Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Grace and Zach’s Wedding Pictorial


Until I can steal the needed moments to record the abundance of blessings over the last few days, a pictorial preview will have to do.

Grace was a stunning bride in her $100 clearance dress so lovingly and artistically altered for Grace as a gift from the talented Miss Wendy.  She took a beautiful dress and turned it into a walking work of art that was so very Gracie!

Her bouquet was one of our homemade wedding projects, with roses Grace dried from bouquets given to her by Zach over the course of their courtship.

They were married Thursday evening, October 17th. The day was filled with festivities and joyful celebration as we celebrated the union of two beautiful souls deeply committed and in love. Their joy was infectious.

Prior to their wedding ceremony, at the Philadelphia Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we met to capture photos of the happy couple. I took 800 photos that day, finding myself enamored with the beauty of the bride, the adoration of the groom, and the sweet spirit that permeated the temple grounds. Here is a small sampling of the day.

I promise a more wordy recollection when I recover from the week enough to pen something coherent.

It really was a perfect day!

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The Big Day is Here!


After months of anticipation the big day is here!

Grace is getting married to her sweetheart, Zach…


And in 12 hours our sweet Gracie will officially be Gracie Elizabeth Tame.

This is a love story that has been 12 years in the making. When Grace sat in primary opening exercises that first Sunday at church, after moving into our new home, she had no idea Zach Tame would become her future husband and these dear friends would become her future family.

God began writing their shared story a decade ago, and today the pages of their story turn to the next chapter as they commit themselves before family and God to love, honor, and cherish each other for eternity.

Today we give our daughter to the man who loves and adores her, and in turn gain another son (and an extended family of wonderful people.)

The blessings are simply too abundant to count and I find my eyes leaking with the fullness of emotions washing over me this day.

The turning of a chapter in the book of life always comes with a mix of emotions.

There is sentimental reflection on chapters past, as I think back on my favorite parts of our family’s story,

While eagerly anticipating all the possible blessings the next chapters hold.

It is no wonder my emotions are leaking out of my tear ducks.

All these feelings are a lot to carry in one’s heart.

The rush of emotions started pouring forth with the return of Miss Molly, who flew home on Tuesday night to be a part of the wedding festivities. As Gracie’s maid of honor, she wouldn’t have missed wedding week for anything!

Her journey home began at 6:00 am and consisted of a four hour shuttle ride to the Salt Lake City airport, two connecting flights across the United States, and a car ride home from the airport that ended at 11:30 pm with a hug from her big sister.


These two besties have missed each other greatly!

Yesterday we loaded up the car for the five hour drive to Philadelphia for Grace and Zach’s Thursday evening wedding.

We checked into our two hotel rooms last night.

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We spent the evening relaxing, enjoying family time,

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And doing our nails for the wedding.

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We woke up to the realization that the day we have been preparing for had finally arrived.

It is wedding day!


This is the day Grace and Zach will be sealed together for time and eternity in the Philadelphia LDS Temple.

What a wonderful page in our book of life!


Philadelphia Zoo


One of the three sites we chose to visit as part of our sightseeing pass was the Philadelphia Zoo.

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The Philadelphia Zoo is the oldest zoological park in America. The zoo was slated to open in 1859, but it was delayed for 15 years because of the Civil War. Finally, the zoo opened in 1874 with 1,000 animals, not too many fewer than they have today.

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Over 140 years later, the Philadelphia Zoo still welcomes millions of visitors a year, and this weekend Toby and I joined them for our first visit to Philly’s zoo.

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My first impression of the zoo was that it was nicely laid out, with reasonably sized enclosures for the animals.  It does have a bit of an urban feel to it, most likely because of the close proximity to roads and railroad tracks, but that doesn’t distract much from the overall experience. It actually reminded me a lot of the Erie Zoo, due in part to the age of the zoo.

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Aside from the surprising lack of elephants, the zoo featured most of the animals that you would expect to find at a large American zoo. Animals like giraffes, gorillas, and big cats, could be found roaming their enclosures or simply laying around enjoying the day.

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We did find that the Philadelphia Zoo offered one particularly unique feature that we had never before experienced in all of our zoo experiences: Zoo360.

Zoo360 is a campus-wide network of see-through mesh trails that afford the animals within the enclosures more opportunities to roam around and above Zoo grounds.  Zoo360 is the first of its kind at any zoo worldwide.

There are several components of this innovative experience: Treetop Trail, Great Ape Trail, Big Cat Crossing, and Gorilla Treeway, with more on the way. The trails link existing animal habitats with similar habitat requirements so animals can utilize each other’s spaces in a time-sharing system, and take advantage of having more room to roam. New destination exhibits will be created and designed to accommodate all of the species that would use each trail type.  We found that the Zoo360 experience enhanced our experience, creating a more dynamic engagement as animals moved around us, 360 degrees — along, above and across visitor pathways.

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It was pretty cool getting to watch the animals walk right above us as we strolled through the zoo.

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In addition to making the zoo experience more engaging to visitors, Zoo360 benefits the animals by offering more opportunities for long-distance travel, a greater variety in their environments and an increased ability to determine their own experiences.

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In addition to the thrill of seeing some big cats stroll above our heads, we also got to experience the delight of watching monkeys frolic above us along the Treetop Trail. The Treetop Trail is an elevated trail for small primates like the red-capped mangabey, black and white colobus monkeys, white-faced sakis, blue-eyed lemurs and mongoose lemurs, who love to travel and explore among the treetops.

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A momma with her baby.

My favorite stop was the PECO Primate Reserve, which featured two-and-a-half acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits.

We were drawn to this yard by the sight of the orangutans in the outdoor yard sporting pizza boxes and towels over their heads. Initially we thought that someone’s choice to litter resulted in some mischievous monkeys getting ahold of contraband, but soon discovered that their collection of “trash” was actually provided by the zoo staff as enrichment objects for the animals. This family of orangutans had ingeniously created sun blocks for themselves to battle the intense heat of the day. It was pretty cool to see how their minds work.

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The PECO Primate Reserve houses some of the world’s most endangered primates. We got to see gorillas, Sumatran orangutans, white-handed gibbons, black and white ruffed lemurs, golden lion tamarins and more. The best part was the sprinkling of babies through the exhibit that tickled us with their delightful antics. I could have spent all day in the ape house watching them play.

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Overall we found the Philadelphia Zoo to be a fun stop but not at the top of our list when it comes to the best zoos we’ve toured. In our opinion the Pittsburgh Zoo has it beat, but we had to admit that the Zoo360 experience was incredibly cool and worth the trip to check it out!

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Touring Philly from the Top of a Bus




As part of our mini-vacation to Philadelphia, Toby and I decided the best was to make the most of our 24 hours in the City of Brotherly Love, was to take advantage of the Philadelphia City Pass.

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With The Philadelphia City Pass we could gain access to some of Philly’s more well known sites for 1/2 the price of purchasing tickets at the exhibits’ doors. As we pondered the different choices offered through the City Pass we chose to visit the Philadelphia Zoo, Eastern State Penitentiary, and do the Big Bus tour.

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The Big Bus tour ended up being a fun way to see the sites of Philly. From the open top of a double decker bus  guests are able to ride the 1.5 hour loop of the tour route while a knowledgable tour guide shares fascinating facts and interesting history about the city. Guests also have the option of jumping on and off at different stops along the route.

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The flexibility makes it a fun option for seeing the sights of the city without the nuisance of navigating the parking situation in Philadelphia. Regardless of whether guests choose to simply ride and enjoy the sights of Philly from the upper deck, or use the Big Bus as a means of getting to desired touring locations, it is a great way to see the city. We had a lot of fun learning more about the city in this unconventional way.

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Some of the sights we enjoyed with the Big Bus tour included:


  1. Christ’s Church Burial Ground, the final resting ground of many of our country’s founding fathers,


Including Benjamin Franklin’s grave:


2. Love Park:



3. Independence Hall:

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4. Independence Visitor Center, location of the Liberty Bell:

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5. City Hall, one of the prettiest buildings I’ve ever seen!

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6. The Philadelphia Museum of Art…aka: The Rocky Steps!

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7. And the home and final resting place of Betsy Ross:


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(More about the historic Betsy Ross home in the next blog)

We really enjoyed the Big Bus tour. We felt we learned much about the city, while enjoying the fun novelty of open-air travel on a perfect summer day in Philadelphia!

Where’d that Quarter come from?



Toby is a coin collector and has been since he was a child. It is a hobby he shared with his father and a hobby that has continued his entire life. It is a hobby that pairs well with another favorite hobby of his: metal detecting. I love that he is so passionate and knowledgeable about something that brings him such joy,

And despite my complete lack of knowledge about currency, I enjoy learning from him as he shares his knowledge with such enthusiasm.

While we were in Philadelphia for our two day anniversary trip we decided to make one of our stops the Philadelphia Mint. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, this mint is one of five money-making factories in the United States and the top producer of the coins that jingle in your pocket.

Just pull out a handful of change and every coin marked with a “P” or not marked with a letter at all (this tradition is a nod to when the Philadelphia Mint was the nation’s only mint) was produced at the Philadelphia Mint.

It’s estimated that about 50% of the coins in circulation today were made at the Philadelphia Mint. 


The Philadelphia Mint is actually the nation’s first, started in 1792. The currency needs of the government continues to increase, and the mint has outgrown three buildings throughout its years. The current Philadelphia Mint building has been in use since 1969.

The Philadelphia Mint mints all coin denominations in use in America as well as many of the medals that the government hands out each year (think Congressional Medals of Honor, Presidential medals, etc.). The mint is capable of making upwards of 1 million coins every 30 minutes. By contrast, it would have taken the first Philadelphia Mint three years to create that many coins.

We arrived at the mint already knowledgeable to the rules and procedures of this government building having spent some time on their website. Due to the sensitive nature of the product produced inside, visitors are restricted from taking photographs.

We were able to nab a few photos outside the building before walking in.


Guests are guided through security before being set up the escalator to the second floor where the FREE tour begins.


We began our visit by learning the history of money making in America. Artifacts like the first coin press from 1792 were on display, along with a collection of old coins. There was also a short video that explained how the concept of a US mint came to be. By riding the escalator to the third floor we were guided to the next stop on the tour where guests are guided through the process of how coins are made.

The process of making a coin actually starts with Congress, who has to pass legislation for a new design or denomination. Once the bill has gone through Congress and the President has signed it, the process of making the coin really starts.

The Philadelphia Mint is home to the artists who actually figure out what the coins will look like. This can be quite a long process, with several variations made and many suggestions offered. Eventually though, a new design is settled upon and the process of making the coin can start.

This is also where the tour of the Philadelphia Mint gets really interesting because guests can actually look down on the factory floor below and watch the minting process.

On our self-guided walking tour we learned more about the five steps that are involved in the actual minting of the coins: die making, blanking, annealing and upsetting, striking, and inspecting/bagging. Each step was well explained with signage explaining the process, touch screens that showed us the of the highlights of the factory, and an audio explanation that played through speakers.

It was pretty amazing watching the coins being made below us. It was crazy to think that one of the coins we were watching be made may someday find its way into our pocket or change purse.

Both Toby and I found the Philadelphia Mint factory tour to be very interesting. It felt to me like we were walking through an episode of Discovery channel’s “How it’s Made.” Despite the tour being self-guided, we had no problem understanding each aspect of the process.  We both would highly recommend a visit to the Philadelphia Mint for anyone who collects coins or is simply interested in learning more about where their money comes from.

Longwood Gardens


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Last Friday, following my graduation ceremony the previous night, we found ourselves headed east for another big event. In preparation for her upcoming wedding at the Philadelphia temple in October, Grace decided to receive her endowments at the same temple. This was a special milestone in Gracie’s spiritual journey as she prepared to make covenants with Heavenly Father in the House of the Lord that would serve as a strengthening force and great personal blessing to her throughout her life.

She invited me to escort her on her first time through the temple, and it was a joy to take that journey with my sweet girl on her special day.

When Gracie made reservations at the Philadelphia temple months before her July 27th appointment, it was our hope that Toby and I would both be able to accompany her. Our ability to slip away with Grace for the weekend hinged on making sure all the other kids were stable and ok to be left at home. It all worked out and God’s hand was in the details. Ozzie continues to be safely settled in at his trauma-care facility in Erie. Braden was invited by his Pap (His former adoptive father who is battling cancer) to spend a weekend with him this summer, so we made plans for that weekend to coincide with Gracie’s endowment ceremony. Molly and Rusty coordinated their work schedules so that Tyler would only have to be home alone for a minimal amount of time. And because everyone is in such a good place emotionally, we found that we were able to drive to Philly with no concerns.

Along with Toby and I, Grace was also joined by her fiancé, Zach’s parents, and sister, Andrea. Zach chose to drive out with us on Friday with his family meeting up with us at the temple on Saturday morning.

Knowing what a gift it was to have this alone time with Zach and Grace, we allowed Grace to pick a fun excursion for Friday afternoon, and Grace didn’t even hesitate. She knew exactly where she wanted to go.

Less than an hour outside of downtown Philadelphia, is one of America’s most impressive outdoor spaces: Longwood Gardens.

Last time Grace visited this historic Philadelphian landmark it was Christmas. Zach’s sister, Andrea, had taken her there and she was blown away by this place that was cloaked in Christmas magic. She loved it and took hundreds of pictures. She couldn’t wait to return and was eager to visit it during the summer months when the outdoor gardens were in bloom. She couldn’t wait to share this special place with the rest of us.

We arrived and stepped into a floral wonderland, laced with magnificent architecture, roving entertainment and timeless edifices of American History.

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The land that would one day become Longwood Gardens was purchased from William Penn in 1700 to be used as a farm. In 1798, twin brothers Joshua and Samuel Peirce began planting trees, and, by 1850, the land had become one of the best collections of trees in the country. Known as Peirce’s Park, the land was a popular destination for visitors. However, due to declining interest by the family, the trees came under threat of being cut down by a local lumber company. Pierre du Pont stepped in and bought the land to preserve it.

However, du Pont didn’t just preserve the land. In fact, he begun adding to it and created much of what can be seen today. When du Pont died in 1954, he left most of his fortune to the Longwood Foundation to maintain and improve the gardens. Today, more than 50 years after du Pont’s death, his gardens continue to delight visitors 365 days a year.

We arrived, purchased our tickets, and headed inside.

Once inside the gardens, we found there were several destinations worth checking out. The most impressive area, in my opinion, was the Conservatory, which features over four acres of indoor gardens.

Gracie was especially eager to show us the green hallway that leads to the bathrooms in the conservatory. This is one of Gracie’s favorite places at Longwood Gardens, as her favorite plants are ferns…the very flora that covers the walls of that hallway.

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While in the Conservatory, we stopped to check out the organ installed by du Pont. With over 10,000 pipes, this organ was one of the largest private pipe organs in the world when it was installed here in 1929. Visitors can walk around the organ to learn about its history and even get a glimpse into the inner workings through a window. We stayed her long enough to enjoy a few songs and soak up the beauty of the ballroom.

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We found the Conservatory composed of room after room of tropical plants from around the world.

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Outside was an amazing waterlily display with aquatic plants from across the globe. It was stunning, truly a photographer’s dream with its huge lily pads and colorful blooms.

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Other gardens on the 1,000-acre property range from roses and peonies to wisteria, conifers, and an allée of catalpa trees. There was a dahlia garden, an idea garden, an edibles section, and a long fence covered by clematis of many varieties.

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At the far side of Longwood Gardens, near the wooden treehouse, we found the Italian Water Garden, one of my favorite spots at Longwood.

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The water display in the sunken area was patterned after one at the Villa Gamberaia near Florence, Italy, with great care by Mr. du Pont to keep the perspective symmetrical – the water pool farthest away is 14 feet longer than the closest pool assuring that these would all look the same length.

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These fountains were not the only water display at the gardens. Located in front of the conservatory we discovered the main fountain garden.

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After a two-year, $90 million renovation, the Main Fountain Garden at Longwood Gardens has opened. The new fountain replaces the garden’s original fountain, and much of that original plumbing can be seen in a small museum next to the fountain.

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The new Main Fountain Garden features 1,719 jets that shoot water as high as 175 feet into the air. Standard fountain shows are performed 4-5 times each day and are 12 minutes in length. These shows are set to a variety of music from classical to modern pop.


While we were visiting, the Festival of the Fountains was going on. The timing of our stroll around the gardens resulted in us missing out on the nighttime show, but we did catch some of the daytime musical production as we were walking by.

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We ended up spending 3 hours in the gardens but could have spent days. I was amazed at how extensive the gardens were. The entire experience was a feast for the senses. As it was, I left with my SD card filled with hundreds of photos. I simply couldn’t keep myself in check. Longwood Gardens truly is a small slice of heaven here on earth.

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The City of Brotherly LOVE


Following our trip to the Kalahari Resort in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, we decided to take a little detour before heading home. Our detour required a south-easterly jaunt to get to our desired destination…

Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love!


We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in the city, as three kids had work at 6:00pm and we had a 5 hour drive to get home, but we wanted to make this stop a priority.

Gracie, our eldest daughter, will be marrying her true love on October 17th. They have decided to be married at the Philadelphia temple of our church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.


It was important to Grace that her siblings visit her wedding location prior to the big day. Much of this was for the benefit of Tyler and Braden who struggle with the unexpected and unknown. She knew that visiting prior to her wedding day would alleviate some of the emotional angst connected to her getting married and leaving home.

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It was a blessing. Grace was able to share her excitement of her upcoming nuptials with her family while also walking the boys through what they can expect that day. She was so sweet, asking for their input on decisions like the best locations for photos and what flowers would be pretty in her bouquet.


The visit was a blessing for the entire family as we all were strengthened by the spirit felt on those temple grounds.

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And Gracie just glowed with anticipation as she imagined what her wedding day would be like.

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By the time we left the Philadelphia temple we just had two hours left in the city before we needed to get on the road. Molly, Rusty and Braden were all scheduled to begin work at 6:00 pm, so we did a speed tour of Philadelphia sites that we didn’t visited on our last trip to the city.

Our first stop was the “Rocky steps,” located in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, made famous by the film scene from the movie, Rocky.


Toby opted to do a drive-by and drop us off rather than try to find parking,

while the kids ran the 72 steps that made the site an iconic tourist spot in Philadelphia.

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I did not run the steps, but did walk then so as to take in the view of the city from the top,

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And capture this memento of their Rocky moment:

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A quick stop at the Rocky statue and then we caught our Uber (aka: Toby) on his fourth loop around.

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We decided with our remaining time in the city that we would head to Reading Terminal Market, per Gracie’s suggestion.

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Here is a little background information on this iconic Philadelphia site:

Reading Terminal Market is an enclosed public market located at 12th and Arch Streets in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It opened originally in 1893 under the elevated train shed of the Reading Railroad Company after the city of Philadelphia advocated to move public markets from the streets into indoor facilities for both safety and sanitary reasons. The Reading Railroad Company owned and operated the market space until 1976 when the company liquidated, leaving the market without its parent company and foot traffic from the train. Presently, it still occupies the ground floor and basement levels of the Reading Terminal’s former train shed which is now part of the Philadelphia Convention Center. Vendor stalls occupy the ground floor with entrances on Filbert Street to the South, Twelfth Street to the West, and Arch Street to the North. The stalls are arranged in a grid pattern with an open area in the center with tables and seating. Over one hundred merchants offer fresh produce, meats, fish, artisan cheese, groceries, ice cream, flowers, grilled cheese, baked goods, crafts, books, clothing, and specialty and ethnic foods.

It was a very cool place with its bustling atmosphere, sights, and smells. Had I not been trying to keep six other people in my sightline, while making sure everyone stayed regulated in this highly chaotic and stimulating environment, I probably would have enjoyed it more,

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But if I am being transparent in my recollection of the experience, it was my idea of a living nightmare. (Just keeping it real)

I found everyone’s assessment of the experience fascinating as we took in the energy of the space. The introverts of the family began breathing quickly taking note of the closest emergency exit and desperately seeking out a corner to hole up in, away from the bustling crowds.

My extroverts, however, came alive, energized by the crowds and social atmosphere of the environment.

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I found all family members landed firmly in one of two camps. They either LOVED Reading Terminal Market or HATED it.

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The one thing we could all agree on was how delicious the food was that was sold there.

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We decided to make the experience authentic by eating lunch there. We found the prices to be reasonable and the choices were abundant. Toby split the group in pairs of two and sent them out with money in hand to each buy  what they wanted for lunch. The kids loved the freedom of picking their own meal and liked being able to be as daring (or not)  as they liked in their food choices. There was something for everyone!

I opted to sit and save a table, having discovered an elusive find in seven free chairs around a reasonably clean table.

From my spot, back against the wall, I was able to observe the “dance” of the market from a place that felt much less overwhelming, and actually enjoyed it. It was fun to “people watch” once I was out of the stream of moving people, and the activity was pleasant when observed from the outside looking in.

We enjoyed a delicious and unique dining experience before jumping back on the turnpike for home. It was the quickest Philadelphia tour ever, but we fit a lot of fun and special family moments in our three-hour morning there!

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A Stroll through History


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Yesterday we went into historic Philadelphia to spend the day exploring some of the most significant places in our nation’s history. The entire experience left me feeling profoundly humbled and grateful for the freedoms I all too often take for granted. To walk the grounds where our great Nation was born and to stand in the very room where our story began affected me. It was a powerful and even spiritually touching experience which left me feeling emotional.

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Since this was our first time visiting historic Philadelphia I did some research before we left on what sites were in the area and which were most recommended for someone only visiting for the day. In my research I came across “The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia: Take a free self-guided walking tour through America’s most historic square mile.” I downloaded the free walking tour guide and we used it to guide us through our day.

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(On a side note the entire day was free of charge with the exception of our delicious dinner at the City Tavern.)

Here is a look at our day (with descriptions from the self-guided tour.

We began our day at the Independence Visitor Center.

“Visitors to the Independence Visitor Center will discover a range of services and amenities that provide a warm welcome and all of the information you need to plan your visit to the Philadelphia area including Independence National Historical Park.  Get your free timed tour tickets for Independence Hall on the morning of your visit, on a first-come, first-served basis. Throughout the day, you can watch two films: Independence and Choosing Sides “

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Molly stamping each of our tickets with a national park passport stamp.

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My children: American heroes. 🙂


The kids had fun assembling the United States floor puzzle at the Visitor’s Center.

. Then we walked (well everyone else walked while Toby pushed me in the wheelchair) over to Independence Hall. The kids were excited, having recognized this historic building from the movie National Treasure. With our free timed tour tickets in hand we waited for our 11:20 tour to begin.


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Independence Hall


“Independence Hall, the birthplace of America, was built in 1732 as the Pennsylvania State House. Within this hallowed hall, the Second Continental Congress met in May 1775, and The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. Independence Hall is also where the Constitutional Convention met to draft, debate and then sign The United States Constitution on September 17, 1787.”

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The historic hall that gave birth to a new nation.


Then we moved into the adjoining hall to view three historic documents, including George Washington’s copy of the constitution and an original copy of the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation.



The next stop was Congress Hall:

“Constructed between 1787 and 1789 as the Philadelphia County Court House, Congress Hall served as the United States Capitol, the meeting place of the United States Congress, from 1790 to 1800, when Philadelphia was the Capital of the United States. The House of Representatives met on the main floor, while the Senate assembled upstairs. From its earliest days, the Senate thus came to be referred to as the “upper chamber.” Among the historic events that took place here were the inaugurations of President George Washington (his second) and President John Adams.”

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Sitting in the room where John Adams was sworn in as our second president.



The we walked across the road to The Liberty Bell Center. This was the stop most of my kids (especially Ozzie) was most excited about,

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“As the official bell of the Pennsylvania State House, which is today called Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell rang many times for public announcements. It may have rung on July 8, 1776 to announce the first public reading of The Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell, which weighs about 2,000 pounds, was silenced by a crack in 1846. Its inscription reads: “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof” – Leviticus XXV, v.10, The Bible. The new Liberty Bell Center features exciting exhibits on the history of this world-famous icon of freedom.”

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“Proclaim Liberty Throughout all the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.”

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Then it was on to Franklin Court and the Ben Franklin museum:

“Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers, was a very accomplished author, diplomat, inventor, philanthropist, political pundit, printer, statesman and scientist during his 84-year life. Franklin’s house once stood in Franklin Court, however it was razed in 1812. Today, the Robert Venturi-designed “Ghost House” stands depicting the frame of Franklin’s home. Below Franklin Court is a museum which is filled with paintings, objects and inventions; the museum also continuously shows The Real Ben Franklin movie.”


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Tyler learning about the printing process.


Ben Franklin was a great lover of chess, we learned, just like our Russ.


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Traveling in style…Ben Franklin style!


Located on this same plot of land is the print shop.

“Years before his little kite-flying escapade, young Benjamin Franklin was making quite a name for himself as a printer. Progressing from apprentice to master printer, he took over publication of The Pennsylvania Gazette, and it soon became the most successful newspaper in the colonies.
 An 18th century print shop is recreated here on the site of his original property. Independence National Historical Park (INHP) rangers give demonstrations of the labor-intensive process of turning out a daily newspaper. Leather daubers stuffed with cotton are used to apply the ink. Then it’s onto the hand-operated 18th century printing press. The final product hangs from the drying racks along the ceiling. Typesetting desks and the tiny little letters and numbers are also displayed.”
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The park ranger demonstrating the 18th century printing process.

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Molly purchased one of the printed papers that were for sale for 25 cents.


Our final stop before stopping to eat was the  B. Free Franklin Post Office & Museum:

“B. Free Franklin Post Office & Museum is the only Colonial-themed post office operated by the United States Postal Service. It is a living portrayal of a bygone Colonial lifestyle, and it is the only active post office in the United States that does not fly the American flag (because there was not yet one in 1775 when Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster General). The postmark “B. Free Franklin” is still used to cancel stamps. The museum on the second floor features displays of postal history and memorabilia.”

The kids had each purchased a post card at the visitor’s center to mail home to themselves from the oldest post office in America. They got a kick out of it!

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Mailing their postcards.

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Then we ended our day with a 4:00 lunch/dinner at the City Tavern:

The City Tavern is the tavern where delegates of the First and Second Continental Congresses met, as well as where delegates of the Constitutional Convention met. The City Tavern played host to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. Today, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner, and it offers visitors the chance to enjoy a taste of the past.

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Homemade bread, including Thomas Jefferson’s sweet potato biscuits.



It was a fun way to end our historic walk through Old Philadelphia. The atmosphere was delightful as we were served by waitresses in colonial dress and ate off pewter dishes. The food was delicious!! It was a little more costly than what we would normally spend on a meal out, with most dishes averaging $12.00 on the mid-day menu, but it was so worth it! The food was incredible and uniquely reflective of that time period:

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This was what everyone ordered:

Toby- Applewood Smoked Pork Chop

Katie- Paillard of Salmon

Grace- Chicken Breast Madeira

Molly- Colonial Turkey Pot Pie

Rusty- Veal and Herb Sausage

Tyler and Ozzie- Fish and Chips

The entire day was enjoyed by all and left us all feeling reflective and all the more grateful for the simple, humble men who did such a brave, unprecedented, and extraordinary thing 240 years ago.