I am back in my hotel room after day number two of MaryFran takes Philly by storm! I am physically exhausted. Ok, maybe not exhausted, but my body is tired. I have put more than 20 miles of walking onto my body in the last two days. And that doesn't include all the standing and gawking at museum displays in between the walking. So 20 miles of walking and countless hours standing. Nope, I sat very rarely during my travels the last few days....today? I sat for about 10 minutes at breakfast and I didn't sit again until dinner......I ate my lunch/snack while walking (I had things to see!).
There are parts of vacationing by myself that are awkward. "Table for one" and "Just one entrance ticket please" are sometimes hard to utter because in our society it's just not common. But you know what? I have thoroughly enjoyed my two days of site seeing on my own. I know that if I had been with my ex, while he can be fun to go with, we would have only gotten a fraction of the stuff done. Part of that is because he would want to stop and rest. Me, I just pushed through the achy tired body and went to the next stop on my agenda! Another facet of why we would have only gotten a fraction of the stuff done? I read quickly.....I assimilate information quickly....thus I can typically go through museums at a pretty fast pace. When I'm with someone I typically have to slow down to their speed, which is ok, but lowers the output of activity.
I woke up early and knew that there was not much to do at such and early hour, so I putzed around the hotel room and made my plan of attack for day two. by 7:50 I was out the door and heading to the Terminal Market for a quick breakfast! It was delicious. I ordered Apple Cinnamon French toast which came with turkey bacon and orange juice. It was delivered quickly and I gobbled it down just as quickly!
First up for the day? Washington Square. Multiple unknown soldiers from the Revolutionary war are buried here and are commemorated quite nicely at this location.
Next up was a visit back to the Independence Visitor Center. I had grand plans to visit the Todd house (Dolly Madison's house before she became Dolly Madison) and the Bishop White House. The park service brochure said I needed to pick up free tickets at the visitor center. I went.....sadly both house were not open to the public. BOOO No worries. I moved on to my backup morning plan.
The Independence Seaport Museum.
The museum was very well done quite informative and neat. But it was definitely the tours through marine vessels that fascinated me the most. I went through the Oldest Steel Warship still afloat, The Olympia (Neat to find out that the Unknown soldier that is buried at Arlington was transported on this ship). I also got to tour the submarine, Becuna. How can one NOT learn to appreciate the sacrifices of our military when you go on such a small vessel and see how cramped they were! 307 feet by 27 and housed 80 men for extended periods of time...AND had to be self sustaining and capable of attacking (torpedos took up room!)
The Seaport Museum took a few hours, but it was well worth it. From there I went up to Franklins Court where I saw the open air house and learned about Franklin's house that stood in that location and I was able to look at the excavated foundation at the site I visited the printing press shop and saw the printers in action.
I decided to splurge and spend the $5 for the Benjamin Franklin Museum. I came away with a much better understanding of this man. Forward thinking and honestly, quite smart. :-)
Next up was the Christ Church. I visited the graveyard (a block away) on day one of my Philadelphia Blitz. So it was good to put the church into the memory bank. The tour guide was good and seemed to know his stuff. It was crazy to realize that they used to bury people IN the church....right on the aisle going up to the front of the church. The tour guide was able to tell us where Washington sat in church and where Franklin sat....and a few other signers of the Declaration of Independence also. (Based on rolls and pew 'ownership')
This was a discovery that I made while leafing through a book I picked up at the visitor center the day before. The Fireman's Hall Museum. A free museum in an old fire hall. A monument to firefighters and firefighting equipment. The pole was still there...but sadly.....no sliding down the pole was allowed. (I know from my own town recently building new buildings that fireman poles are not allowed due to insurance reasons.)
Elfreth's Alley.. What a bust. There is apparently a museum but it was not clearly marked where or even if it was open. It was however a pretty little street.
I saw this little hole in the wall bake shop and stopped to look at the baked goods. I caved and bought a brownie. Oh my word, can I say HEAVEN! It could well possibly be the best brownie that I've ever eaten! Very fudge like and gooey! (for the record I had decided before leaving the hotel in the morning that I would eat a nice breakfast and a nice dinner and just get a little snack sometime mid-day....this did the job quite nicely!)
The quaker meeting house was open, so of course I walked in. The reenactor was a bit quiet and not too forthcoming with information, but once you got him talking he was a walking encyclopedia for that era (Maybe not so much the quakers though). The meeting house was where Betsy Ross attended at one point....and the building later became the first free library.
Next up, Carpenters Hall. This is basically a building designed and built by the men that were responsible for building Philadelphia years and years and years ago. Neat building.
Teeny Tiny Museum near Carpenters Hall. I went in and spent maybe a half hour looking at the displays.
And here is where my day started to go south. I headed to Declaration Hall....only to find it closed. No problem. I moved on to my last planned museum..the Fabric museum and workshop. The guy at the front desk was RUDE and made it clear that 'setting up a tour' for me would be a chore. No thank you.....I walked out and yes, I already left a less than stellar review on tripadvisor.
Now the day began to look back up....... An early dinner. I was dreaming of Italian all day. I would have chosen something more locally owned, but this was near the hotel and I was WHIPPED by that point and just couldn't fathom walking back out to find a little joint!
Yeah yeah yeah... after dinner I went back into the Reading Terminal!
And got dessert to take back to my hotel!