Love history. Love being in the presence of historical places loaded with important connotations. Love the cheesy, slightly-lame-but-lovable-70’s era musical “1776.” So our day in Philadelphia was one for the books.
With our favorite “1776” songs ringing in our ears (after singing along to them on the drive), our first stop in Philly was the tour of Independence Hall. We had tickets for noon, which had to be picked up by 11:15 – and we made it! Even after an Apple maps-dependent drive from Baltimore. Even after a quick potty stop turned into a 20-minute hunt for civilization (damn those highway signs that promise gas and food to the right but DON’T say how many bleedin’ miles to the right). Even after a rookie disaster with a toll booth we accidentally blew past (consequences to be suffered down the line, I’m sure). We made it on time.
Independence Hall brought tears to my eyes. I’m not a huge American history buff, but the combination of all those school years studying the founding of our nation AND the many times we’ve watched and sung “1776” meant tears in these eyes as we stood in the assembly hall, where both the Declaration and constitution were debated and signed. Oh. My. Gosh. Serious history here.
Then we had a leisurely, self-directed walking tour of many other interesting sites, including the Philosophical Society of America. Here were displayed fascinating documents. Our faves: Jefferson’s hand-written copy of the Declaration, and a letter from Jefferson to Lafayette, warning his friend to align himself with the people (rather than the aristocracy) before it was too late. Interesting side note about the PSA building: It originally housed a menagerie of wild animals for study (“Philosophical” used to mean “Scientific”) and it STILL smelled like a zoo two hundred-plus years later!
The line to see the Liberty Bell head-on inside the museum building was two blocks long, and we were tired. So we went for the short line to see it from the side, which turned out to have hilarious results photo-wise.
Two other incidents while in that line had us literally in tears with laughter:
– The Asian-language-speaking group directly in front of us, when stepping into the small, enclosed area from which the Liberty Bell can be viewed through a window, suddenly started giggling and ran away. We discovered why when we stepped forward for our turn and began to breathe. The Boy’s finely tuned sense of fart humor was thrilled with this incident.
-While in the line, a woman with a fascinating but unidentifiable accent approached us and said, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to cut you.” She meant that she wanted to walk between us to get to the other side of the line. But I couldn’t help imagining the entirely different direction that conversation would have gone had she been holding a knife.
Wiped out from another long day, the drive back to Baltimore was uneventful. Leftovers for dinner, a walk around the corner for the best salted caramel ice cream I’ve ever eaten, a game of Monty Python Fluxx (if you’re a Python fan, you’ll love this card game), and some of our favorite comedy sketch clips on Youtube before bed.
Today we don’t have to head to the airport until early afternoon, so we have plenty of time to hang out and pack.
Hard to leave our darling Oldest, of course. Watching the three kids revert back to their cohesive, jolly unit has been the icing on the top of my figurative holiday cake. But it will be good to go home and share it all with The Husband, and to begin the rest of the summer in earnest.
The last day of any happy trip is bittersweet.