*The entrance to the Rodin Musem in Philadelphia. One of many such attractions.
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WELCOME TO PHILADELPHIA, AMERICA'S FIRST
CAPITAL AND STILL A MAJOR DRAW
Golfing Groups: To facilitate tee time bookings and for maximum travel convenience and enjoyment we suggest that a small group of up to six golfers, or three couples, would be ideal.
Romantic Breaks: Oodles of activities and sight-seeing mean that the city and the surrounding country-side would be ideal for a romantic break. The attractions would be magnified if the couple, or three couples as above, were golfers and/or history buffs. Philadelphia is a unique holiday destination.
*A fellow could run out of fingers while counting the advantages in choosing Pennsylvania for his next major golfing holiday. Heck, you could even give golf a miss (well, for a couple of days) and simply luxuriate in the pleasures of Philadelphia or Pittsburgh and you'd return home raving about the place.
As tourist attractions the State's major cities have everything to satisfy the devout hedonist and his Best Beloved. In fact, in Philadelphia particularly, a fellow would win heaps of brownie points simply by turning his lady loose for a spot of tax-free shopping whilst he slips away for a few holes of golf.
The State is roughly 340 miles wide and 180 deep with the Allegheny Mountains running diagonally north east to south west. Pittsburgh in the west is about 320 miles from Philadelphia, and the latter (population 1.6 million and the second largest city on the US east coast) is a two hour drive from New York and a short ferry boat ride across the Delaware River from New Jersey.
ABOUT THE GOLF
The golf? There's oodles of it, ranging from good quality daily fee courses to top ranking private clubs such as Oakmont, Merion and Saucon Valley, to name but three. They're exclusive, to be sure, but not inaccessible for those who know the form. In addition, there are several resorts which offer golf, among them one of America's finest.
The game is huge in Pennsylvania. The State has two million amateur golfers and more than 350 golf clubs with 500-plus courses that run the gamut from municipal daily fee lay-outs to plush country clubs. You pays your money, you makes your choice... At the top of the pile are Merion and Oakmont, both renowned venues for historic events over the years, with several others only slightly less venerable but of comparable quality.
In the Philadelphia region, for instance, will be found Saucon Valley and Commonwealth National, both also private and exclusive but marginally more accessible. We played them on successive days and were left with the view that golf doesn't come much better, nor the welcome warmer. For a detailed review of the golf courses click here.
Philadelphia's attractions are largely historic: it was once the principal city of America. Here in 1776 was adopted the Declaration of Independence, the document that sparked the Revolution against British colonialism, and in 1787 the Constitution of the United States was drafted at the building known as Independence Hall, later the first seat of government. Thus, Philadelphia is regarded as the nation's birthplace. It was the capital from 1791 to 1800 and for long afterwards was the financial heart of the country, the home of both the first US Mint and the first Stock Exchange, both still extant.
So history buffs will be boggle-eyed as they stroll around this most elegant of cities. There's a well-mapped walking tour that takes in the major attractions and, being on a grid system that became the template for all US cities, it is easily navigable. The pavements are wide and tree-lined and there's a first class public transportation system which also serves the out-of-town attractions, such as the vast shopping mall that claims to be America's finest -- among its other facilities it has eight department stores and 40 restaurants!.
Without being prolix, mention must be made of the cultural attractions, the theatres, museums and art galleries that abound. The city boasts the finest collection of Impressionist art in the world outside of Paris and a Rodin Museum that may be without peer. With a host of impressive buildings and a plethora of gardens and public parks the city itself is a visual delight, particularly at night when the major buildings are illuminated. The architects must have had a ball here!
It's also a city of great convenience. The airport is but 20 minutes from the area known as Center City and upon leaving our hotel we were on a motorway slip road within five minutes and in wooded countryside five minutes later, en route to golf.
Philadelphia is regarded by gourmet magazines as the capital of US cuisine. It has more restaurants listed in the nation's top 20 than any other city and there are dozens of others catering to every taste and budget in the down-town area known as South Street. You could try a different restaurant each evening and flip a coin to decide which was the highlight.
This is the hub of the city's vibrant night life and a centre for jazz and blues music that rivals Chicago. You'll require steely determination, or an iron constitution, to keep an early tee time!
WHERE TO STAY
As befits a major city, most hotels of the internationally branded chains will be found here, all convenient for or in Center City. We stayed at The Westin and found it most agreeable as well as convenient. Your tour operator or travel agent will assist with reservations at hotels known to him.
WHEN TO GO
Summer is invariably the peak season for travelling anywhere long haul and air fares would be at their peak then, so late Spring and Autumn would be ideal, for sight-seeing and golf.
TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR HOLIDAY
Many international airlines fly into Philadelphia and in preference to others we would use this as a gateway to most destinations in the US.
The airport is only 20 minutes from Center City so a transfer by taxi would not be expensive. Once in situ, a walking tour is the best way to see the attractions. Golfers on tour might prefer to rent a car and our preferred tour operator will include this in your package.
Is the US $, obviously. For current rates of exhange click here.
English is the dominant language, although the city is cosmopolitan and Europeans would bump into domiciled expatriates in most hotels and restaurants.
Roughly -5 hours behind GMT.
BOOKING YOUR HOLIDAY/VACATION TO PHILADELPHIA
Our prefered golf tour operator for holidays in various US States is Destination Golf.
For details of a package to Philadelphia contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
To view their web site click on www.destinationgolf.co.uk
Please mention Posh Golf Travel and ask about discounts.