We knew it was going to be a tough day for walking around outside when we were already sluggish at 8 a.m. – it was 94 degrees! Couldn’t tell the humidity, but it was high enough that our clothes were wet.
The 50 mile drive into Philly was pretty; trees on both sides of the road and little traffic. We easily found a parking lot and walked the 4 blocks to the huge, new visitor center. We had to wait in line to get tickets to wait in line to get into Independence Hall. I think that is so funny. Could they please hire one organized person to run these places?!
The tour of Independence Hall was about 30 minutes, after the required 10 minutes of “no eating, no drinking, spit out your gum, there are no bathrooms”, etc. etc. . The park service girl looked right at Nate when she said they expected good behavior and I wanted to take her aside and not so gently tell her not to stereotype this teenage boy because I’d put his manners up against any park service employee I’d met thus far on the trip. Oh, if only. I knew it wouldn’t do any good. I filed into the cramped little room to listen to the next guide.
Once again, I was surprised to see how small the room was that “our founding fathers” met in to discuss the future of our country. All these old buildings are built on a scale with very tall ceilings, but still allowed them to be heated by fireplaces and be built economically. Some people liked to show off their wealth, so they would continue to add rooms to their homes, but all the public buildings were plain and functional, mostly brick. A few wooden adornments above the windows and on the railings were as fancy as it got. The desks in the room were the originals.
In the next building, they had a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and even under the low light in the case, we were able to read the words. I made the mistake of asking the park guide if it was real, and he was very adamant in his reply that D.C. did not have the only copy, they just had the signed copy. Oops!
After the tour, we quickly headed to a food cart for lunch. I really wanted Nate to have a Philly cheesesteak, but Dan ordered one while Nate stayed safe with ham and cheese. I have already forgotten what Eliza and I had! We sat in Washington Square and watched all the government employees and other tourists go by. We ate lunch on an old wooden bench 200 feet from where they decided the fate of our country. Very cool.