Here I am with my kiddos. The building directly over my head is Independence Hall.
What do you do when the city you live in is about to be overrun with millions of people? You escape to Philadelphia of course. Although I did briefly entertain the thought of taking my kiddos downtown to take in some of the inauguration buzz, my better senses (my husband) took over and we chose to leave town instead. After seeing the crowds and hearing stories of people here in the city attempting to enjoy the concerts and parade, I'm certain we made a very wise decision indeed.
We began our day with mass at the Shrine of Saint John Neumann. John Neumann was an immigrant priest who is known for his early work in the wilderness, and later for organizing the parochial school system. He is best known for his giving spirit and the tireless work he did on behalf of immigrants. The Shrine itself was nothing spectacular, but the experience was wonderful. We were welcomed by the resident priest, who warmly greeted us with his Philly accent. Very cool.
Our next stop was Penn's Landing for lunch. We parked and started looking for a good Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. Here we experienced, "The City of Brotherly Love." As we were looking for a place to eat, I stopped a local and asked about his favorite cheese steak shop. He gave us directions and off we went. A few minutes later, here comes the same guy tracking us down. Apparently his favorite place had closed down, and he didn't want us wondering aimlessly. Wasn't that nice? Oh, yes the Philly Cheese Steaks do taste best in Philadelphia.
Next stop was Independence Hall, the very place George, Tom, Ben and a bunch of other really brave and intelligent men signed the Declaration of Independence. Can you see the chair at the front? To the right of the fireplace? That is where George Washington presided over the Continental Congress. After they were finally able to agree on the Constitution in 1787, Benjamin Franklin said he was glad the sun on the back of Washington's chair was one of a rising sun over our great nation, as opposed to a setting sun.
After our tour, we headed over to Carpenter's Hall. This is actually where all the signers of the Declaration of Independence met, prior to making their bold statement. Unfortunately, they were closed. But Bubby loved walking on the "rocks", which were the cobblestone streets. The rest of us were pondering the fact that our fore fathers had actually walked these very streets. Again, very cool.
No we're not done yet. Cold weather and a cranky two-year-old can't stop us. . . .okay maybe make us a little grumpy, but we will see the sights while we are here!
Our last stop was the Liberty Bell. Not because this momma was giving in to the two-year-old, but because everything was closing. We managed to make it in just in time. Here's a little trivia that I learned. You know how everyone talks about the crack in the Liberty Bell? Well, when you visit the bell you will see this large crack with bolts and think, there's the famous crack. Oh, but here's the scoop. The actual crack they are concerned about is just a hair line fracture, right above the big crack. Apparently the big crack was just a repair job to get the bell ready to ring for the Centennial. It goes to show, you can always learn something new.