Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Philadelphia Freedom!

If I could give ONE piece of advice to anyone who’s life is so busy they feel like they can’t breathe side-ways – If you’ve ever put OFF doing things you’ve always wanted to do, because a better time will come up later, or there will “always” be a next time – it would be to DO IT NOW! Keep your schedule a bit flexible, and JUST DO IT!

I was going to head home from Glenside, PA on Sunday afternoon. That was the plan anyway—but during set up for Saturday’s workshop on Friday evening it struck me, that I had been here several times, always “NP” ((Near Philadelphia, don’t you know!!)) But NEVER once had I actually been “IP!” ((IN Philadelphia!))

And as much of a history buff as I am, it just hit me ---WHY DON’T I JUST ----and I voiced it out loud! And you know how quilters will just chime in and push you along---Marsha started telling me all the places I *HAD* to not miss, and before I knew it, on Saturday morning, she had brought me a tourist map!

From then on ---wheels were really turning! Did I have to really hurry home? No! The roof was half OFF the house by Saturday afternoon when I last talked to DH. It’s a mess of pounding and construction debris and, well……okay! I’m going in to PHILLY to sight see!

And I posted it on my facebook page, and lo and behold, I get a message back from Elsie Campbell who I’ve taught with at a couple venues this year telling me SHE is in Philly too visiting her son! She lives in Ponca City, Oklahoma! So what are the chances we would both be showing up in the same place at the same time? She was on her way up to NY to teach this week….and more plans were quickly made to meet up for dinner at a Mediterranean place downtown!!

SO…off I go!! Guess where I went first?

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It was kind of pricey, but the visitor’s center has 24 hour parking beneath it….and it is central to EVERYTHING, and since I had quilts and books in the car, I felt safer in the spendy garage than I would have on the street.

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These guys were so cute, I could have just taken them home with me! All over the place, people are dressed colonial style, and they will talk to you as if they are in complete character. VERY fun! They directed me to where to get my tickets for the tour at Independence hall….which is free, you just have to get tickets for it.


I was just AWED to be looking at these buildings….thinking of all the history that happened here. It gives me goosebumps! I think because it was mid afternoon on Sunday, the lines were extra short, and there I was, just walking into these places that have so much meaning in our country’s history!

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Here I am in the court room side. I love asking families if they want their picture taken together, whenever I see them struggling to find a way to get it to work. ((I don’t know about you, but trying to take my OWN picture by holding the camera at arms length does NOT work for me!)) And sometimes, they will return the favor! I'm getting a bit braver about just asking people if they wouldn't mind just snapping my pic too in exchange!

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But THIS is what I really wanted to see. This is the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Our tour guide was fabulous, so full of information and she made it all sound SO exciting, really pulled you in. See that chair in the center back? George Washington sat in that chair. He really did. More goosebumps!

From here I walked across the way only to find that the line for the Liberty Bell was VERY short!

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The light is pretty crummy, it was late afternoon, but can you see Independence hall behind me through the window? Just amazing! I’ve seen the image of the Liberty Bell all through my life….but I was THIS close to it. Very cool!

I was meeting up with Elsie and her son at 6pm, so I was hoofing it on foot to as many places as I could get in a very short time frame! Some other highlights were:

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Benjamin Franklin is buried in the Christ Church burial ground along with several other signers of the Declaration of Independence, and other well known patriots.

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Old cemeteries just have such a reverent feel to them. I guess it brings to mind my own mortality, and I think of these people who lived, loved, laughed and wonder about their lives, and what they would tell us if they could. Would they be amazed at how we live now, or would they think we are missing out on so much because we are SO BUSY!?

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All shapes and varieties of headstones and markers. I love reading the names and the dates, and pondering on each – some of them had really INTERESTING verses on them! But the one I came to see was close to the front, very simply marked:

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Here is Benjamin Franklin’s tomb. Covered with pennies and nickels! I couldn’t hardly read the writing from the foot, so I had to go around to the front and take a picture from the other end, and then reverse the photo to have it legible…

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Benjamin & Deborah Franklin, 1790 That’s all it says. With all the other graves so beautifully marked, listing the accomplishments and memories ---the simplicity of this one just was so striking to me. Really. What more needed to be said?

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Of course, Benjamin Franklin was a Mason, as were many other of our nations’ founders..and I found it wonderfully fitting that this beautiful floral display was at the head of his stone.

I have more pics to edit down, my day was only about half done at this point, and I’ll continue this post later! Stay tuned!

Also, remember to return tomorrow, it is my day for the Quiltmaker Magazine blog tour for 100 Blocks Volume 3! You’ll want to remember to leave a comment to be in the drawing for 2 free copies!


  1. How wonderful to take time to do something you've always wanted to do... good on you!

  2. Fantastic Bonnie! Cory and I went there last fall and it was pretty amazing! Our hotel was right by Franklin's cemetery!
    I'm so glad you made time for the historic visit.

  3. You're absolutely right. My best trips have been spur of the moment decisions to take the time to do these things. I too, get goose bumps when I'm at such historical sights--and I usually get teary as well. :)

  4. Wow, those pictures bring back memories! My husband and I saw all those sites in 2007 and had the same reaction you did: goosebumps at being in the place where history was made.

  5. My husband and I took our daughters to Philly when they were 6 and 8 respectively. We saw many of the sights you saw, but I was so disappointed that all the kids remembered was the pigeons they took pictures of and the horse drawn tour. The older one went back with her husband a couple of years ago and was awed. At least I got to see and enjoy all the sights.

  6. Oh, I love Philly! I've been a few times (choir trips) back in college...it's so beautiful and has so much heritage! That's why I'm loving living in Germany right now...all the history! You'll regularly see houses built in the 1400s and 1500s that are still standing and that are still being lived in!

  7. Glad you took a mini break! Are you serious about the roof being half off the house?

  8. Are you suprised that it was an OKIE to come out of nowhere to meet you??? haha..we're just kinda like that!
    Glad you took the time to go visit the historical city. It really is a good place to visit.
    Hey..where's the Rocky statue??

  9. Hi Bonnie. I realy enjoyed your post today. I would love to come and visit the USA - one day.
    I found the Masonic wreath very interesting - doing goldwork embroidery on masonic regalia is my day job!

  10. Bonnie,
    On your long road trips get a copy of the audio book 1776 by David McCullough and John Adams by the same author. The history is fascinating! I have a long commute and like to listen to audio books to pass the time. My local library had both of them - I know you like free books :)
    Thanks for a great blog - I look forward to it every day!

  11. Hi Bonnie, I'm so glad your Phillie tour went so well - I remember TOUCHING the Liberty Bell when I was a kid! Yeah, they used to let us do that! It's been moved and improved since then! I spent a summer in Phillie when I was 16 - a very memorable summer!

  12. You are absolutely correct......if you enjoy sightseeing why not take the time to see things when you are in that part of the country.. My DH and I learned this a while back and we have seen more places than anybody I know. When DH does business travel I always encourage him to visit friends, sight see, slow down and smell the roses...add a day on either side of the trip and make it as pleasant as you can. It has gotten him through 35 years of business travel and now that I get to go with him.....its really fun!
    Safe travels and Happy Sewing

  13. Philly is an awesome city to visit... I went with my oldest son 5 years ago. 2 days in Philly, 4 days in Washington DC. I'll be taking the same trip with my younger son later this year.

    History is a boring subject in school... Actually being in the room where the Declaration was signed, seeing the furniture they actually used. Going to DC and actually seeing the document somehow make it SO much more interesting. I think it's making it REAL that makes it interesting.


  14. How fabulous--what a trip and such super photos, I feel like I took the tour with you

  15. Great post, also very interesting for overseas readers. Yes, what's best than one day decide "I'll do this now !" and head for adventure ? You were so right to do it !
    But your roof ??? was it because of storms or were some renewals planned long ago ? Good luck with this anyway. And have a nice drive back home.

  16. Good for you! I am envious! I too am a history buff and would love to one day peruse the streets where our founding fathers gathered and discussed and lived. I too have often wondered what they would think of our lifestyles today and what they would think of where our country is today. Would make for a VERY interesting discussion.

  17. I grew up NP ("near Philly") and seldom went into the city because of all the crime. But I have always lived in the "historical corridor" between Massachusetts and Virginia and have not only visited lots of these sites but take my son to see them all. It seems curious to me that a place in my own backyard brings someone else so much excitement but I like it. Each time I meet an American who has never been to Washington DC, a place I pop into just for a bite to eat, it seems odd to me, so I'm glad you take so much joy in the historic value of these places and encourage others to do so as well.

  18. Good for you! Sounds like you're having a great time on your spur-of-the-moment excursion.

  19. Ah Ha! So you visited my city! I live here and I was in town yesterday. Too bad I didn't know you were here, too. I could have shown you some other places that were "off the beaten path", so to speak. Was born and raised in Philly! There is so much more to see and eat!


  20. It's been a long time since I've been in Philadelphia. Thank you for bringing back memories of our visit there!

  21. How much fun! I've never been there, either. I DO know where your friend lives (Ponca City) because I used to live in Tulsa. OK is a great state full of nice people. Philly sounds fun, too.

  22. I went to college in Phila. Thanks for the memories. A couple of quilting buddies and I went to Sauder's Saturday. We found out later you were there Friday. We would have been so excited to have run into you. Maybe next time!

  23. I think it's great you decided to tour Philly! I totally agree -- what are we waiting for? It sounds like you had a great time. (P.S. - I can hear that title song playing in my head...)

  24. I've been close & never been able to see Philly either! Hopefully someday, until then thanks for the mini-tour!

  25. I've lived NP for ohhh, almost 15 yrs, and have only done the downtown Philly tour once. I can't wait to see the rest of your pics. Someday I have to get down there again, I'm glad you enjoyed your trip!

  26. Thanks so much for sharing pictures and info when you travel. I have gone to Germany, California, and the East Coast with you, as I sit in my family room in my pajamas. Love it!!!

  27. susiequilter@hotmail.com4:07 PM EDT

    Love this block. I was at Goodwill today looking for shirts to cut up. Glad you got to spend some time in Philly. I did that a few years ago and loved it. I would love to win so that I could gift my friend who was just told she has brain cancer.

  28. I've never been to Philadelphia. I've always wanted to see the Liberty Bell and Betsy Ross' house. Maybe I'll follow your example.

  29. I think I may have been to Philadelphia as a child but I don't remember a thing. Maybe it's time to take another trip.
    I give you so much credit for doing it on your own.


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