There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Looking for America....a really long post with pictures

DAY ONE, Friday: Here we are in the birthplace of the United States, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The flight was surprisingly uneventful....a rarity when Steve and I travel.

The weather has been cool, windy and rain has been predicted, but we have not seen a drop yet.

OK, boring minutia. I have fallen in love with my country, our forefathers and the process that made us the United States. We did some whirlwind touristing (made that word up) today.

We started out at the National Constitution Center where we saw a production on the birth of our, a short movie and a live narrator. We visited the exhibits and the huge gift shop. From there we went to the Mint. They were doing inventory today so no machines making pennies, but we could see the floor of the operation and bins with coins and were able to figure out the general process. Another good gift shop.

We had lunch and then went to the Liberty Bell Center. The Bell isn't as big as I thought it would be.....but it is still amazing to see this wonderful piece of history. No gift shop.

The last place we visited was Independence Hall. At all of the sites we heard great historical information and facts. No gift shop.

I guess most of my regular blog readers know how apolitical I am. But, today, I have felt more patriotic/political than I ever have. As Americans we have such a short history. Too see, hear about and realize what our forefathers risked, gave up and fought for so all of us could enjoy the freedoms we have is amazing (well, except for women, Blacks and the Indians back then). I always found American History kind of boring in high school and college....not terribly romantic and then there were all of those dates to memorize. But, today I know that I have the right, the ability and freedom to express my political views and know that my one vote does count. I hope with all of my heart when November rolls around we will see new eyes with a clearer vision looking out from the White House. OK, I fell off the soap box.....tomorrow ART and will be at the end of the post.

DAY TWO, Saturday: No rain yet, but it was cold this morning. We walked to the Reading Terminal Market for "brunch" at 10AM. The market consists of aisles and aisles of stalls with everything from coffee, hand made Amish fabric items and canned goods to sushi, pastries, Philly cheese steak sandwiches and anything else you can imagine that is edible. There were folks entering with empty rolling, folding personal carts and others leaving with them packed with groceries. It is an awesome place and smelled yummy. We got Philly cheese steaks and Mocha Lattes. Tomorrow we are going back for sticky buns. I saw a $675.00 hand made quilt in a Wedding Ring pattern that was lovely, but a little over my quilt budget.

From there we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We saw the Frida Kahlo exhibit. I really can't describe her works and do them justice.....they are stunning, the colors vivid, are very personal expressions of her life and beautiful. There were also a number of photos of her early life with her family and throughout the years she spent with Diego Rivera, her husband. I think she was a beautiful woman. We used the audio equipment and were able to hear about her life and interpretations of her paintings. Talk about gift shops.....the best EVER are in the museum. I got t-shirts, magnets, book marks, note cards, a scarf made of gossamer I swear, and just lots of "things."
Since I picked the Kahlo exhibit, Steve got to pick what he wanted to see. He went straight for the American exhibits. We saw Shaker furniture, old bottles and jugs and there were three pieces of cut crystal that are EXACT matches to ones I have that were my grandmothers; a punch bowl and pedestal and a water pitcher. While I don't think they are worth a lot, it is kind of cool to think I have museum quality pieces in my home!

Our last stop was the Franklin Institute of Science. Lots of kids running all over the place with their screaming parents running after them. Steve loved the place. Hands on things that made sparks, noises, movement, colors and changed form delighted him. We saw a cow eye dissection. Ummhum. Delightful. And just when I was ready to scream myself, we went into the Star Wars special exhibit where I refused to have my picture taken with Darth Vadar or put on a Princess Leah wig.

We are ordering room service tonight. We are old, tired and our feet hurt. We had planned on taking the train into Manhattan tomorrow but we stopped at the 30th Street Station on the way to the Museum and learned that 2 round trip tickets would cost $240.00. Not going. Day three will be a surprise I guess.

DAY THREE, SUNDAY: Mentally we had great plans for today....The Betsy Ross House and the National Jewish American Museum. But, after our trip to the Reading Market, we were already tired. No sticky bun stall open so I got a piece of apple cake and another latte....still yummy. We walked the Gallery Mall, I got a $9.00 barn jacket at the worst K-Mart I have ever been in....but, great deal on a neat jacket. Back to the hotel we went, checked out and shuttled to the airport hotel because our flight is at 6:30AM tomorrow. We watched a movie, P.S. I Love You...we both liked it a lot....and hopefully the flights tomorrow will be on time and we can get home to our doggies and kitties early.

DAY FOUR, WE'RE HOME: We had an absolutely wonderful time. While the traffic and crowds took me out of my comfort zone.....I would love to go back.....and will.....and see the same places all over again and all of the places we missed. All of our beginning American History in one place. Awesome. Here's to Philly!!

Looking out our hotel window: William Penn.

Another hotel window view.....

Christ Church Cemetery.

I probably would have liked this guy....

Ben Franklin's grave.

The Mint...really cool gift shop.

Isn't that Bell amazing? This is my tourist face/smile. I also look touristy fat....and really old.

George Washington (the real GW) in front of Independence Hall.

Here is Independence Hall in all of its glory...and it is a glorious place for sure.

A painting depicting the signing of the Declaration of the face of someone's kid in the corner.

This picture replaced the wood carving of the Coat of Arms of the King of England...hung by the signers of the Declaration. The wood hanging was burned.

The room where the delegates from the colonies debated the Declaration.

The room where the delegates adopted the Declaration...pretty impressive room.

Lancaster County hand made quilts...the $675.00 one is in the background on the left.

In the wind area with "plane wings" at the Franklin Institute....trying to lift off....umm, there isn't enough lift around to get me off the ground. That's Louie Jr. on my shoulder purchased especially for this trip. Isn't he cute?

Steve and me in front of the statue of Commodore John Barry, the Father of the Navy with Independence Hall in the background. We are holding our local newspaper.....the paper has a section called "We took the Bee.....". Our only chance to be famous for 15 seconds.

Taken from the airport hotel room.....wonderful Philadelphia.

Because Steve spends more nights at Marriott Hotels than he does at home, we got a suite/sweet room upgrade.

That's all folks!!!!!


jan said...

This was great. Philadelphia gets beaten up so much by the national press, it was good to read about the treasures it has and the ability to inspire us with the history it has.

Jennie said...

So glad you had a great trip. It is a great city. I felt the same about history as you, but there is definitely something special about Old City and the history. The boys will not let me forget about the Star Wars exhibit - we will be going soon.
Sean's heart is perfect! Doctor found a couple heart sounds that he explained are just fine. So happy!!!

jp said...

So nice to see you standing on something other than snow! Glad you got out for a bit!

Rhea said...

I thought the pic of you was nice.

Mom said...

I love Philadelphia! Once I "chaperoned" a group of 5th graders there on a field trip. I really wanted to indulge in every bit of the history. They wanted to go to the gift shop. we made a deal - they wouldn't break anything and would wait for me in the gift shop. We were all happy
Steve and Dennis sound like they would make good playmates in the Franklin Institute. they would both be happy all day turning knobs and pulling levers.
Glad you had a great trip.

kenju said...

I have driven all around it, but never visited Philadelphia. I'd like to remedy that - especially after reading this! You do not look old.

Stephanie said...

I am so glad you both had a great time!! You deserve it!!!! Love you!!

Sandy said...

I like seeing hometown newspapers photographed in different locales! And you're right re the political stuff - I kvetch a lot but at least have the freedom to. But you're wrong re the photo - you don't look touristy fat or old! ;-)

more cowbell said...

I only have ever been to the airport there. So interesting to hear about all the sights. History is boring in school because they give us the crap versions, ha! What if we could get holographic images, Star Trek style, of the folks who lived this stuff, to tell us the real deal? Now that's a class I could stay awake for.

So glad you had a fun time, Rosemary. (Sweet deal on the room upgrade!)

Lilli & Nevada said...

Loved the trip with you, so many interesting things you got to see and share. Thank you for sharing it with us.

hotelroomphotos said...

you can send some of your hotel photos to



cs said...

Simply fabulous Ro! You 2 look so happy galavanting and rummaging through historical footnotes of our country. I grew up in DC and loved every minute of it. For field trips, our school rook us to all the wonderful places like the capital, all the monuments, the W. House...of course that was back in the previous century, in fact 1/2 way mid-point of the previous century...but I loved it. Moving west did not suit me. So now we live north...
Lovely lovely pix!
off to there's some WWII history that will satiate us all!

Auld Hat said...

I fear someone's kid in the corner is possessed.
More importantly, I am happy you had such a good time and I love you (:

Sling said...

Oh,how I envy you!
I've always been a fan of American history.I got to do Washington DC,but never Philadelphia.
Thanks for sharing all those great pix rosemary. :)

Evil Twin's Wife said...

What a great trip and pictures! I'd love to tour all that stuff myself. Maybe someday... :-)

Middle Child said...

Sorry do not know anything much about the history... just that The USA was founded by Puritans and we had a Convict beginning which most of us Irish descent are really proud of...

we speak the same language...well almost... but we have such a differrent set of loyalties

madretz said...

yay!! i'm so excited to be reading your long post. I'm doing things different, i'm gonna comment as I read (love that about the pop up comment window), because as I was reading, I was thinking: oh, remember to comment about that. and that. so bear with me. this'll probably be along comment, too. :D

I am so cracking up about the commentary about the gift shops, because I alway look for them whenever i'm 'touristing'. hee!

I totally hear you about feeling patriotic. I felt the same when I went to DC even tho my views are vastly different than the current administration. It felt so good to be there. To soak it all up. To be American. I sucked in history. My first travel across country, I realized that I am a hands on learner, most especially with historical data. If I see it, touch it, experience it...I get it. Other wise it's all just blah blah blah.

I love Frida! and i agree that art museum gift shops rock!

Wow, awesome pics. you were right in the middle of it all.

how cool all the pennies on BF grave.

OMG, you crack me UP with your commentary about touristy smile/face! I think it's perfect.

I have a Lancaster County quilt hanging in my living room! a cherished posession.

Girlfriend, I am green with envy with your bag collection! I wanna go shopping with you!

Kimberly Ann said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. I'd love to tour some of the famous sites back east. US history really interests me too.