Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunday adventures

I have to say again that Philadelphia was amazing! and I love that city! Well, the girls picked me up around 6:30am, and it was about a 2.5 hour drive (all the way into the city, parking, everything). One of the first things we noticed about the city (the area where we parked) was that it was run-down in places, but lots of the buildings had huge murals painted on them. Really, really cool (the murals)! So we walked to City Hall (huge, old, excellent building with William Penn standing on top). Near City Hall is Thomas Paine (the writer of Common Sense) Plaza. It has huge game pieces randomly placed around it. There are Monopoly, chess, checkers, Sorry, Dominoe, and more game pieces. Next stop: Visitor's Center, which has lots of information about all of the historical buildings and sights around Philly. We then headed to Liberty Bell Center, then walked along Independence Mall to a little cafe for lunch (the girls had Philly Cheesesteaks), then we had a tour of Independence Hall. That was my favorite part of the day -- we got to go into the room where our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the US Constitution!!! The rooms are exactly how they were when those documents were being edited and signed. The only piece of furniture that remains from the 1770s and 1780s is the chair that George Washington sat on. (The whole area is a National Historical Park.) We saw the area (outside) where, on July 8, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read to the public for the first time. We also saw copies (that were made at the time the originals were signed) of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the US Constitution. The Articles and Constitution were drafts that had been marked by the founding fathers when they were making changes. Next was Carpenter's Hall and the NHP gift shop.
Whew! Then we went down to South St, got some ice cream, and walked to the edge of the city for a view of the Delaware River. It was nice and warm out (people were wearing shorts), the sun was shining, blue skies...
We went to Christ Church (over 300 years old), which reminds me of Old North Church in Boston. There was a man working there and he would not stop talking to us. He lectured to us for like 10 minutes, and not just about the history of the church. :S Then up to Elfreths Alley, the oldest residential street in the US. The houses there have been continuously occupied over the past 300 years!! All the houses looked kind of the same on the outside and were connected to each other. The street was very, very narrow. Then we saw Betsy Ross's house (didn't get to go in; it was closed for the day), and Benjamin Franklin's gravesite. He was an amazing man!
There's a huge lawn at the north end of Independence Mall. The grass was really green, so we had some fun taking pictures there. Tamara's Root Beer was stolen by someone walking down the street. It was half full, and the guy picked it up and drank the rest. A little odd!
Our last stop of the day was at JFK Plaza, which is about a block from City Hall. The famous LOVE statue is there, along with a fountain. There's also a street that runs diagonally (northwest) from this plaza, and it's lined with flags from all over the world. At the end of it, there's a big fountain and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is a really beautiful sight!

That was nine long hours of walking and sight-seeing. Needless to say, by the time we got home we were all exhausted and ready for bed! I can't wait to go back and spend more time in the buildings and museums. I think it's probably a really pretty city (at least the historical part) when everything is in bloom. Some flowers were coming up already, but the trees were still bare.
I'll post some pictures when I get them. That's it for now!

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