Saturday, November 14, 2015

Historic Philadelphia

Independence Hall
We have begun our meandering trip south with a first stop in Philadelphia.  We actually stayed at Timberlane campground in Clarksboro, New Jersey as it was the closest to Philadelphia we could find  that had the space to accommodate our rig.
We found it to be convenient to the bridges and to a train station, making transportation easy.

Philadelphia is great for walking. Our first trip into the city we took the train and got off at 8th and Market near the Independence Visitor Center where we obtained out tickets to tour Independence Hall. The Visitor Center run by the National Park Serve is an experience in itself. It has museum style rooms that offer short films and exhibits that review the history of  Philadelphia and its importance in the birth of our nation.

Our timed tickets gave us 90 minutes to explore Historic Old Town before our appointment at Independence Hall.

Signer's Park
Signer's Park a pocket park located across 5th Street from Independence Hall. The bronze statue there was inspired by George Clymer from Pennsylvania, a signer of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Benjamin Franklins Post Office

Archway leading from the street to Benjamin Franklins house, now the Ben Franklin Museum is here.
We saw the Benjamin Franklin Museum, It was a wonder experience to visit the Post Office and Print Shop and to walk the same covered archway that Franklin did to get to his home. The house was actually located behind the businesses, in a sheltered courtyard surrounded by buildings on 4 sides. The Franklin home is now an exhibit called the ghost house. It is a steel outline of the 3 story building where it once stood, with covered exhibits explaining the purpose of the various rooms.

Architectural details

As we walked back toward Independence Hall there were beautiful old buildings with marble facades decorated with columns and pediments, lions and gargoyles, and stone masks with open mouths and tongues sticking out. What is up with that last one anyway?

Bell Tower of Independence Hall
Independence Hall is beautiful. We entered through a security gate and followed our tour guide to an ante room where we were given a brief history of the building.
The tour began on the first floor where we were shown the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and then the Assembly Room. In this room the Declaration of Independence was adopted. In this room the   Constitution of the United States was debated, drafted and signed. The Park Ranger was kind enough to point out the table for the New York delegates.

Table for the New York Delegation

We climbed and ornate staircase to the second floor where we visited the ballroom. You can see across the street and down onto the glass enclosed Liberty Bell from the second floor windows.
Fred found the staircase to the third floor but there was no joy in his discovery as visitation was limited to park employees.

Second floor Hallway, Independence Hall
Happily there were no reenactments of National Treasure this day. He was jealous to look up and discover our guide enjoying the view from the roof as we left.

There was no access to the third floor for us.
Christ Church Burial Ground is only a few blocks walk to the South. We headed in that direction to place our lucky pennies on Benjamin Franklins grave.

Wishing good luck for ourselves.

Pyramid and All-Seeing Eye

The cemetery is hauntingly beautiful. I was delighted to see pyramids, an obelisk, and images of owls and the all seeing eye. Many of the stones have no markings on them any more but maps are available that will identify them for you. Five signers of the Constitution rest in this shady corner of the city.

Our next stop was the US Mint. We were tired and not sure about how much more walking we wanted to do but decided to follow the self guided tour. We were both so happy that we did. It was a great experience and it was fun to learn about the artistic process in the development of a coin.
Our first day in Philadelphia was great. We were tired and our feet were sore but our hearts were happy.

Note: There was no charge for visiting Independence Hall. It is administered by the National Park Service. There is no fee to tour the US Mint. Both of these venues have security checkpoints with metal detectors and X-ray of bags.
There is a $5 charge for adults to enter the indoor portion of the Benjamin Franklin Museum.
There is a $2 fee to enter the Christ Church Burial Ground.

Fitbit clocked us at 11,685 steps.


  1. What a fun trip, Bonnie and Fred! We went to Independence Hall last year and really enjoyed it. We can't wait to see where you go next! :)

  2. It was a wonderful experience and such a grey city.