Philly Love Notes Gift Guide

Hello friends and Philly-lovers, Time for the first Philly Love Letters Gift Guide! With some help from you, I put together a completely non-comprehensive list of amazing things being done right here in the city (or right outside). This only scratches the surface of the cool stuff being made here. There are always tons of great markets and small businesses to support (like Amalgam Comics, Philadelphia Independents, Yowie, and Omoi Zakka). And of course, one of the best gifts of all -- donating money, time, Read more

Giving Back 2017

Oh this year. Time to buckle down and do what I can to give back. Like last year, I'll be donating all of the profits from the map sales to local nonprofits from Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday. That means that your purchase of a map will help to support all of the following organizations: Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, Marian Anderson Historical Society, SEAMAAC, Red Paw Relief and Students Run Philly Style (more about the nonprofits below). Last year we raised Read more

#whyilovephillyarts Launches

It's official, the first #whyilovephillyarts, featuring Sean Martorana, is now live! Check out the prints below and purchase one of the 30 limited edition prints online. This is the first collaboration that aims to build a body of Philly-specific art across a variety of mediums for people to purchase with 100% of the profits going to the artist (along with a full commissions and licensing Read more


Love Note #: 236 A house is not a home unless you live on Judson Street

Rachel Isenberg
Favorite Spot: Judson Street between Aspen and Brown
Neighborhood: Fairmount

I Am: A neighbor, friend, tennis coach, mentor, language instructor, life adventurer. No order – all in one 🙂
Years in Philly: 6
Current neighborhood: Fairmount

Rachel-Isenberg-Judson-St-4 Read more

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Fairmount 19 Comments

Love Note #230: The Divine Lorraine is the Grand Dame of Philly

Laura Warnecke
Favorite Spot: Divine Lorraine
Neighborhood: North Philly
Address: 699 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

I Am: A lover of Philadelphia’s rich history
Years in Philly: 17
Current Home: South Philly (LoMo)

Laura Warnecke Divine Lorraine 1 Read more

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Fairmount 4 Comments

Love Your Park Week: From the Archives with Stephen Zook (Lemon Hill)

Editors Note: This week Philly Love Notes is teaming up with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation in honor of Love Your Park Day, being held this Saturday, November 17th. We’ll be posting some of our favorite Fairmount Park Love Notes all week in celebration, and remember, if you’ve got some kind words to say about your favorite park, please send them along to

Stephen Zook
Favorite Spot: Lemon Hill
Neighborhood: Fairmount / Fairmount Park
Address: Lemon Hill Drive

I am: A twenty-something transplant who lives and works in Philly.
Years in Philly: 6
Current Home: Fairmount

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Fairmount Leave a comment

Love Note #39: Quizmaster Johnny Goodtimes’ favorite spot? The Divine Lorraine, a place in need of much love

Johnny Goodtimes
Favorite Spot: The Divine Lorraine.
Neighborhood: Ave of the Arts North
Address: 699 North Broad

I am: Quizmaster, writer, and Philly’s foremost man of leisure. 
Years in Philly: I’ve been here just over 10 years.
Current Home: I live in the G-Ho area

My love note: My pick is hardly unique, but there is something about the Divine Lorraine that just draws me to it. Anytime I am ever north of City Hall, I make it a point to drive by the Divine Lorraine. There is no building in Philadelphia that I enjoy looking at more. Yeah, I’d like to see it refurbished, but I also really love the way it looks now. It’s such a spectacular building that the graffiti and boarded up windows don’t make it look trashy. They just give it more character, just add another chapter to the building’s enigmatic life instead of signaling ruin. Its history is so fascinating too. Divine Lorraine architect Willis G. Hale was the toast of the town in the 1880s, but by his death in 1907 he was discredited and financially destroyed. The building itself underwent an remarkable transformation from a luxury hotel to the first racially integrated hotel in the city run by one of the most eccentric men to ever call Philly home, the Reverend Major Jealous Divine. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I believe that places give off the energy of their history, and the Lorraine all but glows with it. Furthermore, I love how she is so imposing when you come up on her from Fairmount, just looms over you like Castle Greyskull. I’ll be honest, just writing about it makes me want to drive up North Broad this afternoon.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Fairmount 1 Comment

Love Note #35: Stephen Zook may have found one of the best views of the city at Lemon Hill in Fairmount Park

Stephen Zook
Favorite Spot: Lemon Hill
Neighborhood: Fairmount / Fairmount Park
Address: Lemon Hill Drive

I am: A twenty-something transplant who lives and works in Philly.
Years in Philly: 6
Current Home: Fairmount


My love note: You’re ambling down Kelly Drive. You hit the boat houses, and decide to cut off into Fairmount Park. Old, twisting steps peek out from the brush and trees. Winding and turning, they carry you up to a dirt footpath worn into the grass. You turn around, and over the treetops is the Schuylkill, the Art Museum, and the Philly skyline. Behind you is Lemon Hill Mansion, once home to one of the premier public gardens in the world. This spot is quiet and calm, allowing you to hide from Philadelphia’s gaze while peering out at it.

Philly is filled with spots like this, whether they are grandiose and world-renowned (Art Museum steps, I’m looking at you) or way-stations that let you take in a great view before diving back into the city’s tunnels (Spring Garden El stop, next up). If you want to see a familiar sight from an unfamiliar perspective, try standing at the top of the Art Museum steps at night, when it’s raining or snowing. During a night rainstorm, Center City’s lights cast a glow unto the clouds, creating a skyline that is both eerie and serene at the same time. Nighttime during snowfall creates some visibility problems, but Philly has never looked so majestic.



Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Fairmount 3 Comments

Love Note #13: Mugshots

Chaucee Stillman (aka:
Favorite Spot: Mugshots
Neighborhood: Fairmount
Address: 2106 Fairmount Ave 

I am: A recent university grad spending my time nannying two wonderful boys and photographing couples in love on the weekends (aka, weddings!) I’m a blogger by day, photographer by trade, and I love to travel.

Years in Philly: 4.5 years

Current Home:  Fairmount

My love note: Mugshots, you’re a doll. Your chai lattes (either iced or hot) are the perfect afternoon pickmeup. Hours of editing photos have been spent in your booths, and your bagels are too delicious to part with. Your afternoons may be a bit packed with little hipsters, but we can work around that. Cheers to good conversations, morning mochas, and neighborhood charm.

(Photos taken by Chaucee)

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