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12 Steps Planet: Philadelphia
It’s the undiscovered jewel of the American North-East, a city steeped in history, with a personality distinctly its own.
Eamonn Seoige, 19 Apr 2012
Where exactly is it?
Philadelphia is the largest city in the north-eastern US state of Pennsylvania. Situated along the banks of both the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers it is the fifth most densely inhabited urban area in the United States with a population of over 1.5 million. It borders New Jersey.
How do I get there?
There are plenty of convoluted multi-stop routes from Ireland to Philadelphia. Who needs the hassle? Fly direct from Dublin to New York’s JFK with Aer Lingus. From there it’s a little over 80 miles by road to Philadelphia, PA. Rent a car or, for a truly American experience, hop on a Greyhound bus from Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan. You’ll be in Philly in a couple of hours.
What language do they speak?
English is naturally the majority language in ‘The Quaker City’. The distinct local dialect is known as ‘Philadela’. The city has large Asian and Latin American immigrant populations, with Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese and other languages widely spoken. There is also a significant Russian community. Arabic is spoken by the growing Middle Eastern population. Old-timers speaking their mother tongues can be heard in the long-established Polish, Ukrainian and Italian neighbourhoods.
What is the local beer like?
Pennsylvania has a long tradition of beer production, with over 70 breweries in operation. DG Yuengling and Son, in Pottsville, is the oldest operating brewery in the US and produces a range of ales, beers and lagers. However, with microbreweries and brewpubs aplenty it’s certainly worth trying out some of the lesser-known beverages. Keep an eye out for Imperial Stout, produced by the Victory Brewing Company, and, for something completely different, a pint of Selins Grove Pumpkin Ale!
The rich soil of the Pennsylvanian countryside is home to some of the largest apple orchards in the US and some excellent cider! There are numerous craft cider mills around the state, where traditional methods of pressing apples and wood barrel aging are still in use. Pennsylvania’s moderate climate is also ideal for cultivating vineyards, resulting in a thriving wine industry. If you fancy yourself something of a grape connoisseur wine trail trips, bringing punters to multiple wineries, are ten-a-penny.