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Phat in Philly: A Guide To Donut Roadtrips

First rule to life: when a friend asks you to roadtrip, you drop everything and you go. Doesn’t matter where or when, traveling always takes priority… even if it means driving four hours for some donuts you saw on a video on Facebook. Are we crazy? Probably. Was it worth it? Definitely.

Now to give you an idea of what kind of trip this was for us, let me paint you a quick picture. We get into the city, park the car, and immediately run to the Reading Terminal Market get in line for donuts (on a side note, I have to say that the market reminded me all too much of the International Building at the NYS fair. Eerie coincidence, but I felt right at home, minus the 80 degree weather and sweaty bodies rubbing up against me, thank God.) While waiting for said highly caloric pastries, we decide we were more hungry than we could bear, and each ordered a Philly cheesesteak, because, well it’s not a trip to Philly without one, amirite?

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While scarfing that baby down in line (I kid you not I had mine finished in 2 minutes and left a trail of ribeye on the ground behind me), we pass the Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe. What else can a girl with a sweet tooth do but go in and buy some candy? A few purchases and one upset stomach later, the moment we had been waiting for was finally before us.

Beiler’s is famous for its mouth-watering donuts. With over 60 flavors to choose from, you’ll be hard-pressed to eat just one (and I don’t say this because I have the appetite of a 400 lb sumo wrestler, they’re just that good.) Add in the hour long wait in line to test your patience get your your mouth watering, and by the time you get to the register, mark my words, you’ll be ready to pounce. Dunkin move aside. Krispy Kreme, I hate to say it, but you’ve been replaced. Beiler’s has me hooked.

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Although it’s hard to believe, the coolest part of the experience wasn’t even digging in to my nice warm, dripping in sugary goodness, donuts, but watching the actual process unfold before me. Since the line wraps around the store, as a customer you get the unique opportunity to watch how the donuts are actually made, which is something I had never seen before!

Start by rolling the dough out, and using a special roller version of a cookie cutter, the donuts are shaped. Then they move along to the frosting station, where they’re dipping in a variety of toppings, or stuffed with flavor before moving along (ex: Oreo creme, strawberry filling, etc.) SIDE NOTE: If you’ve never seen a donut stuffed before, or if you’ve never seen me really excited before, I can tell you, the two pretty  much go hand in hand. Definitely investing in this machine in my kitchen once I have my first real home (peep the look of sheer joy below):

Mind you, this all happens at warp speed, and it pretty much has to since Belier’s sells almost 6,000 donuts a day, if not more- especially on a Saturday!

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After finally having our prized possessions in hand (my half dozen of choice being Oreo, coconut, key lime, chocolate M&M, Fruity Pebbles and powdered sugar), we headed over to the ideal photo location down the street (I say this with complete sarcasm as we clearly were being questioned filling our camera roll with basic white girl pictures in the middle of a skater park).

After having completed the sole mission of our trip, we decided to make the most of the rest of our time in this beautiful city! And I truly mean that. Out of all the cities I’ve been to in my lifetime, Pennsylvania has really impressed me, first with my trip to Pittsburgh back in September, and now this. Clean streets, cool atmosphere, and muchhh, much friendlier than NYC, I like ya a lot Philly, and I plan on coming back again.

I had heard of the Magic Gardens through friends that lived in the city and around the area (and okay, also through the large number of travel bloggers I follow on Instagram), so we decided to add this to our itinerary. On our way we stopped to take your typical touristy pic with the love sign, and came across some really unique street art installations.

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This wall was particularly interesting. Think Wheel of Fortune meets fortune cookie. You think of an area in your life you could use some help/inspiration, spin the big circle in the middle around, and you’re given a number. Find your number on the wall, read the corresponding blurb, and you’re given advice that is supposed to pertain to your specific circumstance. The creative side of me loves this stuff, what can I say.

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FINALLY we made it to the Magic Gardens (as featured by this very awkward, clearly enthused picture of me). Piece of advice for those of you looking to plan a trip, tickets are needed, something we didn’t realize, so book in advance if you want to avoid the line and be guaranteed for a certain time!

This place is absolutely incredible!! I really don’t have the words, or photography skills to capture it, it’s something you really just have to experience for yourself! Created by artist Isaiah Zagar, the Magic Gardens are just that- a maze of beautiful, magical mosaic murals. Taking him 14 years to create, here’s just a glimpse at what you can find behind the doors (Haley & I not included):

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Having been cultured and well-fed, we turned around and headed back home, our roadtrip finally complete. Is packing up and driving 8 hours for a sugar rush for everyone? Donut know, donut care, but I can say it was a successful Saturday away from dreary Syracuse and one that I would highly recommend.

Due to our time constraints, we didn’t get to see everything we wanted! Have a favorite place or know of a hidden treasure in Philadelphia? Comment below!

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