One of the most beautiful sites in Philadelphia is hidden. Set aside in the lobby of the Curtis Building, what is now a still in use office building but was once the Saturday Evening Post offices, is a Tiffany mosaic based on a Parrish artwork. The Dream Garden Mosaic is a masterpiece based on a masterpiece.
It’s 24 panels took 6 months to install in 1916 by the Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios, one of only three such pieces ever done by Tiffany Studios. The mosaic, entitled Dream Garden, is a 15 × 49-foot beauty made of more than 100,000 pieces of favrile glass. The scene was painted by a Philadelphian artist, Maxfield Parrish.
Inside the marble lobby and behind a fountain, it’s a refreshing break from the historical hustle and bustle across the street on the Independence Mall. There are more than 260 colors represented in the artwork depicting a serene landscape that really is a dream garden.
NOTE: The lobby is not open on Sundays or holidays! It’s a regular office building, however the artwork is owned by Philadelphia Academy of Arts – the piece was bought by a casino owner who wanted to move it to Las Vegas and Philadelphia rallied to buy it back!
Free Tours by Foot offers pay-what-you-like walking, bike, bus, food and theme tours for every budget, because we believe that everybody should be able to explore the stories, history, and hidden gems of the city they are visiting. We offer tours of U.S. cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Charleston and New Orleans and we often have visitors exploring our tours in different cities. We frequently get the question, what we suggest are the best ways to get around the U.S. and while most travelers have a car or rent a car, that option does not always suit everybody. Here are some budget-friendly ways to travel from city to city without car.
Connecting New York – Boston – Philadelphia – Washington D.C.
A great, easy, and budget-friendly option to travel between the big cities of the northeast is by bus. There are several different bus companies that are connecting the Northeast cities; and depending which route you take, tickets can be as cheap as $12 one-way. Thanks to the increased number of bus companies, there usually is enough time to book your ticket online 24 hours in advance, unless you are set on a specific time schedule or travel with a larger group. Also, bear in mind, rush hour departures/arrivals around 9am and 5pm can add another hour to your trip if your bus gets stuck in traffic. Here are some suggestions:
Boltbus – a crowd pleaser with guaranteed seating, and easy boarding process, they usually book out last minute, so book early.
Megabus – offers a lot of departure time options, as their fleet departs more often than the others
Peter Pan – another great budget option and especially popular for Boston trips
Greyhound – the classy and a little more pricy option with more flexibility for refunds; make sure you arrive 30 minutes early for boarding to grab a good seat
DC2NY – as the name suggests they operate between NYC and DC; if you like a little more upscale bus ride experience; only rides twice a day; during the summer months, they also offer travel to Rehoboth Beach in Maryland
Washington Deluxe – operates between NYC and DC; great if you want to be dropped off in Brooklyn
Connecting Washington DC – Chicago – New Orleans – Charleston
First, check with your airline or flight search engines, such as Kayak, you might be surprised to find a sweet deal for a flight. If flying is not an option, your best bet to connect these longer distances might be by train. Going by train will certainly feel like an adventure itself and it is a more relaxing way to see the country compared to sitting in a bus, because you can walk around, read a book, etc. and let’s face it, sometimes the journey itself is the reward of travel. Make sure you book your ticket at least 3 weeks in advance, because last minute travel by train can get really pricy. Check with Amtrak for times and prices. Here are the current estimates:
Washington to New Orleans – 26 hours; $147 one-way
New Orleans to Chicago – 19 hours; $127 one-way
Chicago to Washington – 17.5 hours; $94 one-way
Washington to Charleston, SC – 9 hours; $97 one-way
Greyhound also connects these cities, though you might have to add on some extra travel hours and transfers.
Free Tours by Foot is looking forward to seeing you soon at one or more of our many tours. Save travels!