Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Philadelphia Freedom

When our trip to the beach was rained out, we were forced to make alternative plans.  Instead, we took the kids to Pennsylvania with three objectives; visit Valley Forge, go to the King of Prussia Mall, and do all the touristy Philly stuff.
First stop was Valley Forge, where George Washington and his troops spent winter quarters during the Revolutionary War. We opted for the driving tour which gave a general overview of the conditions and history of Valley Forge and the war. Everyone learned lots, some more than they ever wanted to learn. My mom teases me that whenever I plan something for the family it always has to involve some historically significant learning experience.  And I guess she is right, but it really isn't because I am so anal about my kids learning this stuff. It is just because I am a really big nerd and those are the things I like to do. They will probably grow up to resent me for all the historical sites I have dragged them to, but they will thank me if they ever find themselves on JEOPARDY or WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE!
Baby George and Baby Martha

Sleeping like the soldiers slept, 12 to a cabin.
Monument to Revolutionary War Heroes.
Another Creature Captured.
Dandelion Wishes
Where George and Martha stayed during winter quarters. Just a tad nicer than the enlisted men's cabins.
The King of Prussia Mall is the largest mall in America.  Even bigger than the Mall OF America. So, we assumed it would be full of really cool things, like maybe a roller coaster or a fishing pond or something equally spectacular.  But, it was just a mall. After an hour, onward we went to Philadelphia.
I am a firm believer that food is an essential part of making any trip a success and Philly is famous for its food.  So, our first food stop was an early breakfast at Reading Terminal.  This is an old train terminal turned Farmer's Market/Fish Market/Craft Fair/Food Paradise.  It is full of Amish delicacies and wares among many other tasty treats. Atley and I opted for freshly baked donuts from Bieler's.  We ordered a dozen varying from Maple Bacon, S'mores, Pumpkin Cream, Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Glazed; really the possibilities were endless. I have NEVER tasted anything so amazing in my life. Scott, Nash and Harley decided on Crepes and they claim their food was even better. DOUBTFUL! For lunch we headed to South Philly to John's Roast Pork.  Scott had a traditional cheese steak and I had the roast pork with spinach. Delectable, but Scott said he preferred Tony Luke's steaks because Tony uses Cheez Whiz.
Yes, we ate dinner at Tony Luke's because you can never have too many Cheese Steaks or premature deaths by heart-attack. What else is there to do in  Philadelphia other than eat greasy-bad-for-you food? Why let me show you?
Independence Hall, where it all happened.
Atley copying a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Inside Independence Hall where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed.
Benjamin Franklin's Grave
Betsy Ross House

Throughout the historic district are little benches with signs that read, "Once Upon a Nation" where you can hear a kid-approved story about the founding or the founders of our country.

Inside Christ's Church sitting in George Washington and Benjamin Franklin's pews respectively. 

Philadelphia's nickname is the City of Brotherly Love and I witnessed two acts of brotherly love while we were there.  Perhaps I have grown a little callous when it comes to beggars on the street.  I usually avert my eyes and clutch the kid's hands a little tighter.  But, while visiting I saw genuine acts of kindness extended to those less fortunate. First,  I saw one gentleman give a homeless woman an entire box of Bieler's donuts outside of Reading Terminal. Then, I saw another individual bring a homeless man a cup of hot coffee. Simple things, not beyond my ability to bestow upon someone else. It made me reevaluate my actions and what they teach my children.

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