View our
special offers

April 22-26, 2015

Join National Trust Tours on the unforgettable Philadelphia: Cradle of American Culture exploration that combines the city’s most spectacular treasures and best-kept secrets. This custom-designed tour offers an eclectic view of American history, from celebrated historic sites, to pioneering architecture, to genre-defining craftwork, blended with some of the nation’s premier collections of international art masterpieces. With multiple layers of culture and history, Philadelphia has always been one of America’s most intriguing cities. The itinerary explores historic Philadelphia’s preserved colonial homes and neighborhoods and into the contemporary city’s thriving cultural center.


  • Discover the innovation behind Eastern State Penitentiary’s architectural design.
  • Visit the Barnes Foundation in its glittering new (and controversial) downtown location.
  • Enjoy access to premier art collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, and Cliveden.
  • Tour the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts and learn about its incredible acoustics.
  • Walk the streets of historic Philadelphia and discover the roots of America’s liberty.
  • Explore Wharton Esherick’s studio and see how he bridged the gap between art and craft.

Spend four nights at the boutique Hotel Palomar in the center of Philadelphia’s flourishing cultural community. From its location near Rittenhouse Square, most of Philadelphia’s major museums are within walking distance. The Palomar’s concept of art in motion inspires décor that is stimulating without being overbearing.

Study Leader Information
Rolf Achilles is an independent art historian, curator of the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, and adjunct faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Rolf was a consultant for the City of Philadelphia on the 1916 Louis Comfort Tiffany and Maxfield Parrish mosaic in the Curtis Publishing Building. Rolf has lectured on the city’s stained glass windows; sacred spaces; colonial architecture and several Colonial Revivals after the 1876 World’s Fair; the Egyptomania of its 19th century historic monuments, art, architecture, and the Masons Hall; and Philadelphia’s significant role in America’s push to preserve not only its colonial, but also retail contributions.

Tour Itinerary
April 22 - Wednesday - Welcome to Philadelphia
Upon arrival in Philadelphia, transfer independently to the superior four-star Hotel Palomar, with a perfect city center location. Join study leader and architectural historian Rolf Achilles this afternoon and transfer to the Rodin Museum. Recently reopened in 2012 after a three-year renovation, the museum houses the largest collection of masterpieces outside of Paris by French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Its holdings include bronze casts of the artist’s greatest works: The Thinker, The Burghers of Calais, Eternal Springtime, and The Gates of Hell. This evening, enjoy a festive welcome dinner with fellow participants.

April 23 - Thursday - The Barnes Foundation
Begin the morning at the legendary Barnes Foundation, home to one of the finest collections of Post- Impressionist and early Modern paintings. The collection has recently moved to a glittering new downtown location, amidst much controversy. An art expert will discuss works in the collection and reveal the thinking behind the extraordinary presentation of these masterpieces. Time will also be given for independent exploration. Continue to the Reading Terminal Market, one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the country, and enjoy free time for lunch. This afternoon, follow a guide on a walking tour of historic Philadelphia highlighting sites where many of the American Revolution’s most important events transpired. The remainder of the evening is independent.

April 24 - Friday - Arts & Crafts & America’s Birthplace
This morning, set out for the outstanding Wharton Esherick Museum, a National Historic Landmark for Architecture, which has been preserved much as it was when renowned craftsman and sculptor Esherick lived and worked there. The museum houses more than 200 of his unique works, including furniture, furnishings, utensils, and the buildings and interiors themselves. Continue to Germantown, birthplace of the American anti-slavery movement, site of a Revolutionary War battle, and temporary residence of George Washington. After lunch in a local Germantown restaurant, visit Cliveden, a National Historic Landmark and one of the nation’s best- documented and least-altered colonial houses. Later this afternoon, a local couple will open their home specially for our group to view their private eclectic collection. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.

April 25 - Saturday - Historic Philadelphia
Begin at the monumental Eastern State Penitentiary, a National Historic Landmark, and explore its grand neo-Gothic architecture and innovative wagon wheel design, which were meant to compel spiritual reflection and penitence. Notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton spent time inside its vaulted cells with single skylights representing the watchful “eye of God.” Continue to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among the largest art museums in the United States, and enjoy lunch at its restaurant. Its collections include world- class holdings of European and American paintings, prints, drawings, and decorative arts. Finish the afternoon at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, for a private tour featuring the Center’s fine art collection and the design behind the concert hall’s acoustics. Join fellow travelers this evening for a memorable farewell dinner.

April 26 - Sunday - Departures
Independent transfers to the airport for return flights home.

Tour Price*
Land Only: $2,995
Single Supplement: $595

Special Offer!
Mention Historic Hotels of America when booking your tour and receive three $100 gift certificates, each good toward a $100 refund when you book through and stay for at least two-nights at a Historic Hotels of America hotel.**

To book a tour please contact our tour VIP desk at +1 202 772 8000 or

View more Great Experiences and Tours

Terms and Conditions
*Tour price is per person based on double occupancy, with a minimum of 20 paying participants. Land prices are calculated as of August 2014 and are subject to change.
Included in tour cost: 4 nights at the Hotel Palomar; breakfast daily, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, wine at dinner; services of ISDI Tour Manager; expert local guides; land transportation by private coach; gratuities to local guides and drivers; entrance itinerary; bottled water daily.
Not included in tour cost: Airfare, airline taxes, and fuel surcharges; transfers to and from the airport; excursions, activities, or meals marked optional on the itinerary; gratuities for chambermaids; personal items; personal services; travel extensions; personal insurance for health, baggage, and tour cancellation; any other items not specifically included in the itinerary.

**Maximum of one $100 certificate may be claimed for a refund with a minimum two night stay booked through following the return of your tour and completion of your hotel stay. The refund will be issued within 45 days of the completion of your stay upon submitting a Great Experiences & Tours $100 refund application. Refund application must be submitted with a copy of your hotel folio receipt, the original confirmation number from your booking on, and the Certificate number issued to you for booking your tour through Historic Hotels of America. Certificates issued are a promotion only valid toward future reservations made through and do not have any cash value. One certificate may be used per room per two night or longer stay at the same hotel. Eligible rates include rates publicly available at time of booking. Reduced rates, rooms included in another travel or tour package, employee rates, advance purchase rates, and certain last minute sale rates are not eligible for this promotion.