The ADVANCE editorial staff is looking forward to covering the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting in our hometown of Philadelphia this year. Although the conference itself is jam-packed with interesting educational sessions and a busy exhibit hall, we hope you'll find time to explore and enjoy our city's rich historical and cultural traditions. To get you started, here are a few of our favorite things:
Lynn Nace, editor, ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory
For nature lovers and history buffs, beautiful, historic Valley Forge National Park is located just outside of Philadelphia in Montgomery County. Enjoy the fresh outdoors along the park's numerous bike/walk paths, tour the many log cabins or picnic by the Schuylkill River. Don't miss the Visitor's Center for tour guide and special event information (www.nps.gov/vafo/). Shopaholics can't miss King of Prussia Mall, the second largest mall in the country. This shopper's paradise is home to retail giants Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom's, Nieman & Marcus, Macy's, Lord & Taylor's, Sears and JCPenney. Its numerous specialty shops features items for all budgets-from sports memorabilia to exquisite jewelry. Three food courts and restaurant chains The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, TGI Friday's and more are also on site (www.kingofprussiamall.com).
Jill Hoffman, senior associate editor, ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory
Got your fill of city slicking? Take a 25-minute ride to Northwest Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill. Oozing with charm, the tree-lined, cobblestone streets are home to more than 125 shops, businesses and restaurants. In between retail therapy stores catering to your candle and cutlery needs, order a soup and sandwich off the seasonal menu at Cafette. Or take the edge off with a drink and appetizer on the patio of Chestnut Grill & Sidewalk Café and watch frustrated motorists vie for parking. Stomach really rumbling? Sample the Risotto of the Day at Solaris Grille, or reliably good Chinese/French fusion at Cin Cin. Top the meal off with a treat from Bredenbeck's Bakery & Ice Cream that will melt in your mouth. (I highly recommend the red velvet cupcakes with buttercream frosting.) Everything is located on or off the main drag of Germantown Avenue, and easily accessible by bus or regional rail. If you seek a natural excursion and have a car, head a few miles down the hill to Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. The historic public gardens and educational institution offer 92 acres of winding paths, streams, flowers and herbs to help you get your Zen on.
Kelly J. Graham, associate editor, ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory
If you can make it to any of the Steven Starr restaurants in town-do! You won't regret it. At all of his restaurants throughout the city, the food is as fresh as the décor. Try the sushi at Pod (36th and Sansom), or spend happy hour at El Vez (13th and Sansom) munching on the guacamole. Alma de Cuba (16th and Walnut)'s exciting Cuban cuisine is another favorite. With 12 restaurants across the city for all palettes, Starr's got something for everyone. If you don't have much time to roam too far from the convention center, there are plenty of great finds right in Center City. Reading Terminal Market at 12th and Arch Streets has been the city's most vibrant market since 1893, offering a plethora of merchants selling fresh produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, flowers and plants, along with plenty of housewares, crafts and gifts. On the other side of City Hall, stroll South Broad Street, or the "Avenue of the Arts." At 200 South Broad Street, you'll find the restaurant XIX perched atop the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue. With its breathtaking views of the city and mouth-watering menu, it's a can't-miss. Continue your walk down South Broad and you'll come upon several theatres-catch a show at the Kimmel Center or Wilma Theater. Finally, wrap up your evening with a specialty cocktail and the chocolate molten lava cake at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine at 15 and Sansom Streets.