Philadelphia Private Schools: Are They the Right Choice for Your Child?

Illustration by Angela Rio

John Nagl is sitting comfortably on the back porch of his house across the street from the Haverford School campus on a sticky summer day. The school’s ninth headmaster, entering his fifth year at the all-boys institution, Nagl is an earnest man whose ready wit is balanced by the gravitas earned via stints as a Rhodes scholar and a tank battalion operations officer in Iraq. On this day, he’s talking about the decision-making process for families considering independent schools and the “investment” they make in their children’s futures. “You are setting the foundation for the rest of their lives,” he says. “You have to find the right place for your child.” Read more »

Off the Cuff: October 2017

I’m going to go out on a limb to make a claim: No one cares more about the fate of Philadelphia than I do. I came here in 1952, fresh out of Lafayette College, to work at this magazine. To say that we’ve gone through better than half a century of hard times — well, the story isn’t quite that simple, or dark, but it’s one we all know. Philadelphia has been in trouble for a long time. And when I picked up the Inquirer one Saturday a few weeks ago, two stories on the front page captured the dilemma we face perfectly — and, frankly, made me feel a little sick. Read more »

Mommy Makeovers: The Plastic Surgery Trend Philly Moms Are (Reluctantly) Obsessed With

Photography by Colin Lenton

After a decade of marriage, I assumed that having a man who isn’t my husband stare at my boobs would be more titillating.

But this situation is all business — just one of many consultations the plastic surgeon has booked this week in his Washington Square office. In my mind, there was going to be some touching. I thought maybe the doctor would push them back up to where they used to be — could be again! — while I small-clapped in delight. I knew he wouldn’t circle fat spots with a black Sharpie — that was way too Hollywood — but I thought there would at least be some kind of computer model, like on HGTV, where an animation pops up to show you how an ugly-ass den is going to be transformed into the great room of everyone’s dreams. I was hoping to have something tangible that I could get excited about. A takeaway of sorts, so I could go back and show my husband and say, Look! Look at all that I could be! And so I could start a tankini bonfire and get some triangle tops Amazon Prime-ed over.

There is none of that. Read more »

How to Be Nice: A Guide for (Mean) Philadelphians

“I’m telling Mom,” said Dick. “Don’t be such a snowflake,” said Sally. Illustrations by Bruce Emmett

So the whole way into work this morning — a drive that included a serious detour because the morons at PennDOT had a slow-moving maintenance vehicle blocking one lane of the Schuylkill Expressway — I was racking my brain to find the perfect example of modern-day rudeness to start off this essay about how to be nice. On arriving at the office, I discovered that the President of the United States had obligingly provided it, with the following series of early-morning tweets: Read more »

Nova Scotia Travel Guide: The East Coast Like You’ve Never Seen It

A Nova Scotia harbor | Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

Think of the southern half of Nova Scotia as the tapas bar of Canadian travel. From the verdant Annapolis Valley, home of renowned orchards and accomplished wineries, to craggy fishing villages to the booming waterfront of its capital city, Halifax, this pearl of the Maritimes offers rich tastes of just about every vacation experience you can think of.  Read more »

Niagara Falls Travel Guide: Awe and Adventure

Zip-lining at Niagara Falls | Photo: iStockphoto

This Canadian border town has a reputation for being schmaltzy and touristy. Overrun with chain restaurants. A leftover 1950s honeymoon spot with heart-shaped Jacuzzis. All of those things are basically true. But the magnificent falls themselves — and the bounty of adventure activities surrounding them — make Niagara Falls more than worth a long weekend, especially if you’ve got kids.  Read more »

Quebec City Travel Guide: European Romance in North America

A view of Chateau Frontenac | Photo: iStockphoto

No need to take the time to trek overseas when Quebec City is so close: This charming city feels like a European capital, with narrow, winding streets, enchanting architecture, magnificent churches at every turn, famous landmarks (including the most photographed hotel in the world, Château Frontenac), and, of course, everyone speaking French (it’s bonjour before hello every time).  Read more »

Escape to Canada: 5 Great Getaways

Nova Scotia | Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

But seriously: All politics aside, you have to admit that Canada is looking mighty good these days. Not only is our northern neighbor the current darling of countless must-visit lists; the country is celebrating its 150th birthday this year, with free admission to many of its national parks and historic sites. The exchange rate favors the U.S. dollar, and — maybe most compellingly — there’s tremendous natural beauty sitting cheek to jowl with increasingly vibrant, worldly cities, all just a few hours away from here. In short: If you haven’t been, now’s the time to plan a trip. And the five itineraries on the following pages — packed with culture, nature, fun, poutine — are a really good place to start. — Edited by Emily Goulet and Christine Speer Lejeune


Toronto: An Urbanist’s Paradise

Art Gallery of Ontario | iStockphoto

Shopping, street art and celeb-spotting in Toronto. Read more »


Quebec City: European Romance in North America

A view of Chateau Frontenac | iStockphoto

The continental allure of Quebec City. Read more »


Montreal: Old World Meets New World … Plus Bagels

Bar George at Le Mount Stephen | Photo: Cindy La/Le Mount Stephen

Biking, biodomes, big tops and foie gras (bien sûr!) in Montreal. Read more »


Niagara Falls: Awe and Adventure

Zip-lining at Niagara Falls | Photo: iStockphoto

There’s more than you think to Niagara Falls. Read more »


Nova Scotia: The East Coast Like You’ve Never Seen It 

Nova Scotia | Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

The unceasing beauty of Nova Scotia. Read more »

First published as “Escape to Canada” in Philadelphia magazine’s September 2017 issue.

Toronto Travel Guide: An Urbanist’s Paradise

Art Gallery of Ontario | Photo: iStockphoto

Remember Rob Ford? Picture the opposite of the city you think he’d run. That’s Toronto. The trains always seem to be on time. The streets practically radiate, they’re so clean. The city is the safest in North America. And perhaps most importantly: Toronto is becoming the next foodie capital of the world (and no, not because of the poutine — though that’s guaranteed to make you drool).  Read more »

Montreal Travel Guide: Old World Meets New World … Plus Bagels

Bar George at Le Mount Stephen | Photo: Cindy La/Le Mount Stephen

Montreal, believe it or not, shares a lot in common with Philly: It’s historic but modern, small as big cities go, and made up of neighborhoods with their own distinct personalities. Like Philadelphia, the place is also awash in amazing restaurants, bursting with culture, and full of young people and life — though in Montreal, you also get that famous French influence and (sorry, Philly) an unmistakably cosmopolitan vibe.  Read more »

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