Friday, April 6, 2012

#DestinationFridays: MotownPHILLY's Back Again

Working for Virgin America, I often have amazing opportunities to get out of the office and travel. This week was no exception as I attended Virgin America's launch events in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia!  Events included a "Tailgate on the Tarmac" and an amazing party at the Hotel Palomar in Center City, Philadelphia in celebration of the airline's new non-stop flights to California.

Sir Richard Branson is joined by Philadephia Mayor Michael Nutter and Congressman Chaka Fattah on the tarmac. (Photo: Bob Riha, Jr)

The tailgate had a party atmosphere at the Virgin America gate in Terminal E that included food provided by local chain Chickie's and Pete's featuring crab fries and, of course, Philly cheesesteaks.  Moving to the tarmac, we sat in bleachers awaiting the aircraft's arrival and getting pumped up with classic Philadelphia songs.  Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter among others greeted the plane's guests to a red carpet welcome.

DJ Jazzy Jeff spins for the crowd - and they all loved it! (Photo: Virgin America)

The evening event was a star studded affair and celebrity guests included actors Terrence Howard and Seth Green, model and singer Amber Rose, Boys II Men singer Nate Morris, and an amazing performance by DJ Jazzy Jeff.  Other guests included former Mayor of Philadelphia and Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell and players from both the Eagles and Flyers.

What surprised me most was the amazingly cool atmosphere that was buzzing in Center City with plenty of trendy shops, restaurants, and bars.  I grew up in New Jersey and we would sometimes come to Philly for the day and there wasn't always a whole lot going on.  In the last 15 years, the city has totally transformed itself into the perfect mix of historical significance and urban cool.  I could really live and work here.  Easily.

Top historical sites include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and The Betsy Ross House, while the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Franklin Institute are always worth a visit.  No visit to Philadelphia is complete without embracing your inner foodie with a mandatory stop at the Reading Terminal to sample some local market cuisine and cure those late night cravings with a cheesesteak from Geno's or Pat's.  Both are open 24 hours and you'll sit side by side with locals, sports fans, and those dressed in their finest, all with one common goal, eating Philadelphia's best signature sandwich.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

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