Tag Archives: PA

Favorites in Philadelphia

Philadelphia was a fun place and I think that we learned in exciting ways. These are some of my favorite things that we did there.

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Lancaster County: Amish country is a cool place were we saw what the Amish people dress like and what they do for work. They dress in old fashion suits and dresses, they are farmers, they ride in horse drawn buggies, and speak English, German and Pennsylvania Dutch. The Amish people do not have electricity. That means no computers, air conditioners, heaters, or TVs. Think about it, would you like to live their life style? I don’t think it would be that bad and the Amish that we saw looked happy.

Edgar Allan Poe House: I had never heard of Edgar Allan Poe until we went. We got a Junior Ranger book and we had to fill it out and we did. We went around his house and the first thing that we saw was his basement. It was dark and spooky and damp. The tour guide told us that they found dead bodies in the walls of some houses back then and Edgar Allan Poe used this in his stories. The house was very creepy. When we got home my mom read us The Tell Tale Heart.

Franklin Institute: We went to a really fun and interesting science museum called the Franklin Institute. This museum taught me about the brain and sports and flight. There was also a cool show. The show was about liquid nitrogen and the scientest took a balloon and soaked it in liquid nitrogen. He said that when things get colder the space in the balloon was decreasing and when it got warmer then it was the same size as before. I love science museums because they are usually fun and I learn from them.

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Dave and Busters: I went to this place for the first time and it was awesome. Dave and Busters is a huge arcade and they have a restaurant and a bar. There are so many types of games like racing, shooting, spin the wheel, and many more. We went during Power Hour so we paid ten dollars for an hour of games but we did not get any tickets. We had a great dinner there and we got two free power cards with more money on them to play any games. So I played a spin the wheel game and got over 500 tickets. Then I returned some tickets for a couple of fling-shot animals and I saved the rest of my tickets for the next time we go.

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Eragon: This was a good book that I read in Philadelphia. It is about a boy named Eragon. He finds a dragon egg in the mountains when he goes hunting. At first he thinks  it’s a rock so he tries to sell it to get food. But no one wants to buy it so he keeps it in his room. Then one morning it hatches and Eragon thinks the dragon is a he so he asks what the dragon wants to be called and he finally figures out the dragon is a she so he names her Saphira. If  you want to figure out more of their adventures together you should read Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance.

Four Foto Friday: Favorites from Philly

Philadelphia… America’s birth place… the City of Brotherly Love. Our week in and around the city was filled with activity: visiting the historical sites, seeking out good food and entertainment, retracing memories (we lived here from ‘97-’99) and catching up with family (nephew/cousin Adam) and a former ISB student (Kevin L). Here are some of the details:

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Independence Hall: Nothing says Philly like this icon of American history. We spent two days checking out the most significant spots in Independence National Park. The State House, which saw the penning of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was definitely a highlight. Rooms here were amazingly well-preserved, making the leap back in time easily imagined. Back in the RV, we also enjoyed a screening of the film 1776, the Tony award-winning musical that celebrates the Declaration of Independence. Who knew that John Adams could carry such a tune!

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Valley Forge: When the British captured and occupied Philadelphia in 1777, this region on the outskirts of town served as Washington’s encampment for the Continental Army (with over 20,000 soldiers, it became the 5th largest “city” in America!). The conditions during that winter were notoriously difficult, and thousands of log huts were constructed as shelter. Miles got a first hand look at the bunks… not much room indeed! We had a beautiful autumn day to explore the area, visit the information center museum, and learn how the American forces were fortified during there stay here.

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Cheesesteaks: Speaking of fortification… we also found some great food in Philadelphia. Pictured here is the classic cheesesteak sandwich (though I made the mistake of replacing the requisite Cheese Whiz topping with bleu cheese… good, but just not the same!) We also enjoyed the fresh produce, meats, and pastries at Reading Terminal Market. The combination of Italian and Pennsylvania-Dutch influences made for fun market shopping and a delicious lunch.

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Benjamin Franklin: There are many tributes around town to this inventor, educator, diplomat, statesman, author, and philosopher, but this was our favorite. It sits in the middle of University of Pennsylvania, the institution founded by Ben himself. We enjoyed learning about his life at Franklin Court, the site of his family home and printing workshop. Miles and Owen also loved the Franklin Institute, where a day of hands-on science gave them a nice break from all the history. Of Franklin’s many witticisms, there were a couple that gave us the best chuckle:  Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead and Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days. That last one is worth keeping in mind as we visit family and friends during our year of travel… thank you, Ben!

By the way, we’ve shifted camp again and are now in the DC area. Our list is long here and includes time with more family and friends, so we’ll probably stay for two weeks or so. Can’t wait to get out and explore our nation’s capital.

Four Foto Friday – Back on the Road

After a two week “break” in CT, we’re back on the road again. It was great having the time at home to reflect on our first trip, make adjustments, and plan out the next leg of our journey. We also enjoyed having extra time with family/friends and taking several good day trips. This past week, we loaded up the RV, said goodbye to New England, and started our 10-week journey south. The first stop is Pennsylvania, where we are now camped halfway between Philadelphia and Lancaster. Here are some highlight from these past weeks:

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Fall Foliage: The couple of day trips that we took into Massachusetts found us at the height of some amazing fall colors. This photo was taken outside of the Clark Museum in the Berkshires (Williamstown). We also had a beautiful autumn day in Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum based in the early 1800’s. Crunching through the leaves, wandering around the fields and barns, sipping on hot apple cider… all perfect ways to enjoy the change of season.

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Personal Projects: Being at home gave us all a chance to begin our “personal projects”. The idea is for everyone to pick a topic to explore over a 5-6 week period and work towards a final project. Owen selected whittling, and here he is with his first project, a wooden letter opener. Miles chose video game design and is trying out some basic programming using Stencyl. Jen is learning how to make engravings on stone and I’m hoping to learn a few tunes on the harmonica. We hope these personal projects will provide a good break from the history, math, reading, and writing. We hope to have more on these in a few more weeks.

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Lancaster County: We arrived in PA this past Wednesday and took our first full day exploring Pennsylvania Dutch country. Our campground provided us with an audio driving tour that explained many aspects of the Amish/Mennonite religions and lifestyles. We had a great time driving the backroads and checking out the sights: traditional home, old school, flour mill, cemetery, various farm stands, and of course, a family restaurant for a hearty lunch.

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Independence National Park: Today was our first trip into Philly, and we spent the whole day in the Old City. First was a visit to Liberty Bell (broken, but still impressive). We also saw the Pennsylvania State House where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were conceived and signed. In celebration of the spooky month of October, we visited Edgar Alan Poe’s home and saw where he wrote The Black Cat, Tell-Tale Heart, and other great stories and poems. Like Boston’s Freedom Trail, there’s so much incredible history here. Good thing we have several more days to explore… I’m sure we’ll have more pics next week from this City of Brotherly Love.