The bus left about 10 minutes behind schedule. We spent a good bit of time circling through the massive King of Prussia Mall, as I’m sure George Washington did en route to the encampment in 1777.
In the Valley Forge National Historical Park visitor center, the volunteers at the information desk were apologetic, because without a car, there wasn’t much that I could do, especially in the off-season. The trolley tour was operating only on weekends. The nearby bike rentals also were not available on weekdays.
I browsed through the exhibits, watched an 18-minute film and set out for a walk. Passing reconstructed huts, I made it as far as the National Memorial Arch before hoofing it back to the visitor center so as not to miss the bus.
It was a long, slow ride to the stop outside Center City where I’d transfer to another line to finally get to Woodford Mansion. We arrived late, so I missed the bus I’d pinpointed the night before. I thought I was going to miss the next one as well, but it was behind schedule, too.
My solo tour of the circa-1756 mansion took about 45 minutes. Then it was back to the bus on a line paralleling the Broad Street subway.
A few blocks east of Broad, I found the Ninth Street Italian Market, where I wanted to visit Fante’s Kitchen Shop. Its dizzying array of merchandise nearly seduced me into a shopping frenzy, but I reminded myself that I’d have to lug around anything I bought on subway and bus rides. Right. Pearl sugar and candied orange peel will do, thanks.
Even with the impulse purchase, I felt pretty flush with cash. Between the Megabus fare and SEPTA passes, my transportation costs amounted to $52. Based on my car’s miles-per-gallon highway rating and the $4.14 price of gas near my house, I probably would have gone through something like $45 worth of fuel just getting to and from Philly. Never mind city driving, idling in traffic and parking fees.
My adventure at an end, I picked up my backpack at the hotel and set off for the train station, hoping that I’d encounter my old friend the 125 bus pulling into one of the stops along the way. No such luck.
I walked the final mile.
Tips for vacations using public transportation
One-tank trip from D.C. to West Virginia