Monday, August 27, 2007

We started our vacation trip in Philadelphia. The drive down took longer than it probably should have, as we made the mistake of driving over the George Washington Bridge and it took us more time than we would have liked to get through New York City. It occurred to me that it had actually been six years since my last drive down that way, so I had kind of forgotten that the Tappan Zee is usually the better course.

We checked into the Residence Inn by Marriott in Cherry Hill, NJ (more on them later) and started in on some fun stuff.

The historical stuff: On Sunday, we headed into Center City to check out the various historical icons that Philadelphia has to offer. We saw the Liberty Bell, then we toured Independence Hall. The main thing I noticed since A. and I last visited Philly around 12 years ago was the amazing increase in security. Bag searches and armed security was pretty standard around the historical icons. As a child, my grandmother lived in Philly, and I remember walking right up and touching the Liberty Bell. That's something that wouldn't be allowed today.

After that, we walked over to Benjamin Franklin's house. Franklin has always been one of my heroes. I consider him to be one of the great Americans in history.

Franklin's house isn't actually there any more. It was torn down by his descendants in the 19th century. Today, there is a courtyard that contains a metal outline of where the house actually was.

As we entered the courtyard, who did we find sitting on a bench but Ben Franklin himself! He looked pretty good for a 301-year-old guy. Seriously, "Ben" couldn't have been more realistic. He told the kids a great story and pretty much acted like you would expect Ben Franklin to act. For me, it was a high point of the trip.

The museum was interesting as well, with some artifacts of Franklin's, a diorama with some scenes from his life and a bank of phones. Calling a number on each phone connected you to a historical figure who had something to say about Franklin. It was pretty cool.

I was hoping to get through more of this than I did tonight, but it's getting late. More tomorrow.

Oh, and the Tigers just crushed the Yankees 16-0. The lead is 8 going into the three game series at the Stadium tomorrow.


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