Philadelphia Liberty Trail Betsy Ross flag

Philadelphia Liberty Trail: Our first book is here!

by Michael on March 16, 2015

When we departed Philadelphia in 2011 we thought we’d explore the world for a year and then figure out what we wanted to do when we grew up. We started writing stories about our journey on this blog and for a new series called “A Year in the World” for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Somehow we branched out to other media outlets and became bona fide travel writers.

But for all the destinations we explored and wrote about on six continents, we didn’t cover the city we knew best, Philadelphia. After seeing so many exotic places when we returned to Philly we approached it with fresh eyes, as if we were discovering it as first time visitors.

Then a funny thing happened. In late January, 2014 Globe Pequot Press, a major regional travel guide publisher in Connecticut, contacted us. They asked us if we’d be interested in writing a book about Philadelphia. They had enjoyed our stories about other places and figured we’d do a good  job writing about our hometown.

You see Boston, which has more sports championships than Philly but in our humble opinion has way less historic sites, has had something called a Freedom Trail for over 50 years. It’s a well-marked guide to Boston’s revolutionary sites. But Philadelphia has nothing similar that connects the sites where America was founded, so we had to create one. Oh, and our deadline was four months. Piece of cake, right?

Philadelphia Liberty Trail-an informative and quirky travel guide to the city's historic districtI turns out a deadline is a good thing for us! Last month Globe Pequot published the result of our efforts: Philadelphia Liberty Trail: Trace the Path of America’s Heritage. This 224-page book takes a fresh approach to the founding of America. It’s part historical narrative and part travel guide that goes beyond Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell to immerse visitors in history right where it happened.

During our research we unearthed little known historical tidbits such as: Benjamin Franklin’s Electric Turkey Experiment; Lydia Darragh, the Quaker woman who saved the American army from destruction; the church that in the 1790s was the precursor to the modern Civil Rights movement; and the home where soda was first introduced to America in 1807, by a doctor no less!

We also talk about unusual events like America’s first dumbest criminal. In 1798 the first bank robbery in America took place at Carpenters’ Hall in Philly. The man behind it, Isaac Davis, was arrested when he started depositing large sums of money in the very same bank he had just robbed. You really can’t make this stuff up.

Philadelphia Liberty Trail-Ben Franklin "Key" statue, funded by school children

The trail we created is about four miles long but we’ve broken it into several segments. Easy-to-follow maps guide the visitor and since this is a book we wrote, there are also Pit Stops to rest weary legs and get a cookie (always important for Michael) or other treat. Complete with lodging, dining, family-friendly options and practical travel information, Philadelphia Liberty Trail is the indispensable guide to exploring America’s most historic square mile.

Here’s how you can buy Philadelphia Liberty Trail on Amazon.

If you get a chance to read the book we really hope you enjoy it. It was a lot of fun to write and discover our hometown once again.

Oh, that guy at the top of the page? He’s Matt O’Connor, the CFO (“chief flag officer”) at Humphry’s Flag Company, right across from–you guessed it–the Betsy Ross House.

Note to Philadelphia area readers: We are speaking at Penn State’s Great Valley campus in Malvern, PA on April 8th. Topics will include the Philadelphia Liberty Trail and travel tips from our 3+ years on the road. Here is the information for this free event: Penn State lecture. We’ll also be signing books at the Visitor Center at Independence National Park on Flag Day, June 14th, 2015 from noon to 4 p.m. Hope to see you there.

Noah February 20, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Congrats on the book release … hope you sell lots!

Jerry February 21, 2015 at 7:28 am

Congratulations! Can’t wait to see you on Oprah 🙂

Patricia April 18, 2015 at 1:10 pm

I checked on Amazon for your book and there was no ebook/ kindle version available, only paperback. Any plans for electronic version in near future? Thanks

Michael April 18, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Hi Patricia,

We have asked the publisher for an ebook version but do not anticipate it coming soon.

Thanks for checking.


Wandering Educators May 3, 2015 at 11:55 am

What an awesome book! can’t wait to read it!

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas May 3, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Very exciting – congrats!! I’ve never been to Philly, but will know who to get all the juicy tidbits from when I do!

Penelope May 4, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Hope your book does well … sounds like you put a lot of effort into it!

Elaine J. Masters May 4, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Congratulations on the book premier! I know how much work goes into getting to this point and after! With family in the process of moving to Philly, it looks like I’ll need to get a copy for our visits.

Irene S. Levine May 5, 2015 at 2:42 am

Congratulations! I loved hearing about the genesis of the book—seemed like such a natural flow.

Donna Janke May 5, 2015 at 9:26 pm

Congratulations. It must be have been very interesting to do all that research on your home city. The book sounds great.

Anita @ No Particular Place To Go May 7, 2015 at 2:15 am

I can remember my first visit to Philadelphia a few years ago and how I felt visiting some of the historical sites. Your book looks like it will include the fun trivia and facts – just the things we love mixed with our history. Congratulations and I will keep looking in Amazon for the electronic version.

Charles McCool May 8, 2015 at 10:13 am

This is so cool. I spent a mere 24 hours in Philadelphia last summer and it definitely piqued my interest. I must spent much more time there.

Robin May 9, 2015 at 9:28 am

Congrats on the book release! I can’t wait to get back to Philadelphia to show my children the historic areas after reading this piece.

Carole Terwilliger Meyers May 9, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Congratulations on your new book! I’ll keep it in mind for next time I visit Philly.

Adam Duncan June 15, 2015 at 10:59 am

Love the book. Fantastic guide to Philadelphia. Can’t wait to see more about your other world adventures. Had the chance to talk to the authors and what an exciting, fun, and inspirational couple. Hope to follow their lead and do the same one day! See you guys next time you’re in Philly. Congrats on the book.

Michael June 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Thanks for stopping by at our book signing.

Michael June 10, 2017 at 2:04 pm

There is now a Kindle version on Amazon.

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