Thursday, March 16, 2006

Philadelphia on a dime

My mom is visiting right now. Yesterday, we went downtown to see the sights of the city. Our primary mission: to see old buildings. Our secondary mission: not to walk too much, because my mom recently injured her knee. Our tertiary mission: not to spend very much money.

I didn't post about our trip last night because I wanted to first upload some of the digital pictures my mom took on her camera. But, I discovered today that my mom's camera is too old to work with my USB connector, so I will have to wait for her to get home and email them to me. I took pictures with my Minolta, but I won't be developing them until I am less broke, so it might be a while. So, you get a pictureless post. Tell you what, I'll give you links.

We started out in the Olde City:

  1. Independence Visitor Center: Near 5th St. Station. We picked up a free downtown map with all the major tourist sites marked on it.

  2. Liberty Bell Center: Right across the street. We didn't actually go in, because we had all seen the Liberty Bell before, but we admired the new building from the street. I'm pretty sure it would have been free, though.

  3. Franklin Court: Two blocks East. This court is the site of Ben Franklin's home and printshop, both of which are represented with cool skeletal frames of the original buildings (and windows into the remaining foundations). There are also some original buildings, one of them a working post office with a (free) postal museum upstairs - just a one room deal, but interesting anyhow. There is also a (free) underground museum which has a neat diorama exhibit, but which otherwise felt somewhat disused.

  4. Betsy Ross House: One block East, one block North. The house where the first American flag was made, restored. $3 admission made entirely worth it by the charming woman who played the part of Betsy and stayed in character no matter how badly modern our questions were.

  5. Elfreth's Alley: One block East, one block North. The oldest residential street in the United States. I took a lot of pictures here - it was very cool. Most of the homes are still being lived in, and one of them is even for sale! We didn't do the museum or guided tour, though, we just walked around taking pictures.

  6. Fireman's Hall Museum: One block North. This was an accidental discovery, but it was fun, and free. It's a restored 19th century firehouse, with some cool old equipment. Plus, the staff was just finishing a birthday cake when we arrived, and they gave us some. And they took our picture, possibly for promotional purposes.

Then, we stopped by the subway station to get a free city map with bus routes on it. We took the bus over to the Museum of Art, and took pictures from behind the museum of Fairmount Water Works and Boathouse Row from above. The wind was so bad we almost got blown off the cliff, though, so we wandered back around to the front and took Rocky-pose pictures on the front steps, and pictures of the cherry blossoms. We didn't actually go into the museum, so this stop was free, too. Then, because I had no idea where to catch our bus back, we walked an extra quarter mile or so looking for a bus stop. Sorry about that, mom's knee!

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