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By Janice Bokor Top Producer | Agent in 19103



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The Cleopatra Girlfriends Weekend Itinerary

Girls rule while Cleopatra reigns in Philadelphia!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vango Bar


Strong, shrewd, beautiful and beguiling, Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh to rule Egypt before the completion of the Roman conquest, has been portrayed reverently by historians and Hollywood alike, making her an enduring icon and role model to women. As such, the world debut of Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt at The Franklin Institute, which runs from June 5, 2010 through January 2, 2011, will likely resonate with thousands of women who admire the ancient queen. It's also an ideal opportunity to gather friends together for a girlfriends' getaway in Philly.

Friday - 9:30 a.m.

Check In

Pamper yourselves like the royalty that you are by checking into one of 11 hotels offering the Cleopatra VIP Hotel Package. The package includes overnight accommodations for two and two VIP (untimed, bypass-the-line) tickets to the exhibition. Before you leave, dress in comfortable shoes and clothes that transition well from day to evening, as your day takes you from sightseeing to a sultry night out.

Friday - 10:30 a.m.

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

Take a pleasant walk through Washington Square, one of William Penn's original parks, to adorn your body in true Cleopatra fashion by picking up some baubles on Jewelers' Row, the nation's oldest diamond district and also one of its largest.

Washington Square
6th & Walnut Streets
(215) 965-2305

Friday - 12 noon

Dine Like A Diva

Admire your purchases over lunch around the corner at one of the city's latest hotspots for stylish dining. Union Trust cooks steaks and seafood to order in an opulent former bank building (and prices many of its lunch items at a remarkably low $7.17). If you'd rather, hop the purple Phlash trolley or hail a taxi to the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, where the Fountain Restaurant is serving specially themed cocktails and a lunchtime Cleopatra Tasting Menu, consisting of chickpea hummus, slow-cooked duck and acacia honey and almond cake.

Friday - 1:30 p.m.

A Feminine Role Model For The Ages

Now it's time for the weekend's main attraction: Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt at The Franklin Institute, located virtually around the corner from the Four Seasons hotel. Making its world debut in Philadelphia, the exhibit features approximately 150 artifacts and multimedia components that will transport you from modern-day America to ancient Egypt.

The Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th Street
(215) 448-1200

Friday - 3:45 p.m.

More Bling

Take a stroll up the majestic Benjamin Franklin Parkway - making sure to pose for pictures in front of the grandiose Swann Memorial Fountain, designed by Alexander Stirling Calder - toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building. If you're visiting between September 4 and December 5, 2010, ooh and ahh over the 80 necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings and nearly 30 fashion photographs by artists from Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia that comprise Desert Jewels: North African Jewelry and Photography from the Xavier Guerrand-Hermès Collection on view. If your trip brings you outside those dates, browse the public closets that are the costume and textiles galleries, often featuring special historical and contemporary exhibitions of couture.

Swann Memorial Fountain
19th Street & Logan Square

Friday - 5 p.m.

Party Like A Princess

When the Perelman Building closes, walk or catch a free shuttle for the short ride to the Philadelphia Museum of Art's main building for Art After 5, taking place every Friday. For the price of admission, you can tour the galleries until 8:45 p.m. and enjoy a live jazz cocktail party while sipping a cocktail and nibbling hors d'oeuvres (for an additional charge) in the Grand Stair Hall.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway
(215) 763-8100

Friday - 7:30 p.m.

Fit For A Queen

It's just a short cab ride to dinner around oh-so-fab Rittenhouse Square, where you can feast like a Pharaoh at Tavern 17 with a themed menu that includes baba ghanoush; grilled calamari wrapped in grape leaves with falafel, orange lettuce salad with roasted beets; Egyptian-style lamb kebab; broiled sole; and honey-glazed baklava served with figs, dates, almonds, pistachios and grapes. Or go for lighter fare at Zama, a modern and innovative sushi joint opened recently by Hiroyuki "Zama" Tanaka, one of Philadelphia's most venerated sushi chefs.

Tavern 17
220 S. 17th Street
(215) 790-1799

Friday - 10 p.m.

Up On The Roof

You're already in the heart of one of the city's most happening nightlife districts so take advantage - if you still have the energy - by securing a perch on the mezzanine or at the rooftop lounge at Continental Mid-town, a hotspot owned by celebrity restaurateur Stephen Starr. If you'd prefer cozy conversation in an equally sophisticated spot, try the bar at Square 1682, a Guillermo Tellez-run operation where locals and tourists meet over fresh eco-friendly cocktails, beers and wines.

Continental Mid-town
1801 Chestnut Street
(215) 567-1800

Saturday - 10 a.m.


Sleep in a little, then opt for breakfast at your hotel or take a car or taxi ride over to University City for brunch at famous White Dog Café, one of the nation's leaders in the local food movement, or go straight to your morning's destination and grab a quick bite right in the café at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

White Dog Café
3420 Sansom Street
(215) 386-9224

Saturday - 10:30 a.m.

Around The World

Follow up your visit to the Cleopatra exhibition with a journey through the Penn Museum's large and diverse collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts showcasing 5,000 years of Egyptian history. To coincide with the Cleo exhibition, curators have mounted a self-guided tour called Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt that explores what it meant to be a pharaoh. In addition, Amarna: Ancient Egypt's Place in the Sun showcases more than 100 artifacts that tell the story of the rise and fall of the short-lived royal city and childhood home of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
3260 South Street
(215) 898-4001

Saturday - 1 p.m.

Global Tastes

Explore the cuisines of the world in University City, where student culture and populous immigrant neighborhoods bring dozens of inexpensive ethnic cafes to the streets of West Philadelphia. New Delhi and Pattaya Grill are good ones to sample for Indian and Thai food, respectively.

Got more of a domestic palate? Drive directly up to Chestnut Hill, the leafy and grand residential/commercial district where you'll spend the afternoon. Cake is a quaint and casual shop with lunch seating, while Chestnut Grill & Sidewalk Café provides indoor and outdoor table service for contemporary American food.

New Delhi
4004 Chestnut Street
(215) 386-1941

Saturday - 2:30 p.m.

Relax Like An Egyptian

Give yourselves the royal treatment at 3000BC WellMed Spa, a renowned day spa that imparts the beauty secrets of ancient Egypt, from the use of essential botanical oils to the packages that draw on Egyptian-inspired practices and ingredients.

3000 BC WellMed Spa
8439 Germantown Avenue
(215) 247-6020

Saturday - 4 p.m.

Shop, Shop, Shop!

Freshly energized, it's time to wander along Germantown Avenue to peek in Chestnut Hill's charming local boutiques, from Artisans on the Avenue, specializing in handmade women's fashions, gifts and home accessories, to Mango, which sells colorful cotton sundresses and peasant skirts, fabric patchwork handbags made in Guatemala and anything that can be batiked.

Artisans on the Avenue
8440 Germantown Avenue
(215) 381-0582

Saturday - 7:30 p.m.

Girls' Night Out

After freshening up in your hotel room, catch a cab to Northern Liberties, an industrial-turned-hipster neighborhood that's once again getting a makeover with the addition of dressed-up restaurants, boutiques and a cobblestoned European-style community plaza called the Piazza at Schmidt's. Transport yourselves to Spain by sashaying into Bar Ferdinand, a wine and tapas bars with a ruby red color scheme, walls covered in tile mosaics and dried roses hanging gloriously from the ceiling beams. Or travel west for dinner at Koo Zee Doo, a hearth-warmed yet lively Portuguese bring-your-own bottle restaurant that, in its first year, is burning up the nation's restaurant review pages.

Piazza at Schmidts
2nd Street and Germantown Avenue
(267) 455-0471

Saturday - 9:30 p.m.

Beer, Burgers and Burritos

Meander through the Piazza to take in some drinks and dancing at PYT, a come-as-you-are burger joint and nightclub where effortlessly fashionable regulars will make you feel like a local. Or cross the street to Liberties Walk at Schmidts, a bricked pedestrian mall anchored on one side by El Camino Real, a bourbon and tequila bar that defines itself by its kitschy Tex Mex décor and cross-cultural food. For some of the best-known craft-beer bars in the nation, sample a range of regionally brewed and Belgian suds at Standard Tap, The Abbaye and N. 3rd.

1050 N. Hancock Street
(215) 964-9009

Sunday - 9 a.m.

The Scent Of A Woman

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel or get a small bite at the café in Longwood Gardens (gardens open at 9:00 a.m.; café opens at 10:00 a.m.), your morning destination, which is a 45-minute drive into pastoral Chester County.

Sunday - 10 a.m.

Queen Cleopatra's beauty regimen relied heavily on her love of floral perfume, which she made herself. Until November 21, 2010, Longwood Gardens will be redolent with the smell of Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance, an exhibition that delves into the history, science and seductive power of fragrance. In the exhibit, visitors discover that Egyptians created one of the earliest perfumes, using a combination of honey, myrrh, juniper berries and wine. Visiting after the exhibition closes? You surely won't regret spending a few hours wandering through one of the most lavish and beautiful gardens in the world.

Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square
(610) 388-1000

Sunday - 12 noon

Ladies Who Lunch

Remain immersed amongst the flowers by lunching on a salad and the award-winning mushroom soup at Longwood's café, or stay for an elegant Sunday brunch that offers both an a la carte and a four-course prix-fixe menu, not to mention a stunning view of the gardens through the picture windows. You could also take a short drive east along Route 1 until you arrive at Chadds Ford's Bistro on the Brandywine, serving casual French fare like hearth-baked pizza, fresh salads and creative interpretations of bistro standards. If you're not hungry yet, pick up supplies for a picnic lunch at the on-site Bistro to Go and bring them down the road to your afternoon excursion.

Bistro on the Brandywine
1623 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford
(610) 388-8090

Sunday - 1:15 p.m.

Red, White And Rosé

At Chaddsford Winery, the largest in Pennsylvania, enjoy a self-guided tour of the winemaking facilities, a wine tasting and a picnic with your newly discovered favorite bottle on the grounds overlooking the orchards.

Chaddsford Winery
632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford
(610) 388-6221

Hotels + More -

The Basics


If you're traveling from New York, New England, DC, Baltimore, Harrisburg, etc., Amtrak is easy - and you can get 40% off a companion fare when you use our special discount code V553. Book online at Amtrak or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.


If you drive here, stash your car off-street until you leave. Though you might enjoy an occasional cab, trolley or carriage ride, there's nothing you can't reach on foot. Parking regulations are enforced in the historic area, and you may find yourself getting towed with un-municipal efficiency.

Start at the Center

The Independence Visitor Center (IVC) - the exclusive pick-up location for free tickets to Independence Hall - offers personalized trip-planning services, free WIFI, brochures and maps, informational exhibits and films, a gift shop, two cafes and tickets to all major tours and attractions in the Philadelphia region. Located at 6th & Market Streets across from the Liberty Bell, the IVC is your one-stop-shop for tickets, souvenirs, itinerary planning, maps and more. Stop at the IVC when you arrive in Philadelphia, or call 800-537-7676 to speak to a live concierge.


You can't get much closer to the action than the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, which combines modern design, sustainable practices and a sleek restaurant/bar (Square 1682) to make your Philly stay all the more swanky.

The Independent, meanwhile, is a new boutique hotel right in Center City. Each guest room features its own unique design, while the building - an example of Georgian-Revival architecture - is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Philly Overnight® Hotel Package is a popular getaway - and a terrific deal. It's available throughout the year and gives you free parking (worth $50 or more) and special offers and discounts - in addition to deluxe accommodations in Center City Philadelphia. Check out the package, then pick your favorite hotel.

More food and drink, please!

Of course, what has been recommended is just a sample of the amazing range of food and drink in Philadelphia. Take a closer look at the city's Dining and Nightlife offerings and pick your favorites.

117 S. 17th Street
Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA 19103

MOBILE: 516-637-9621

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