By Dan Majka
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Whether it’s a private driving tour, a walking tour or a day on a Segway, Awfully Nice Tours allows you to experience the finest Philadelphia has to offer, from the city’s great history to it’s food and culture.
“The general tour is a city tour from river to river,” says company president and tour guide Andy Maunder. “It will take in the Delaware River, it will talk about the history of the founding of the city, it will talk about William Penn and the Quakers. It will talk about colonial times, Benjamin Franklin, revolutionary history, but then it will come up through other parts of the city. We’ll go through the Italian Market, we’ll go to Center City, Reading Terminal Market. We’ll grab either a cheese steak somewhere or find other foods in Reading Terminal (Market). We’ll go to Love Park, the Comcast Center, out to the Rocky steps into Fairmount Park, along the Schuylkill River.”
Maunder says the idea for the driving tours came after a family visit to Rome.
“We had essentially a day to visit Rome. It’s very difficult to visit Rome in a day, so we found a man with a van and he took us around Rome and he explained the whole area and he gave us a real insight into the city. And I found that it was a great way to see a city.”
Maunder says one of the more popular driving tours is the Rocky Movie Tour, a 4-hour trip through the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
“I had somebody from England who wrote to me and said that they wanted to do a Rocky tour, and at that time I thought it’s kind of straight forward, it’s the Italian Market, the Rocky steps. But he wrote to me with a whole list of addresses, all different places; Rocky’s apartment, the pet shop, the gym, various street scenes, the Italian Market, the church where they got married.”
And if you prefer a trek through the city, Awfully Nice Tours provides a number of great walking tours, including a history tour.
“We introduce you to most of the iconic landmarks in the Historic District, whether it’s the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Washington Square Park, the Robert Morris statue, Carpenters’ Hall, Elfreth’s Alley, Betsy Ross House.”
But Maunder says they also introduce you to what is important today in the Historic District.
“Whether it’s Old City Coffee, or the T-Shirt Store, or some of the better restaurants in the area, because the Historic District is an area where people live, so it’s very much a current culture, as well as a historic culture.”
And beer drinkers can tap into Philly’s legendary beer scene on trip through the city’s bars and microbreweries.
“We provide a tour called Philly On Tap, which starts at the Clothespin next to City Hall. We talk a little about City Hall, we go the Wanamaker’s Store and then we go to McGillin’s, which is the oldest tavern in the city today. We introduce them to the beer that they have brewed for them in McGillin’s and we’ll introduce them to a lot of the history of the tavern there. But we’ll also introduce them to a lot of the stories about prohibition for example. So we kind of mix the interest in the craft beers around Philadelphia with the history of beer in Philadelphia.”
As an alternative to their driving and walking tours, Awfully Nice Tours lets you cruise the city on a Segway.
“We provide a 2-hour Segway tour that goes river to river. It covers 10.5 miles around the city. You’ll see the Delaware (River), the Schuylkill (River), the Rocky steps, Ben Franklin Parkway, Rittenhouse Square, Broad Street, City Hall. You’ll kind of see a little bit of everything. We also provide a 1-hour Segway tour which goes out along the Delaware out into South Philly, we see the Italian Market, we come back through Society Hill, and then we provide a 2-Hour cheese steak tasting tour.”
And Maunder points out you don’t have to be tourist to enjoy the sites of Philadelphia.
“It’s as much as 75-80% of our travelers are local people. That’s because many people who’ve lived in Philadelphia, maybe they were brought up in Philadelphia, then they moved out to some of the suburbs and they really haven’t come back into Philadelphia. And over the last 20 years Philadelphia has become this major, vibrant city that it definitely wasn’t 20 years ago.”
For more information about Awfully Nice Tours or to set up a custom tour, visit their website.
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