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

Kelly Drive

Love Note #274: The love story of a river and a trail

Joe S.
Favorite Spot: Kelly Drive
Neighborhood: Art Museum

I am: a transplanted suburbanite
Years in Philly: 4
Current Home: Northern Liberties

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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Art Museum Leave a comment

Love Note #223: What is love?

Melissa Geary (ex-pat files)
Favorite Spot: Kelly Drive
Neighborhood: Art Museum
Address: It’s its own address

I Am: A medical student
Years in Philly: Two
Current Home: Daytona Beach, Florida

Melissa-Geary-Philly-7 Read more

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Art Museum 2 Comments

Love Note #165: Theresa McCaul-Miller’s love poem to Laurel Hill Cemetery

Theresa McCaul-Miller
Favorite Spot: Laurel Hill Cemetery
Address: 3822 Ridge Ave  Philadelphia, PA 19132
Neighborhood: North Philly

I am: A bird building her nest in the burbs.
Years in Philly: On and off Philly girl for decades; I wander away, but seem to always return.
Current Home: East Norriton


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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in East Falls/Roxborough 1 Comment

Love Note #59: Katie Sweeney loves a very specific 8.42 miles along Kelly Drive

Katie Sweeney
Favorite Spot: “The Loop,” Kelly Drive running path
Neighborhood: Fairmount Park-ish
Address: surrounding the Schuylkill

I am: an advertising copywriter and product/company namer who dabbles in broken umbrella photography and triathlon in my spare time.
Years in Philly: closing in on 8 (woah!)
Current Home: Fairmount

My Love Note:
Dear 8.42 miles,
Thank you for turning me into a Runner. For the quarter mile markers that pushed me to go further until the first time I saw every single one, finishing right where I started. Rocky held his arms a bit higher for me that morning.

Thank you for the water fountains every two miles, (but not really for that one fountain at mile four that always tastes like rust, but yes, even thank you for that one, because it’s bonded me with plenty of others like me when we exchange knowing looks and shake our heads, grateful at least for the breather), and for your luscious shade on the MLK side

Thank you for early mornings before work, knowing if I’m on schedule or running late, depending on where I pass familiar faces running in the opposite direction. Thank you for the rowers slicing through the water, and their coaches who bark feedback, some of which I tuck into my own stride. Shoulders back, Sweeney! Thank you, especially, for the crew team wearing ROYGBIV during morning practice on March first; I was closing in on my first half-ironman and this was the first day this year that I switched my training runs to morning sessions. It was overcast and lonely, and I was happy for a rainbow.
Thank you for being an 8.42-mile respite in a busy city – an oasis from honking taxis, belching bus exhaust, and drivers who don’t look both ways before turning. Thank you for allowing me time alone, and time to share stories with multiple running partners. Thank you for turning me into a Runner.


(all pictures were taken during the Back on My Feet run)

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Art Museum 1 Comment

Love note #47: Thomas Choinacky discovers the joys of biking along the Schuykill River Trail

Thomas Choinacky
Favorite Spot: Riding my bike along the Schuylkill River Trail
Neighborhood: Along the east side of the Schuylkill into Wissahickon Park
Address: The trail

I am: A performing artist who enjoys ringing the squirrel bell on my bicycle.
Years in Philly: 5 years
Current Home: South Philly (6th and Dickinson)

My love note: Outside of work and sleep I am one of two places. At Grindcore House to get my neighborhood coffee fix or riding my bike. Once caffeinated there are times that I have crashed and bled on your roads (many times, actually). There are also calmer moments of riding on the trail or on holidays (Philly becomes a ghost town on Thanksgiving — great for riding). It is more chaotic through Boathouse Row, and mazing through the summer rowing race fans, but finally passing under the towering highways near Conshohocken is always a visual treat. I have often photographed up, looking at the roads above with the blue/cloudy skies in the back. Then you pedal further reaching the Wissahickon. There, riding, you can become one with the trees and shade. I am also waiting for the day when the trail connects further south. The hidden gem of the Schuylkill Banks is south of Gray’s Ferry. There the trail “continues”, and hopefully one day will fully connect with the northern part of the trail. Which ever way you ride, pack a picnic. There are plenty of great spots to stop and take in the shade.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City Leave a 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