Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Family Getaways – Haunted or Not.
Every autumn Philadelphia’s historic quarter re frames its history alluding to events of an earlier time – some fiction some not and the rest of the area celebrates the season with pumpkins and happenings. Here’s the scoop.
Halloween offers plenty of “Poe-tential” for literary encounters with spooky characters, and family-friendly ghosts and goblins who some think still inhabit the centuries-old neighborhood. Historic Philadelphia’s Halloween adventures and haunted happenings span the gamut from playful and entertaining to historic and a bit frightening. Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) has an exhaustive list of possibilities for fun. I am passing along my favorite highlights of the season. Start at family-friendly Franklin Square
(Saturdays and Sundays in October). Come twilight, Philly Mini Golf’s scale-models of numerous local landmarks take on a mildly haunted atmosphere with fog effects, special lighting and spooky music. Families can don costumes and spend the afternoon decorating pumpkins, hearing spooky stories and riding on the Lightning Bolt Express at the Pumpkin Patch event. Later in the month, pint-sized ghosts and goblins may follow the Trick-or-Treat Trail or hop aboard the Lightning Bolt Express for a cruise around Franklin Square. (200 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 629-4026 or www.historicphiladelphia.org
) Celebrate with a princess.
The National Constitution Center’s is holding An Enchanted Masquerade with a day of crafts, etiquette classes, ballroom dance lessons, a costume contest, games and handfuls of Halloween candy, inspired by the Diana: A Celebration exhibition. Bonus points:
See Princess Diana’s famed wedding dress. (525 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 409-6700 or www.constitutioncenter.org
) Ghostly and ghastly walks
(daily in October). Tour participants see spooky sites and hear scary stories galore during the Spirits of ‘76 Ghost Tours, a one-part-history, two-parts-haunt walking tour that winds past 20 landmarks throughout Historic Philadelphia’s cobblestone streets. (325 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 525-1776 or www.spiritsof76.com
)Haunted trolley rides
(Thursdays through Sundays in October). The 90-minute Haunted Trolley Tour covers 20 creepy locations in Independence National Historical Park and Society Hill, including Franklin’s grave, historic cemeteries and centuries-old landmarks. Bonus points:
Every night in October at Signers' Garden trained performers and storytellers lead intrepid visitors on an eerie 90-minute Ghost Tour of Philadelphia. The jaunt winds through church graveyards and landmarks in Historic Philadelphia. (11 S. 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 413-7000 or http://ghosttour.com
) Hear graveyard stories
(weekends in October). The truth is often stranger than fiction and accounts of those who inhabit Christ Church are no exception. The dreaded Yellow Fever of 1793 filled up Philadelphia graveyards. Hear the story of some of its victims during a guided walking tour of Christ Church Burial Ground. (Arch Street between 4th & 5th Streets, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 922-1695 or www.christchurchphila.org
) Hear more graveyard stories
(weekends in October 26, 27, and 30). Laurel Hill offers slightly spooky activities every week in October and the fun culminates with Halloween Flashlight Tours - a dark adventure through the tombs escorted by theater veteran Larry Arrigale who makes the history and personalities in the yard of restless spirits almost come alive. (www.thelaurelhillcemetary.org
)Ride the rails
(weekend October 19-27). Each year New Hope and Ivyland Railroad runs haunted Halloween and trick or treat trains. Passengers of all ages board vintage trains powered by authentic steam locomotives haunted by ghosts – perhaps. Onboard enjoy animated story-telling while chugging down the tracks out in the countryside. (www.newhoperailroad.com
)Here’s the deal.
Halloween enthusiasts who book one of the 80 featured hotel packages on gophila.com/withlove will receive a special treat at check-in. The giveaway includes a Philadelphia Privileges coupon book, a five-pack of With Love postcards, a With Love pin and Philly Fill-Ins word games, along with other brochures, coupons and maps. Book online at gophila.com/withloveor by calling the hotel of choice directly.Make it happen.
For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit gophila.com
or call toll-free 1-800- 537-7676. Content and images provided by Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), and Peddlers Village with comments by Nancy Nelson-Duac. Copyright 2012