Signature City Philadelphia: National Treasures of History and Heritage
Before there was a United States, Philadelphia was home to the Continental Congress. Come explore this vibrant city, joining experts for an insider’s look at its present and past.
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Program No. 10238RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 3 L 4 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Philadelphia, PA
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 4:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Transportation will be via a combination of public and private bus. Lectures and educational commentary will be provided by our Group Leader and local experts. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In Davio’s Restaurant off the hotel lobby, we’ll order from a select menu with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Davio’s is a famed Northern Italian steakhouse featuring regional Italian foods wih a focus on the grill.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Philadelphia History, Independence Hall & Liberty Bell
Philadelphia, PA
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City

Activity note: Getting on/off a private bus. Walking approximately 1 mile and standing during field trips.

Breakfast: In Davio’s Restaurant, the breakfast buffet offers a hot dish on weekdays and choices such as hard-boiled eggs, granola and cereal, oatmeal, fresh fruit, yogurt, breads and pastries, plus juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will be joined by a local historian who will give us a presentation on 18th Century Philadelphia history and the story of our Founding Fathers.

Lunch: At Davio’s Restaurant.

Afternoon: With our Group Leader, we will board our private bus and set out on a field trip to Independence National Historical Park with America’s most famous icons: the Liberty Bell — “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof” — and Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and signed. In recognition of our founding principles of freedom and democracy that have influenced so many others around the world, Independence Hall has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dinner: We will walk to a nearby restaurant and order from a select menu.

Evening: On our way back to the hotel, we will stroll around the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, where our Group Leader will point out some of its outstanding architecture and landmarks.

Architectural Highlights, PAFA, Neighborhoods, City Tavern
Philadelphia, PA
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking approximately 1.5 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: As we begin a walking field trip with our Group Leader, we’ll observe the skyline characterized by modern and contemporary architecture. We’ll walk to admire the exterior of Philadelphia City Hall in the French Second Renaissance style, the largest municipal building in the world. We’ll then explore the Masonic Temple with its outstanding 19th Century architecture for which Philadelphia is famous. The interior is beyond description; each of its seven ceremonial rooms is decorated in a different architectural style, reflecting Greek, Renaissance, Egyptian and Moorish motifs. We will then walk to nearby Reading Terminal Market, an historic urban farmers’ market that had its origins in the 19th century. It is now a foodie paradise, replete with locally grown produce, Amish merchants, and exotic specialties from around the world.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at Reading Terminal Market. You can find authentic Philadelphia Cheesesteaks and Hoagies as well as Bassett’s ice cream, first scooped at the Centennial celebration of 1876.

Afternoon: For our next field trip, we will walk to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). It was founded in 1805 by painter and scientist Charles Wilson Peale, sculptor William Rush, and other artists and business leaders. PAFA is the oldest art museum and school in the nation. The current museum building opened in 1876 and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The collection is displayed in a chronological and thematic format, exploring the history of American art from the 1760s to the present. We will have an educator-led exploration of this magnificent collection. We will round out the afternoon with a bus ride through some of the city’s most significant neighborhoods with commentary by our Group Leader. Our ride will conclude at City Tavern for dinner.

Dinner: At historic City Tavern, we’ll have a plated set meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. This reconstructed Colonial tavern serves dishes based on authentic recipes in period dining rooms. Soon after it opened in 1773, City Tavern became a favorite meeting place of prominent Philadelphians.

Evening: Returning to the hotel by public bus, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

Old City, Christ Church, Betsy Ross House, Free Time
Philadelphia, PA
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking approximately 2 miles, stopping and standing.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll go for a field trip to visit some of the historic landmarks in Philadelphia’s Old City District — known as America’s most historic square mile — such as the Betsy Ross House, Christ Church, and Elfreth's Alley. While there is no documented evidence that Betsy Ross actually did sew the first American flag, the story that George Washington himself asked her to make it lives on. Christ Church, founded in 1695, has long been called “the Nation's church” due to its associations with notable Revolutionary era leaders. Seven signers of the Declaration of Independence and five signers of the Constitution are buried here. Elfreth’s Alley represents three centuries of American everyday life. As a National Historic Landmark, it preserves 32 structures built from 1728-1836, one of our last remaining early American streetscapes.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You might like to explore a new neighborhood or cuisine, eat out with family and friends, or share a meal with fellow Road Scholars.

Evening: At leisure.

300 Years of Architecture, Constitution Center, Performance
Philadelphia, PA
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking approximately 1 mile and according to personal preference during field trips.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a lecture on three centuries of Philadelphia architecture. We will then ride to The National Constitution Center. The Center's permanent exhibition, The Story of We the People, tells the story of the Constitution, its history, and its contemporary relevance through more than 100 multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture, and artifacts. It also features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, "Freedom Rising", and Signers' Hall. We will learn more about the three branches of government as we explore giant models of the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court. Public Program demonstrators will lead us through an entertaining look at the buildings, the people who work in them, and our government’s system of checks and balances.

Lunch: At a local eatery.

Afternoon: Next, we will walk to the new Museum of the American Revolution, opened in 2017 two blocks from Independence Hall. It is the first museum of its kind to trace the steps that led to our break with the “Mother Country” of England and eventually to revolutionary war. With an educator, we will take a virtual journey through the American Revolution, encountering the events, people, and ideals of the founding of the United States through state-of-the-art design and technology. The collection of thousands of objects includes works of art, manuscripts, and printed pieces from the period. One particularly historic item is the original tent that George Washington used as his command center. After the field trip, we will return to the hotel by public bus.

Dinner: At Davio’s Restaurant.

Evening: Performance. Our program was planned far in advance when details of performances were not confirmed. When available, the information will be posted on the Road Scholar website under this program number and will also be included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment.

18th Century Savants, Program Concludes
Philadelphia, PA

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will learn about Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, David Rittenhouse, and other 18th Century savants through historical and scientific perspectives.

Lunch: At Davio’s Restaurant. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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