Friday, September 30, 2011

We’re Full of Brotherly Love for Philadelphia…. But not the Phillies!

I want to get this straight from the start:  Philadelphia is a cool town, but I am a diehard Braves fan so it is really hard to admit that I loved this city.  The people we met were friendly and helpful, giving us great suggestions and directions whenever we asked.

On our first night, we ordered pizza for the kids and locked them up tight in our Embassy Suites Suite and headed to one of Greg’s culinary stops: Morimoto (He’s one of the Iron Chef’s from Food Network.)

Greg ordered the chef’s choice meal where they bring you 7-8 courses and you sit back and enjoy.  Each course was a work of art:

Our sightseeing day began at the Franklin Institute (see ultimate field trip post.)  After three incredible hours working with hands-on science experiments, we headed to the Reading Street Market for lunch.  What an awesome place!  If you love food like we do, you’ll love these pictures:

Full of ethnic food, we headed to Old Towne and Independence Hall.

(I love old cities because they are planned.  You can easily find your way around when everything is laid out in a grid.  We had no problem walking all the way from the museum district to the convention district to the old/historic section of Philadelphia.)

Independence Hall:  the place where our founding documents were planned, discussed, voted on and then, finally, signed.  Amazing!  I couldn’t help but feel in awe of the whole place.  Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams, George Washington sat here, argued here, laughed here, thought here. And we are the winners of their radical experiment of self-government.  Awesome!

The tour, led by National Park Rangers, gave another great history lesson to all of us, but especially the kids.  Emma was hearing a lot of this information for the first time and I was proud of the close attention she paid.  I don’t know how much it meant to her at age eight, but I am glad she was listening.  First, we were led from the east wing into the judicial room where the colonists held court.  After a brief explanation of the British and American court system, we walked into the Signing Room.  The room you see in all the portraits of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  George Washington’s chair as president of the Constitutional Convention is still there, presiding over all.  Words can’t describe what the events in this room have meant to the world so I won’t even try.
Kids learning something (hopefully...)

Judicial Room

Signing Room

If you are ever in Philadelphia, obviously, go see it for yourself.

The Liberty Bell no longer hangs in the Independence Hall belfry, but it sits just across the street in a glass building next to the visitor’s center.  You need to go to the visitor’s center first to get free timed-tickets to enter Independence Hall.  We didn’t know this and walked straight to the hall and had to double-back.

After all this walking, we took the Philly Phlash trolley back to the hotel.  Only $2 each will get you to all the major historical places in Philly and they’ll even drop you right at your hotel.

That night, we ventured out in our own car for a little driving tour through the old city and down to South Philly for some cheesesteaks.  Yes, we made it safely to the famous Gino’s and Pat’s intersection.  We ate at Pat’s because we heard they were nicer to out-of-towners.   I highly recommend the “steak, wiz, wit.”

While the Phillies will never be close to my heart, I would like to return to Philadelphia for some more brotherly love and a cheesesteak or two.

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