GETTING THERE: Philadelphia is about 140 miles northeast of Washington on I-95. On Amtrak through Dec. 12, buy a full-fare ticket to Philly (starting at $51, one way) and get 50 percent off a companion ticket; request discount code V749. Info: 800-872-7245,

BEING THERE: Once Upon a Nation (215-629-5801, Ext. 200, is Philly's summer-long living history program. The free storytelling benches at 13 locations throughout the historic district are "open" from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily until Sept. 5. Get a map or guide at the Independence Visitor Center (Sixth and Market streets, 800-537-7676). The two-hour Hunt for Democracy walking tour departs daily at 10:30 a.m.; cost is $15. Audience participation showings of the movie musical "1776" are at the Independence Living History Center (Third and Chestnut streets, not to be confused with the Visitor Center; $7) Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. At the Military Muster (12:30 p.m. at Fifth and Chestnut, and 1:30 p.m. at Second and Market; free), children are recruited into the Continental Army. Visit with George Washington ($7) at the Living History Center, Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

STAYING THERE: The Omni Hotel at Independence Park (401 Chestnut St., 215-925-0000, is offering a Once Upon a Nation package: For $169 a night, get a deluxe room, free valet parking, gift bag, and milk and cookies for the kids. The 1828 Penn's View Hotel (Front and Market streets, 800-331-7634, has rooms with Chippendale-style furniture and free breakfast. Rooms range from $129 to $255.

EATING THERE: City Tavern (138 S. Second St., 215-413-1443,, a reconstruction of the eatery where Founding Fathers dined, features historic recipes served by Colonial wait staff. Entrees, which range from $18 to $28, include lobster pie in a pewter bowl and braised rabbit. The landmark Bookbinder's (125 Walnut St., 215-925-7027, has been refurbished behind its historic facade and offers seafood specialties for $25 and up.

INFO: Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., 215-599-0776,

A Philly storyteller brings history alive.