These past few days we spent a lot of time with history. As usual with every state and our plan with homeschooling the boys, is to visit each state's capital. So on Tuesday after school work we headed out over to Harrisburg. The capital building was only a block away from the Susquehanna River. After taking a few photos, we walked down to the river. There were a lot of bridges crossing over it in just a short distance of each other. One was a walk-over bridge, a couple of drive over bridges, and two train bridges. The interesting bridges to me were the train bridges. If you've played monopoly before, you'll recognized these names. One bridge was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and the other was built by the Reading Railroad Company. It was kinda neat seeing a part of a board game.
We started out early on Wednesday and drove the Blazer into Philadelphia. The drive was a little longer than I expected (it looked shorter on the map), but the traffic was good. When we arrived in the city we parked near the city hall complex thinking that's were everything would be located. However, that was the current city hall. All the old stuff was 8 blocks away. Having already put 2 hours worth of change in the meter, we decided to take a walk down through the city. A few blocks later and we had arrived in front of The Pennsylvania State House, more commonly known as Independence Hall. Next to it was the Liberty Bell exhibit. But to view them, you have to pick up a free ticket at the museum across the street. Also, it was a scheduled tour to spread the flow of visitors. Well we had another hour for our tour to begin. I decided it would be best for me to walk back to the truck and drive it closer because the meter would be expiring soon.
Upon arriving back, we started into the Liberty Bell exhibit. Before going in, we had to walk through a security checkpoint like an airport. I though it was kinda strange just to see a bell. Anyhow, walking through the exhibit there were a few displays going over the history of the Liberty Bell. Then there were some displays about some of the other liberties obtained over the years such as the end of slavery, women's right to vote, etc. And then there more displays showing photos of celebrities and notable world leaders who have visited the Liberty Bell. Following that were displays about different trinkets, spoons, and misc items that incorporated the Liberty Bell, including corporate logos, etc. By this time I was loosing interest in seeing the Liberty Bell. FINALLY, there was the actual Liberty Bell! After a quick photo, we were out the door and crossed the street to see Independence Hall.
When our tour began, there was a large group of about 50 visitors in the room along with the tour guide. At first I thought we might have a hard time being able to hear what he had to say. But then he began to speak in a loud statesman like voice that projected throughout the room like one of the early colonists might have done. He told us of the history of the building and that the "Independence Hall" name commonly used is just a nickname. The building always was and still is called the Pennsylvania State House building. It was the original location for the state capital before being moved up to Harrisburg. It also became the first location for the new United States government because of its central location among the 13 colonies. There were only two pieces of furniture that remained from the 1700's. The painting behind the judges bench in the courtroom and the chair used by President George Washington in the assembly room. After the tour, it was time to head back to the campgrounds.
On our last day in Pennsylvania, we drove down to Gettysburg. I wasn't sure what to expect there. As it turns out, it was just a large battlefield with a lot of statues, monuments, and battle markers. It was interesting to me for a while, but after a couple dozen monuments I became as bored as the kids. So we just continued to drive around the battlefield without stopping at every statue though.
On the way back home to the RV, we stopped by Boyds Bear Country. Boyds is a teddy bear company that boasts the largest display of teddy bears in the country at about 70,000. Boyds also had a restaurant downstairs, so we had what turned out to be a delicious meal at a great price. After dinner, we walked through three floors of teddy bears in all sizes and costumes. On the top floor was a little workshop where you could build your own teddy bear. So Cricket and the boys decided to make one. They each selected their bears, although Cricket choose a monkey. Then they had to stuff it with the small plastic beads. The beads were different colors to represent different "emotions" to give your bear a personality. After filling the bears, they sewed up the belly button and headed over to the costume area. After choosing their clothes, they picked up a name tag and now they each had a new friend.
Today we drove down into West Virginia. I'll be back in a few days with my report from there.
Until then, don't forget to drop by in the forums and let me know you were here.