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The fact is simple, tourists love city tours while locals tend to snicker on the sidelines. Being a local of Philly, while we pride ourselves on knowing a decent amount of history, we never will admit we don't know EVERYTHING. Furthermore, we try to separate ourselves as superior from the tourists (Sorry!)
So when Dan Barends Photography was approached with a tour, I had to play the cool Philadelphian--but secretly I had been wanting to be a tourist in my own city for a while now.
What caught my eye about Founding Footsteps as compared to other tours right off the bat was that they had different tours than just your "And to your left you see the Liberty Bell," type tours. These tours included a BYOB tour, stand-up comedy tour, walking tours--with tavern stops, and any other tour you could think of. Immediately, this set them apart from your old-school style snore tour, but obviously I had to actually take part in the tour to get the full scope of how it would go.
We, along with members of Visit Philly, got on the trolley and were greeted by Tim, the founder, of Founding Footsteps. You could tell he was excited and passionate about what he does. We got situated and were told this tour would be an all encompassing idea of three of his different tours--the BYOB, the stand-up and also a live music tour, around Philadelphia. We got Philly pretzels, Yards beer, cheesesteaks, and hoagies, which are basically what Philadelphian's consider the food groups. We also got to try chocolates from a historic chocolate shop--for anyone with a sweet tooth.
The tour was one part history to another part entertainment. Tim, the owner and tour guide, says he is a failed teacher and comedian, but I beg to differ because I learned so much about Philadelphia and got schooled in the idea that I had learned everything I needed to about a lot of history and folklore in Philadelphia. I also enjoyed his enthusiastic take on the history of the city, peppered with some great humor and digs at New Jersey (I am a lifelong New Jerseyian, so I can appreciate this).
We were also treated with some stand-up comedy from local comedian, Chip Chantry, who had us laughing through his own "tour" of the city as well as live music from Lenise Morales, who was once a student of Tim's and a very talented musician.
The tour ran about three hours and I was entertained the entire time. The weather was gloomy, but the mood inside the trolley was lighthearted and upbeat. Tim, along with his entire team, bring a different feel to the tried and true tour of Philadelphia. Maybe it is his enthusiasm or his witty humor, but it was a breath of fresh air and a new take on an old idea.
I would absolutely recommend Founding Footsteps tours to both locals and tourists. I think locals can appreciate this as a night out or new date idea or simply a tour that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's funny, your learn something new and you can find a new appreciation to this very historic city.
The biggest part of why I love Founding Footsteps though, can be found in their About section:
"Our founder Tim was an English teacher who picked up a tour guide gig during his summers off. He quickly fell in love with the city, the people, and the stories. Tim decided to start his own company in 2015 to offer people the best tour in the city. You'll find him and his wife, Abbie, on the trolley and on the streets of Philly showing off the city they love."
There is nothing more enjoyable than spending three hours of your time with people enthusiastic about the work they do in the city you love. This is not just some money grab for Tim and his wife, along with their team. This is something they love and they want you to love as well.
Things to look out for are upcoming events and tours Founding Footsteps is looking to put on. I can attest that the trolley tour is a worthwhile venture, but will definitely be joining them sometime in the near future for a walking tour so I can get the whole Founding Footsteps experience.
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