Monday, August 19, 2013

The Lights of Liberty

On our way with Cordelia!
We left the same day Jerri and Tim left PA to return to their home in Bloomington, Il.  We drove part way on Thursday and finished the drive to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site on Friday.  We had expected to stay at French Creek State Park but our reservations didn't make it into their system.  We decided to go to Warwick Campground near the state park.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site was disappointing for me.  Most of the reenactments have been sequestered away.  The lone person showed  how the furnace worked.  On the weekend they would do a firing or two.  No one cooking on the open fireplaces.  No store open to see the goods.  

Cordelia happily watched the movie with us.  Knowing we were going in to Philly tomorrow made us want to share with her our Independence Day movie.

Oh no....Lew stays behind!
We made this trip because Cordelia wanted to see Philadelphia.  Lew had damaged his knee making trailer improvements that will be in another blog.  So he decided to stay back the first day and C and I did the first trip without visiting Independence Hall which Lew was very anxious to see too.

First a train
Early (but not too early), Cordelia and I drive off to Malvern to the commuter train station. 

Here it comes to the station.
First train ride but not the last!
Signage Grump
When we arrive in downtown Philly, to get to the Old Town section, one needed to enter the subway system at the 11th street (subway) but it is called Market East on the train.  I found this very confusing when we returned.  Someone should redo the signs in the mass transit system.  The same stop has a different name on different schedules!  How is a tourist to make his way?

First stop Independence Hall Visitor Center
Cordelia made an agenda that included lunch and ice cream.  We knew it was messed up because we weren't going to Independence Hall today.  As she explained to the Park Ranger at the desk, we wanted to do as much as possible with as few steps as possible.  So we mapped it out with their help.  Not only did they know where Franklin Fountain was located they told us about the candy store next door with olde time candy!

Second Stop  National Constitution Hall
This isn't really a part of our National Park Service. It was a fee area.  A special exhibit about the year 1968 and how the constitution changed because of that year was explained.  Walking in was a big flashback with an old TV in an old case with Walter telling us about the day's battles in Vietnam. World Book was on the shelf and a Barbie case with the toys.  A Huey Helicopter contained tape recordings of the stories of people who were part of the Tet Offensive.  At the end was post'ems where people wrote what they remembered about 1968.  I told about the Democratic convention that I watched on TV and how I saw the kids being beat up by the police.  The entire exhibit had bunches of exhibits and history along with a live show.  We spent nearly two hours there and I could have spent more.  The best part was the last room that contained the bronze statues of the signers.

Third Stop Betsy Ross
After Lunch we went to Ben Franklin's Grave, the oldest Quaker House, The Church of Christ church and Betsy Ross's house.  We learned a fair amount about how Betsy had three husbands because the first two died during the Revolutionary War.  This fountain was in the yard.

I stopped counting until when near the end we reached Franklin Fountain Ice Cream

This world famous ice cream is made on site the "old fashioned way".  It was good. 
End of Day One
We did a bunch of extra walking to see if the line for the Liberty Bell was long.  It was.  Then we walked at least a mile more because of the poor signs for the mass transit (see rant). We made it back to Lew and the campground by 7:30.
Day Two the Lights of Independence
Lew's knee was OK enough to make the trip!  What a great day. We spent the morning getting into town.  The transportation on Sunday was only once a hour so it took us most of the morning to manage it.  But that left us the rest of the day for the Hall.
Entering the Hall....

This is where the Declaration and the Constitution were written and signed. Such bold, brave men. In this room they invented the United States of America.

This is the light that shone as it was written.

Of course Cordelia when given the choice between standing in line for the liberty bell or more ice cream....followed in Grandpa's footsteps and went for the ice cream.

We had a great trip back to the campground since we had a first car, first seat and a wonderful engineer who let us watch him work the controls.

A great day by everyone's book!

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