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Saints & Spirits Trail in Philadelphia and Its Countryside
With its iconic places of worship and its renowned breweries, you might say that in Philadelphia both meanings of “spirit” receive their due. The city has much to summon the best and worst of human nature—although we will leave it up to you to decide which of the City of Love’s longstanding traditions merits the superlative. This fall, find your divine along the Saints & Spirits Trail in Philadelphia and its countryside.
Historic Christ Church, founded in 1695 by William Penn, has been referred to as “our finest Early American church.” Constructed in the imposing Georgian style, it contained the greatest exemplars of history as well as of faith—including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Betsy Ross—who all walked, worshipped, or were even buried in its cemetery.
Following over two hundred years of American distilling tradition, Dad’s Hat Distilling crafts authentic small batch rye whiskey from locally sourced ingredients. Dad’s Hat may have been the recipient of several brewing awards (including being a semifinalist in the 2017 James Beard Awards), but there’s nothing like trying it for yourself to see if it measures up to the hype.
At the Quaker Arch Street Meeting House, you won’t find any stained glass or lofty church steeples: instead, the ideals of simplicity and equality are represented in its plain design and quality craftsmanship. Visitors are welcomed to join in the worship of quiet contemplation, a ritual which has been carried out at the Meeting House since its construction in 1804.
For a pilgrimage condensed into a mere day, visitors are welcome to join in on the Catholic Shrines of Philadelphia by JMJ Tours. As home of St. John Neumann and St. Katherine Drexel, the city boasts several significant shrines and churches that showcase the city’s rich Catholic heritage.
Philadelphia Distilling is operated out of an old factory and, despite is ultra-modern industrial aesthetic, is notably Philadelphia’s first post-Prohibition distillery. Sample their Bluecoat American Dry Gin or Penn 1681 Vodka for their signature blend of trendiness and timelessness.
The synagogue Rodeph Shalom dates to 1795, marking the fusing of the first Ashkenazic congregation in America. The building and its interior, rebuilt in 1931 by two prominent design firms of the day, is a stunning worship space reflecting the Byzantine Revival Style in its interior and the Art Deco style on its exterior. Enclosed in the Italian marble ark are six Torah scrolls, one of which was spared from the Holocaust and brought from the Czech Republic.
At Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church and Museum, visitors can absorb the ethos that been passionately advancing the spiritual, social, and civic causes of African Americans since it was founded by emancipated slave Bishop Richard Allen in the late 18th century. Please note that tours must be reserved for Tuesday through Saturday, or self-guided tours without a reservation are permitted on Sundays after the worship service.
Yards Brewing has been a mainstay in Philadelphia for years. Decades ago, college friends Tom and Jon decided to brew some beer for their friends—and before long, they were supplying all of Philly with beer. Stop by to sample what’s on tap and why this is such a staple for the people of Philadelphia.