It’s Easy Being Green On A Philadelphia Getaway-Part 2

Oct 2013

Early morning on day two in Philadelphia-we hit the ground running. The city is really very walkable and an early stroll set the pace for the day. Remember to raise your eyes to the sky!

and talk about contrasts….The color on the building below was so incredible.


 There are many coffee houses in the Rittenhosue square area. Since my traveling gal pal is a bit of a coffee hound, she always makes sure to have a list of options when she arrives in a new city.  This was no exception, and there are many in the neighborhood of the Hotel Palomar.


Unbelieveably, we stumbled right into the stomping grounds of Todd Carmichael.  Have you ever seen his show Dangerous Grounds?  He’s a bit nutty with an Anthony Bourdain style of traveling.  If you’re into coffee {or travel } you must watch the show.  It will give you a new appreciation for the bean; his dedication to fair trade and sourcing the best tasting coffee around the world is obsessive and quite admirable.  But i digress….La Columbe is a company comitted to bringing its customers the best in ethically sourced coffee in all of its various forms.  Proudly roasted in Philadelphia, the brand is loved by consumers and chefs alike.   I could be classified as a new devotee.
Photo of Worth Gallery via Global Dye Works

One of my secret weapons when I travel is to search out buildings that might house area artists.  I worked many years ago in Virginia’s  Torpedo Factory and have since had a studio in Boston’s South End when it was still a pretty sketchy area.  There’s no telling who you might discover in these old warehouse spaces.  At the very least, it will give you insight into what will probably soon be another gentrified neighborhood.  In my experience, the artists come looking for reasonable rents, and then everyone else follows.  When I stumbled upon Global Dye Works, I felt I had found such a spot, a location where art meets industry.

Discovering the work of Stacey Lee Weber was a real joy.  She enthusiastically agreed to meet and show us some of her work.  The building itself was 7 miles from City Hall.  Housed in a former dye factory in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, the space is an artist’s dream.


Photo by Alison Miksch featured in the Wall Street Journal Money Magazine 2013

Stephanie works with upcycled metal, and a lot of old coins find their way into her creations.

Half Kennedy dollar bowl via Stacey Lee Weber

The jewelry she designs allows her the luxury of working on the more involved sculptural pieces.

George’s Lucky Locket via Stacey Lee Weber
One of Stacey’s inspiration boards above and a small vingette inside the building. Visit her web site to see more.

Being a former textile designer, I wanted to make sure to see the Fabric Workshop.  It is one of those places that is revered among those in the industry and although I never got to attend one of their apprentice programs, I still was very curious about the space and what they were all about.  If you’re a textile fan, it is worth the trip. When an artisit comes for a program in residence, they create two pieces, one for the artist and one for the permanent collection.  One of the rotating exhibits features pieces from this collection.

TexTILE by Jean Shin photo via Fabric Workshop and Museum

I loved this faux TexTILE piece from Jean Shin, who incorporated discarded computer keys into a 25 foot length of fabric.  The permanent part of the piece is an email correspontdance between Shin and the FWM project staff.  Emphasizing the relationship between email and the physical act of typing, she has asked us to look at this daily task for most of the world in a new way. The interactive part is an opportunity for the viewer to add their own message onto the screen at the end.  I added a request for them to change their “No Photography” policy.  There is also an interesting gift shop attached to the museum with original textile designs and upcyced accessories and gifts. A few additional interesting shops are close by.


Reading Terminal Market is just down the street and gave us the perfect spot to source some local foodstuffs and pick up ingredients for an outdoor lunch to enjoy in one of the many green spaces the city offers.  I knew I had to pay a visit to the Fair Food Farmstand, home to organic regional produce and  regional cheeses. There are many other shops that feature seasonal fruits and vegetables from nearby farms.  Really, you could find just about any type of food here.

A fun spot to try is the Olive oil, where you can taste test a dizzinging selection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars and the perfect spot for me to pick up a few varieteis for my vinegar lovers at home, who are known to drink it straight from the bottle!

We chose to head back to Rittenhouse Square and enjoy an outdoor lunch

Photo by R. Kennedy via GPTMC

Close by at 18th and Walnut Streets, Anthropologie’s flagship is housed in a building that I mention because it had really amazing details. Make sure to look up inside, as there is what has to be one of the cities most amazing ceilings-a portrait beehive of Italian princes framed in opulent gold.

This mansion was built in 1898 and originally home to Alexander Van Renssalear, a descendant of the wealthy founder of the Dutch East India Company. I read that the store is currently up for sale, and although the lease runs until 2016, I hope the city will be able to preserve the inner beauty of this beautiful piece of architecture.

If you’ve been reading Green With Renvy for any lenght of time, you know that I get to the waterfront when ever I can.  Although a little quiet when we arrived, it’s obvious this area is having a bit of a rennaisance with all the construction going on. Note: one of the city’s 3600 murals in the lower left corner.

Sculptor Glenna Goodacre created the Irish Memorial commemorating the 1850 famine in Ireland.



That evening we had the privilege of eating at Ellen Yin’s Fork resturant. {i’ll be devoting a post to our meal there on Monday}. Located in the Old City area, chef Yin is credited with reviving the area’s restaurant renaissance.  Using locally grown ingredients she creates a menu of  modern, sophisticated dishes. In one word-WOW. You’ll want to be here for an blog worthy review of the Chef’s seasonally based tasting menu next week.  The extensive meal put me in a slight food coma, and the Hotel Palomar’s welcome fireplace couldn’t appear soon enough!

The next morning before our train, we had only a short amount of time.  We wanted to see the Old City in daylight, where the founding Father’s had declared liberty and built down the roots of our government.  charming cobblestoned streets still line much of the area, along with plenty of 18th century character.


There are many fashionable boutiques and galleries, as well as coffee shops and restaurants.


Our last stop was the Snyderman-Works Galleries, a legend in the world of fine craft.  We were so lucky to have Ruth Snyderman give us a personal tour of the space, along with a bit of history and spend some time talking about one of our favorite subjects with she and Frank Hobson, the knowledgeable director.

Representing some of the best in the country, the gallery has an impressive roster of artists working in ceramics, glass, jewelry, fiber and wood.  Founded in 1965, it is one of the first galleries to recognize the importance of contemporary crafts, and helped to shape the movement across the United States.

I fell head over heals for this piece by Cathy Rose called Patience.  It was a perfect piece to keep in my mind’s eye as we headed back to the train station.

After a whirlwind 48 hours, it is easy to see why visitors love coming to the City of Brotherly Love.  We felt the warmth too, and with so much left to still explore, look forward to a return trip.  Finding this little donut tidbit in my bag on the train home only emphasized how positive the experience was as I let the sweet orange flavor slowly melt in my mouth!

Green With Renvy partnered with VisitPhilly for my visit.