Ferries, orchids, and mojitos

For those who didn’t catch the column last week, here’s the deal. I’m a Temple senior and have lived in Philly for two years. In that time I’ve tried to explore the city as much

For those who didn’t catch the column
last week, here’s the deal. I’m a Temple senior and have lived in Philly for two years. In that time I’ve tried to explore the city as much as possible, but like most college students, I have limited funds. What I offer to you is the knowledge of special spots and events that I have discovered – items that cater to our demographic.

1. Recently, I discovered a quick, easy way to get to Camden, N.J. Having tickets for the Projekt Revolution tour, an all-day rock and metal concerts, at the Tweeter Center, I had to figure out the best way to arrive.

Driving would mean bridge tolls and over-priced parking fees. A taxi cab would cost about $25 each way, and some won’t drive to Jersey. By doing some online research, I discovered the answer: the RiverLink Ferry at Penn’s Landing. Not only do you cross the Delaware River by boat, but it’s only $6 roundtrip.

Riders also use it to visit friends and family, the Adventure Aquarium, the Battleship New Jersey, and Campbell’s Field, home of the Camden Riversharks. The catch is that not many newcomers to Philly know about it.

“Concert-goers are 25 percent of the ridership, tourists make up another
25 percent and 50 percent are local people who have friends and family in town, so it is really a mixed bag,” general
ganager Dale Miller said.As expected, the Freedom Ferry, the vessel’s actual name, is only available from May 1 to Sept. 30.

However, for Tweeter Center concerts an express service runs frequently before the show, and ends 30 minutes after.

Even though I had to wait in line, riding the ferry was an overall positive experience. The trips were quick and painless – the concert express is about a six-minute ride. Note: the normal schedule provides a longer ride up the river to show the day-timers the shore sights. Fear not, that ride only lasted 15 minutes.

2. Tragos is an attractive Spanish-themed lounge that serves tasty cocktails and has kind, attractive bartenders. Granted, I’ve only seen two of the seven that work there. My favorite is Amy Holden. She’s worked three of the four years Tragos has been open.Wednesday nights over the summer, three of us spent time drinking there for Center City Sips, a neighborhood-wide drink special promotion. We got to know Holden, 26, and the spectacular pitcher special at Tragos. Wednesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., they feature $8 pitchers of iced margaritas, bay breeze, electric lemonades and mojitos.

It’s important to note that I did not go there to see and be seen, though I heard that on weekends, especially Friday
nights, the place is packed. That’s when all four bars (three of them upstairs)
are open, DJs rock out and people get down.This is Holden’s favorite night to work, because of the anticipation.

“It is going to be a fun night. There’s going to be good people. Everybody’s
in a good mood and ready to let loose,” Holden said.For me, though, sometimes it’s nice to just relax on a bar stool, play some electronic trivia while drinking a not-watered-down cocktail, and enjoy small talk with a friendly bartender who has the time to play Photohunt with you.

3. Welcome to Longwood Gardens. Before you sigh with boredom, erase every other garden you have attended from your mind. I have seen some wonderful ones in Europe, the Bahamas and the Eastern U.S., but nothing compares.This place has it all, whatever your green fancy – funny-looking cacti, fruit on the vine, strange orchids, several bonsai trees and flowers of all types. This only scratches the surface.

My favorites were the water lilies
with enormous lily pads, and the “Edward Scissorhands”-style trimmed bushes. Even the dancing fountains took me back to fond memories of Disney World.

So, here’s the good news: this beautiful and vibrant haven is 1,050 acres – tons to see. Plus, the entry fee is a steal: only $6 for students.

Here’s the bad news: Longwood Gardens is in Kennett Square, about one hour west of the city. Therefore, you’ll need to go with someone who has a vehicle.

The premises are big, so bring comfortable walking shoes. For anyone that appreciates beauty in nature, this is your spot. And don’t forget to bring a camera.

Colleen Dunn can be reached at colleen.dunn@temple.edu.

Freedom Ferry, from the River
Link Ferry System
Walnut Street and Penn’s Landing
Operates daily (rain or shine)
May 1 to Sept. 30, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
$6 round-trip
Tickets available at both ferry terminals

40 S. 19th St.
Open Wednesday to Friday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
No cover

Longwood Gardens
Kennett Square, PA
Open year-round with changing hours
Admission: $16 adults, $6 students

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