Washington, DC, Day 2

Monday, June 30, 2008
Today we went through the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, Juniper and I went through the National Holocaust Museum, walked to Capitol Hill, saw the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court Building, Library of Congress Buildings, and some of the Capitol Hill Neighborhood. It was a full day. Samuel was only mildly interested in the Smithsonian Museums, and with all the tourists this time of year, it was difficult to spend any quality time there. I hope to return some day when I can take a whole day for each Smithsonian Museum. The Holocaust Museum was incredible, and since I only had Juniper, who was napping, I was able to enjoy this one much more. Having studied Holocaust Literature in college, and an ongoing interest in WWII, I found the exhibits to be very interesting. One day, I hope to visit the concentration camps as well.

Juniper in front of the Reflection Pool and the Capitol Building.

The Supreme Court Building.

The four of us in front of the Supreme Court Building.

To see more pictures of our trip to Washington, go to my Picasa Web Albums.

Once we reached the Capitol Building, Landon and I sat on a nearby bench while I nursed Juniper. Meanwhile, Samuel was doing what he loves--climbing stairs. We suddenly realized he'd gone beyond the "Authorized Persons Only" sign with hanging chain. Fortunately, all the guards and police in DC were friendly.

The Capitol Building

A tender moment with Daddy in front of the Capitol Building.

Washington, DC

Sunday, June 29, 2008
Washington, DC is now on my list of top cities to live in! I think Portland and Vancouver, BC are the other two on my list. We had a great time in Washington, but it was a lot of work hauling the two kids up and down the Mall and to the various monuments and memorials. We left our hotel in Philly around 10AM, ran into maid-of-honor Gena, her husband Dan, and baby Gabby at the 3rd and Arch Starbucks, then headed south.

When we reached DC, we had to get off to a good start as we had less than three days. Today, Day 1, we visited the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the White House, walked around the Tidal Basin to the FDR Memorial, then to the Jefferson Memorial, then walked back down the National Mall to the Metro station, where we got on a train to the Foggy Bottom Neighborhood, where we walked an additional mile back to our hotel.

Driving from Philadelphia to DC, we were waiting to pay toll in Baltimore, MD. Here is a view of shipyards in Baltimore from the freeway. Maybe this is where parts of Season 2 of "The Wire" were filmed?

After checking into our hotel in DC, we took the Metrorail to the National Mall, where we found the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in full swing. Hello, I didn't come to Washington to go to another Folklife Festival! We quickly bypassed it and headed for the Washington Monument.

And here we are, just east of the Washington Monument.

With Samuel and Juniper in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I love Juniper's little 4th of July outfit.

We walked all the way around the Lincoln Memorial. Facing east, the Washington Memorial can be seen (this is behind the Lincoln Memorial).

To see more pictures of our trip to Washington, DC, go to my Picasa Web Albums.
The Vietnam Veterans War Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background.

1600 Pennyslvania Avenue

The four of us in front of the White House.

The Washington Monument at sunset.

We reached the Jefferson Memorial at dusk.

Buying Garnier in North Philly, Downtown, South Philly, and Cindy's Wedding

Saturday, June 28, 2008
Landon and I wanted to see more of Philly than Old City, so before we went for a swim last night, we all got into the SUV and I took the family for a drive around Philly. I headed North, which took us by Eastern State Penitentiary, which was home to inmates Willie Sutton and Al Capone at one time. We would have liked to tour it, but children under the age of seven cannot be admitted. I was great to at least see it from the car, though, as we could have never walked there on foot. We then headed further into North Philly, where we saw streets and streets of row houses that looked to be severely impoverished. It was then that I realized that I still needed hair gel for Cindy's wedding, so I pulled over into a Walgreen's parking lot, left Landon and the kids in the car, and went inside. I figured the next best thing to Aveda would be Garnier, as anything that Sarah Jessica Parker endorses MUST be good, right? As I was buying the Garnier hair gel, I chatted with the cashier about how I was visiting and how much I had enjoyed Philadelphia so far. He said, "You picked a bad time to visit." I said, "Oh, I know, it's so hot, isn't it?" He said, "No, not because of the HEAT, because of the murders. We've hit 300 and it isn't even summer yet." Yikes! Later that night, I read about how Philadelphia is one of the most dangerous cities in America, next to Camden and DC. I talked to another Philly native who said the crime is getting worse due to the rising gas prices and school programs, which have been cut.

We stopped in North Philly at the Spaghetti Warehouse, where our waiter suddenly left because his father passed away. The food was okay, but Samuel liked his spaghetti, which was the important thing. We then headed back to our hotel to go swimming.

The next morning, we only had a few hours before we needed to be back at the hotel to get ready for Cindy's wedding, so after we had coffee, we drove towards downtown. There was NO street parking, and public parking garages were nearly $20.00, so we headed to South Philly to check out the Italian Market and hopefully eat lunch at one of the two famous cheesesteak restaurants there.

Photos of downtown Philly.

Rowhouses in South Philly, one block from 9th Street, where the Italian Market is located. Our SUV is the maroon one on the left. It cost $75.00 to fill it up before we returned it.

Landon in front of the famous Geno's, where we had the best cheesesteaks EVER.

The Italian Market, where Samuel enjoyed looking at the live crabs in various baskets.

There are many murals in Philadelphia, part of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, an effort to lessen grafiti in the city. Many of them are very beautiful.

Another mural on 9th Street.

We walked up and down 9th Street to see the Italian Market, then right before we left, we all split a cheesesteak and fries. I can see how one could get addicted to these. So good! Too good!
Once we got back from South Philly, it was time to get ready for Cindy's wedding, which was about 45 minutes to Medford, NJ from where we were staying in Penn's Landing.

Cindy and I right before she walked down the aisle. We were 5 minutes late, and she waited for me to get there before she walked down the aisle. She was a beautiful bride!

Samuel couldn't wait until it was time to cut the cake.

Landon and Juniper with Cindy at the wedding reception.

Cindy dancing with Samuel at her wedding reception.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall . . .

Before the wedding in the Hyatt Hotel's lobby.

Exchanging vows.

Just married!

To see more pictures from Cindy's wedding, go to my Picasa Web Albums.

Exploring Old City, Philadelphia (on our 6th anniversary)

Friday, June 27, 2008
We walked all over Old City today (starting with 3rd and Arch, of course), visiting all the historical sites dating back to the the late seventeenth, early eighteenth century. We got started around 10AM, and it was already pretty hot and humid out. The picture below was actually taken yesterday, in front of one of the many alleyways in Philly.

Old City is fairly quiet during the day, but transforms into quite the scene at night.

Juniper was drifting off into her morning nap in this picture. The humidity seemed to make her sleepier than usual.

We started off at Christ Church Burial Ground, founded in 1695, where Benjamin Franklin and several other signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried. It was a beautiful old cemetery that reminded me of Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which we visited while on our honeymoon six years ago, where many victims of the Titanic are buried.

Benjamin Franklin and wife Deborah Read Roger Franklin's grave.

It was interesting trying to explain to Samuel in an understandable way why he couldn't climb on the gravestones. He was really good about staying off them once we told him not to, but he did touch a couple of them, and he was quickly reprimanded by one of the Christ Church volunteers. I completely understood, and I'm glad Christ Church is so carefully guarding this old cemetery.

I swear it was haunted, though! As we left the cemetery, someone hissed in my ear, "Miss." I turned around, but no one was around me. I asked Landon if he heard anything, and he didn't, and said I should go back to see what the ghost wanted. I felt a shiver pass down my spine, and didn't go back into the cemetery, but when we passed by again later that day, I quickened my pace, like I tend to do when ascending the stairs of a dark basement.

Inside the cemetery, beneath an old tree. Samuel is standing in the far left-hand corner.

We passed by many old buildings, such as this one.
We toured the Betsy Ross House, which is an old row house built more than 250 years ago in Old City, between 2nd and 3rd and Arch. The rowhouses on either side of it have been removed, but the original rowhouse, from which Betsy Ross ran a sewing business still stands today. The story is that three men, George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross, walked into her shop one day and asked her to sew the first American flag to which she answered, "I do not know, but I will try."

Entering from the back of the Betsy Ross House, just past the visitor's center.

The Betsy Ross House from the side, where I'm sure once stood another rowhouse, which is why it's a solid wall with no windows.

The Betsy Ross House from the front.

It's a shame the house is no longer standing, where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Later in our trip, we visited the Jefferson Memorial, which was spectacular.

Next we visited Elfreth's Alley, which is the oldest residential street in the United States. At time, Irish immigrants lived here, but today, these rowhouses are prime real estate, even though they back up to the freeway.

View of Elfreth's Alley.

A rowhouse on Elfreth's Alley.

Another view.

In front of one of the houses on Elfreth's Alley.

Samuel on Elfreth's Alley.

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