayed at a lovely campground in Burnt Cabins, PA. It was rural, quiet and surrounded by spectacular foliage. The camp store was in a small cottage that was older than my great-great grandparents, but all was overshadowed by the campground’s namesake – the old (yet still producing) mill. We bought the Mill’s pancake mix and a bag of local Middleswarth potato chips. Both didn’t disappoint.
The next morning we set off on a slow, precarious voyage into Philadelphia. The bridges were low, the streets were narrow, and many onlookers were enjoying the spectacle of our house haphazardly navigating through the city. At first I was perplexed by the amount of one-way streets, but it didn’t take long for me to appreciate them. Two lanes were needed for the occasional nerve-wracking turn. After what seemed like an eternity, we parked our tiny home in a gravel parking lot located smack-dab in the middle of Old City and across from the Tumbleweed workshop hotel.
It was wonderful to be in an American city with history. Every cobblestone seemed to tell a story of it’s importance. Just walking around, reading plaques, and soaking in the architecture filled my insides with warm pride. I never had a chance to feel that way before in my own country, and I only assume my admiration will grow as I visit New York, Washington D.C. and other pages from my elementary school textbooks.
Harbor Park was also really beautiful, especially at night. Guillaume snapped a few photos while I searched for a comfortable hammock.
There was also a self-built sustainable floating house on display, complete with chickens and a bee hive! It was really amazing to stumble upon another form of mobile alternative housing on this journey.
Before leaving Philly, Guillaume and I feasted on cheesesteaks from Jim’s Steaks on South street. I chose provolone cheese and Guillaume went with the native favorite: cheese wiz. Sadly the meal confirmed that we won’t be accepted as locals because we both preferred the provolone.
Here are a few tasty restaurants we tried:
Old City Coffee – Excellent coffee and bagels. Located on a small backstreet in Old City.
Dim Sum Garden – I love Chinatowns and dim sum. I am always on the look out for XLB (soup dumplings) and I have a favorite place in Los Angeles and San Fran. This would be my preference for Philly. BYOB – important to know!
It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Philly. It’s a special place. Could I live there? I imagine having an apartment in Old City, drinking coffee and watching people stroll by from my stoop. But my tiny home doesn’t have a place in that scenario, so I think we will move along and perhaps return another time to visit.
Next up: New York, NY.
PS. Thank you to all the workshop attendees and locals that visited our home in Philadelphia. If you missed it, check out Deek’s video tour of our home.