Philadelphia Here I Come
By Leigh Cort
If there is one historic inn to experience in Philadelphia, the Thomas Bond House in Old City will thrill you with its authenticity and place in time, not to mention its fabulous City location. Although there may be 829 eateries to order a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, there is only one Town House circa 1769 ~ nestled inside the Independence National Historical Park ~ which serves as a bed and breakfast today. It promises to transport you back to pre-Continental Congress and the beginning of America's freedom from Britain in 1776.
Welcome to Thomas Bond House
Innkeeper Richard Bauer opens your door to yesterday's historic pedigree and today's best neighborhood near the riverfront and 50+ restaurants/clubs, blending the two beautifully. The city's district that used to house the most prominent residents of its day included a who's who of American history or Bond's contemporaries: John Dickenson, William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Morris and the esteemed Dr. Thomas Bond himself. A friend and neighbor of Benjamin Franklin and recognized as a celebrated physician, together they are credited with founding the first public hospital in the U.S. Chartered in 1751; Pennsylvania Hospital is the oldest in the country.
Entering the 4-story house, its historically significant classic Georgian style is comforting, from parlor and 2-level dining room to the staircase that leads to 12 bedrooms and suites. Surround yourself in its past life from private home ( built by Dr. Bond for his son who practiced medicine with his father and also served in the revolutionary war) to leather tannery, customs brokerage and retail establishments that began by 1810. If architecture fascinates, you can spend a day exploring the home's fireplaces, distinctive roof cornice, numerous building additions and the most interesting ?borrowed light window' in the Benjamin Franklin room on the garret floor.
Each bedroom and the two suites offer warm gracious luxury. All have been carefully restored, furnished to represent its various eras and sprinkled with authentic accessories. You can pore over early American maps, genealogy, framed portraits and Philadelphia history that promise to enchant while visiting. A weekday Continental breakfast or weekend full breakfast is served in two politely appointed dining rooms. Small meetings or parties are invited into a perfectly private closed door ?meeting room'?three steps up from the wide-planked main level.
Thomas Bond House Dining Room
Thomas Bond enjoyed an illustrious life (1712-1784). He was a true American, born in Maryland and educated/trained in Paris, France who contributed significantly to the field of medical science in early America. He was a member of the first staff of Pennsylvania Hospital and served for free, in addition to co-founding the American Philosophical Society in 1760 with ?Dr.' Franklin. The elaborate Colonial era wood carving of the staircase at nearby City Tavern was copied from the Inn's grand stair. A ?must dine' for guests, just cross the street where you can cozy into a corner for libations or sit by the fireplace for authentic early American cuisine.
CITY TAVERN Est. 1773
Contemporary life of the surrounding area is perfect for walking to theaters including the acclaimed Academy of Music and Philadelphia Orchestra, a wide selection of restaurants, the Delaware River waterfront, city shopping and of course the heartbeat of Philadelphia's Independence Hall and world-class museums. There is a wonderful inner city rail system including Amtrak; taxis pass by the Inn 24/7.
Entrance to Carpenter's Hall
Even if you're not a sandwich aficionado, a visit to the City of Brotherly Love wouldn't be complete without a signature Philly Cheesesteak. Mounded generously on a warm hoagy roll, the cheese, sautéed onions and paper thin beef ARE yummy. Optionally, a shake of hot sauce could make this a tradition through all seasons.
As I departed from Philadelphia and the Thomas Bond House, I remembered history lessons about the 13 original colonies who participated in the 2 nd Continental Congress of 1776. The musical show ?1776? depicts the three months of deliberation and debate that led up to the signing of one of the most important documents in the history of the United States, the Declaration of Independence. John Adam's lyrics ring in my memory as he sits in the Continental Congress alone, only hours before July 4 th , 1776?envisioning his free America:
?I see fireworks; I see the pageant, pomp and Parade. I hear the bells ringing out; I hear the cannons roar. I see America ? ALL America ? Free Forever More?.
A stay at the Thomas Bond House won't let you forget our American privileges!
The Thomas Bond House Bed & Breakfast
129 South 2 nd St., Philadelphia PA 19106
Provided by American Roads Travel Magazine - Visit American Roads Travel Magazine website.