A Rainy Day In Philly: Exploring The Free Library & Polish Home Cooking

I’ve written about the Free Library before (A Library That Houses The Best (Free) Museum In Philly That No One Knows), but there is a lot more to explore than the very cool rare book department – enough to occupy a few rainy -day hours.  Start with the free hour-long building tour that explores the architecture, history and collections of the 19th century building.  After the tour (in addition to actual books), visitors can:

*listen to records and cds

*borrow and play an instrument

*examine the world’s largest lending library of orchestral music

*view fine art prints, photographs, etc. (appointment recommended)

*explore the map collection

*view one of the many rotating exhibits (on view today: Leonard Bernstein memorabilia, photographs of the history of the Ben Franklin Parkway, epistolary novels and homemade art books)

*The museum also offers cooking classes, author talks, theater performances and concerts

We used the pouring rain as an excuse to get in the car and drive 15 minutes to the Port Richmond section of the city.  Home to a large Polish community and “The Dinner House” – where we feasted on sour rye soup, potato pancake with goulash and potato & cheese pierogi… and finished with a cheese danish from a local bakery.

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http://freelibrary.org/

https://www.facebook.com/polishdinnerhouse/

Mummers & Pie

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Every New Year’s Day, I wonder what the heck a “mummer” is – today we found out at the Mummer’s Museum.  This is a small museum (admission was “pay what you wish” on the cold, January day we visited) filled with videos, costumes, memorabilia and best of all… dress-ups with a video to teach the mummer’s strut.  We will definitely return for one of their (free) Thursday evening summer concerts.

Only about a mile walk from the tacky shops and restaurants on South Street, we checked out the new (tasty!) Bahn Mi & Bottles restaurant for Vietnamese street food:

And (best of all) homemade pie from Magpies (see Philly Ice Cream Treats – From Traditional To Trendy To Unusual)  for info on their yummy pie milkshakes):

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Mexican Chocolate & Oatmeal Cookie Pie

http://mummersmuseum.com/

https://www.banhmiandbottles.com/

https://www.iluvmagpie.com/

The World’s Largest Organ, A Historic Landmark Building And Free Concerts (while you shop)

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Yes – the world’s largest fully functioning pipe organ is not in a church – it’s in the Macy’s Department Store in Philadelphia and FREE concerts are played daily at 12:00 (evening concert times vary) by master organists.  You can listen and shop, or tuck yourself into one of the niches on the second floor girl’s clothing section – where you can watch the organist play.

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Opened in 1911, and dedicated by President Taft, Wanamaker’s was the first department store in Philadelphia – and one of the first in the country. On the National Register of Historic Places, the interior of building is an architectural gem.

http://www.wanamakerorgan.com/events.php