August 23, 2019 Clarksboro, NJ (day 4) Philadelphia

 

We had rain early this morning, but it ended as we had our breakfast.  The temp would be in the 70's with cloudy skies and more rain predicted.  We left the campground at 9:00 and drove to the Woodcrest Train Station about 8 miles north of us. 

We parked in the free lot and walked into the station.

A kind worker showed us exactly how to purchase our tickets at the kiosk.  It was pretty easy!

It was $3 one way per person, or $12 round trip for two.  Cheap at twice the price and we didn't have to worry about parking. The trains run frequently, so we only had to wait 10 minutes for the next one.  We waited on the platform with the other riders.

The train made multiple stops in New Jersey and through a few tunnels before it crossed the Delaware River into Philly.

We got off at 8th and Market St. and began our walking tour with a stop at the Independence Visitor Center.

We wanted to get our free, timed tickets for the tour of Independence Hall.  We were in luck!  We got 2 of the last 20 tickets available for the 12:20 tour.  We stopped in the gift shop for a souvenir ornament and a picture of "Rocky".

We had about 90 minutes to kill before our tour began, so we walked across the street to the Declaration House.

Thomas Jefferson resided in this house while he drafted the Declaration of Independence.  

From there, we crossed the street to Independence National Historical Park–an area which includes 20 buildings associated with the Colonial Period.  Our first stop was the Liberty Bell Center.

Access to the area required that visitors pass through security screening.  Once inside, we moved through the exhibits to the site of the actual Liberty Bell.

It was awesome to see the symbol of freedom, in person.

From there, we got a great view of Independence Hall on Independence Square.

We also toured Old City Hall.  We were the only people there, so we got a personal history of the building by a park ranger. She explained that the building, completed in 1791, served as the City Hall for the city of Philadelphia.  The courtroom was used by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear cases that tested the interpretation of the Constitution.

Nearby, Congress Hall was open for touring while it was being restored.

It was built in 1790 and occupied by the U.S. Congress until it was moved to Washington D.C.  Our guide explained that on the first floor was the chamber of the House of Representatives.  George Washington and John Adams were inaugurated here in this room.

The second floor contains the chamber of the Senate and various committee rooms.

                                                                 The 13 circles represent the 13 original colonies.

We were able to tour the West Wing which contains the original printed copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States. 

One of the buildings had the coolest weather vane sitting atop the spire.

 These two clocks towers could be seen from Independence Square.

We walked past the Franklin Museum on our walk around the Square.

Bob noticed this sample satellite set up to see.

We had time to kill before our tour began, so we found a bench and hung out on Independence Square, so we didn't have to go through security again.  We couldn't wait for our tour of Independence Hall.

I took a picture of this statue of George Washington that sat out front of Independence Hall.

It started to rain lightly after awhile and we thought our tour line was starting to form, so we got in line, only to find out that it was the tour before us.  Luckily, we brought along an umbrella and a raincoat.  The kind park ranger felt sorry for us and allowed us to join the earlier tour as the rain fell harder.  Once we got inside, we sat in a large room with about 40 other people while a park ranger gave a historical introduction of this time period, injected with humor.  She did a fantastic job!  

After about 20 minutes, she led us into the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chamber.  

Our guide pointed out that this "cage" is where the "accused" stood while on trial.  It doesn't give the appearance of "innocent until proven guilty", now does it?  

Across the hallway, we entered the Assembly Room where the Second Continental Congress voted to break with England, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed, and where George Washington accepted the role of Commander in Chief of the Colonial armies.  The Assembly Room has been restored to look as it did when it was used by the Founding Fathers in 1775-87.  

It contains the original Rising Sun chair that Washington occupied during the drafting of the Constitution. You can see it at the back of the room.  It is the only original piece of furniture in this room.

                                                                              the symbol of the Rising Sun

This is such a great piece of our history and to be there, in person, was awe inspiring.  By the time we exited from the hall, the rain had let up a little, although we still needed our rain gear.  We followed our self-guided tour directions (from the AAA Tour Book) to Christ Church where 15 signers of the Declaration of Independence had worshipped.

Plaques mark the pews where Betsy Ross, George Washington, and Ben Franklin sat inside the church.

We also walked past the Christ Church Burial Ground, but didn't pay to go in.  It contains the graves of Ben Franklin and 4 other signers of the Declaration of Independence.  

As we walked, we passed by Penn's Landing–a stretch of parks and restaurants along the Delaware River.  

Walking along historic Market Street, we were headed to Sonny's  Famous Cheesesteaks, in Old City, for a bite to eat.

It is one of the authentic places to eat a Philly Cheesesteak.

To eat like a local, you have to order the "Classic" by saying "Wiz wit".  It means you want your Cheesesteak with Cheese Wiz and onions.  We ordered ours "American wit"–American cheese with onions. 

 It was huge, hot, and delicious.  It was so big, we each decided to take half of our sandwiches back to the trailer to eat later.  

From there, we walked to the B. Free Franklin Post Office, which is supposedly the only post office in the country that doesn't fly a US flag.

It commemorates Franklin's appointment in 1775 as first Postmaster General.

It is located in his lifelong neighborhood.  

These were the first two adhesive postal stamps to go on sale.

Adjacent to the post office is the newspaper office of Franklin's grandson and the Printing Office.  

Inside the Printing Office and Bindery, we were fortunate to walk in on a printing demonstration that was already in progress.

He walked us through the printing process step-by-step.  It was very informative.

We decided it was time to end our walking tour and head back.  The rain put a damper on our walk to some of the historical places and it was getting late.  We made a restroom stop at the Visitor Center and saw a man doing some painting, dressed in period costume.

Another was playing a harpsichord.

On our way to the train station, we noticed this amazing white building across the street that stretched for a block along Market Street.  The architecture was amazing!  

We used our round trip ticket to board the train after a very short wait.

Crossing the river, we got a great view of the USS New Jersey sitting in the harbor.

It continued to rain on our drive back and traffic was heavy.  Auggie was glad to see us when we got back to the trailer at 3:00.  We sat out the rain watching a movie.  The rain finally stopped and the skies began to clear around 7:00.  This was the first full day of rain we had on this trip, so we consider ourselves very lucky.  We ate the rest of our sandwiches for dinner, then took our last walk around the campground.  We really enjoyed our day in Philly today, despite the rain.  Tomorrow we leave for Cherry Hill Park in Virginia, just north of Washington, DC.  The drive will take us over two large bridges, but hopefully the traffic won't be too bad.  We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay at this KOA campground in Clarksboro.  It is one of the best ones we've stayed at. It's modern, well-kept, the sites are large and level, and has nice amenities.  The staff is also very friendly and helpful.  We would gladly come back here again.  








 

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