Monday, June 08, 2009

I Love Philadelphia

Tired walkers!

After hoofing it for three days in Washington D.C. we opted to tour Philadelphia the easy way: via horse and buggy. This turned out to be the highlight of our trip! Part of the reason it was so delightful was that we had a tour guide that oozed history from his every pore. If he had been paid by the word instead of by the hour, Brian would be a rich man! His obvious love for the history of his city was positively contagious.*

In the first two minutes of our tour we encountered landmarks marking the beginning of all three branches of our government. There were statues of the signers. Cobblestone streets. Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell. The boarding room where Thomas Jefferson did his writing. Oh my, and the architecture that brings you back in time.

Trivia: did you know that Philadelphia was the first U.S. city to have a zoo and that animal crackers were created to promote it?

Our last visit to Philadelphia was 26 years ago. People warned us this time around not to go there, that because of the crime it was not a great place to bring your family. I'm so glad we disregarded this well-meaning advice! My son had just finished reading the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin--what wonderful timing this trip was for him. Benjamin Franklin's fingerprints still remain all over the city.

On a personal note, this city is very dear to our hearts because our beloved (and long departed) mentor Mrs. H. lived most of her life in Phillie and always spoke of it so enthusiastically. We named our daughter after Mrs. H; it was fitting for her to walk the streets of her namesake.

*Brian told us he has a degree in history and teaches public school by day. The tour guide job was a side kick, a way for him to share his love of history with tourists. I found it interesting that Brian chooses to homeschool his own children because "I want them to learn about Betsy Ross."
Apparently, she has been expunged from the public school curriculum.

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