Sunday, June 28, 2015

Revisiting History

When we moved east we planned on being here one year for sure.  With that year as a certainty, and everything beyond it an uncertainty, we traveled like gypsies during that time.  Actually, I don't know how gypsies travel, but we were constantly spending weekends away from our home, exploring history and country we were unsure we'd visit again.  But seven years later, we're happy to start re-visiting them, and hoping that somewhere along the way they'll stick as memories in our children's minds.

We first visited Philadelphia in March of 2009.  We've had subsequent visits to the area since, but never revisited the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross house, and others, until this weekend.  There was a chance of rain, but there always seems to be some excuse, so we hopped in the van anyway and a little over 2.5 hours later saw the Philly skyline.  Here's a double decker bridge.  I think it's the one that takes you over the Delaware Canal.  Driving back over it is when you're on the upper level.

 We parked and went into the Independence Visitor's Center.  They have people dressed in costume sharing facts and items of life in the 1770's.  This man let us draw our names on parchment for a bookmark using a bamboo quill dipped in an inkwell.  Our kids thought it was very Harry Potter-esque. 
 Here are Wes, Kate, Sophia and Joshua dressed up in period clothing in front of a poster of the Liberty Bell.
 And here's the bell itself.  Joshua was refusing to be in the picture and Matt was outside with our lunch in the drizzling rain.  Bless him.
 Along the way during the day we stopped at various story-telling benches where story tellers would share stories of people in Philadelphia history. One cool story I learned that helped with local history was the story behind Caesar Rodney.  I have friend's who've taught at CR High School in Dover, and wondered who this Caesar Rodney was and why he was important enough to name schools and roads after him.  We found out that he was the Delaware delegate who rode through a stormy night on horseback to make his affirming vote heard to support America's independence from Great Britain.  Without him, the unanimous vote needed would have failed.  He's the horseback rider on the Delaware state quarter.

From here we went to the U.S. Mint, which was very cool, but you're not allowed to take photos.  It boggles the mind to think of how much money they make everyday.  That day the quarter machine was up and running.  We saw the roll of metal being fed into a machine that punched out the blanks.  It was quite the site.

Just down a couple of blocks is the Betsy Ross House.  It was near closing time so we didn't go in, but the storyteller there shared with us the invention of the slinky - made in Philadelphia.
 It doesn't look too wet in these pictures but everyone was soaked by the time we got back into the van to find the temple.  I was the lucky one with the umbrella, holding all the paper maps and story-telling flag souvenirs.  But I joined the soaked crew when I jumped out of the van to take this picture.  The temple is being built kitty-corner to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where Rocky runs up the steps in the movie).  It's pretty cool.  We just got word over the weekend that we can expect to be part of the cultural celebration late next summer, so we're really excited about its progress!
After that we headed home.  It was such a fun day!  So often we go to D.C. for our history fill, but it's nice to have another culturally rich city within striking distance.  We plan to make another trip in August to finish our story-telling flags, and see a whole lot more!