Historic Philadelphia

Tuesday was my last day to sight-see around Philly. I hadn’t been down to the old city district yet. I especially wanted to take a look at the Liberty bell. Unfortunately mid-afternoon was a busy time, so I ended up going past the bell and headed down toward the riverfront.

On my way back I stopped by the hall where the first continental congress met.

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First Continental Congress, 1774

Spring was starting to make an appearance. One of the trees on the edge of the yard was in full bloom.

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Flowering Tree

As I headed back to the visitor center I passed (and was passed by) the horse-drawn carriages. It reminded me a lot of the one or two in Wilmington, NC, but Philly has many more than just two. They were lined up waiting for passengers outside the Liberty Bell center.

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Horse Carriages Waiting

Sunday in Philly

This morning I went to Tenth Presbyterian church for the 9:00 worship service. I enjoyed it a lot, though singing every song to the accompaniment of an organ would take some getting used to.

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On the way back I walked through Philadelphia City Hall. It’s unlike any city hall I’ve seen before. Not only is it a historic building, it’s really neat to walk though. The central courtyard gathers a lot of interest when it’s open, I can understand why.

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The rest of the morning was taken up with sessions at the Ellucian conference. The co-owner of Life is Good t-shirt company was the motivational speaker this time. I didn’t know what to expect, but he did a good job. I like his point about having a “get to” attitude rather than “have to” when thinking about the demands of every day life. Some people don’t “get to” walk, for example.

This afternoon I took a walk down to 20th street to take some pictures of the SEPTA metro line coming into the city center. On the way I stopped to take a picture of a Jewish memorial.

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The railroad was busy. Three or four trains passed by as I walked down the sidewalk. This one was coming out from underground.

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As it went over the river bridge, another one, going faster, overtook it and they headed together to the next station.

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From my spot on the bridge I had a good view back into downtown. I don’t know what all the buildings are, but some have a unique look.

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When I reached the river, another train passed by, heading to the tunnel. After taking this shot I realized it was time to turn back if I was going to make my Skype date tonight.

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You can see more photos on flickr.

Walking in Philadelphia

Once I got settled in the hotel, I went back out to walk around and see what was near me. I’m in the middle of city, so that means a lot of tall buildings around.

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A lot of people were walking about. One street was especially busy. I guess the clubs and restaurants where starting to open. I wondered what the rainbow on the street sign meant.

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My conference sessions will be in the Pennsylvania Convention Center a couple of blocks away from my hotel. The center covers at least three city blocks and was built over the existing streets.

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Chinatown is nearby, so I walked down a few more blocks until I found it. You can definately tell when you’ve arrived.

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In Chinatown, some parts of the street smell fishy (literally :-). It just as busy as some of uptown where I had walked earlier. On one street I found an outdoor market. I stopped long enough to take a couple of pictures.

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On the way back I wanted to get a picture of my hotel… wait that’s not my hotel. There are a bunch around the convention center, I better make sure I go in the right one.

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Ah, I found it finally! I’m on the second floor, so I don’t have much of a view. But at least it will be convenient to get out in the morning.

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Thanksgiving in Myrtle Beach

For the Thanksgiving holiday this year we went down to Myrtle Beach with CDF’s family. They stayed in a condo nearby, while we took the camper to Pirate Land.

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Pirate Land

We arrived at the campground at about 2:00 in the afternoon and soon had the camper set up. When everything was set up we went over to the condo for the afternoon.

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Camp Site

Thanksgiving morning the girls really wanted to swim in one of the pools. Although they were willing to brave the outdoor “lazy river,” I said we would go to the indoor pool since it was heated. It turned out to be a good choice. They had a lot of fun swimming and jumping in. They even made a new friend.

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She’s Wearing “Gobbles”
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The Indoor Pool

Trip to Tryon Palace

For her birthday, CDF wanted to go on a day trip as a family. She picked Tryon palace since we had never been there and the gardens were supposed to be in bloom. It turned out to be a great day to visit, the sun was out and the temperature cool, but not cold.

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Tryon Palace
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Girls in the Gate
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In the Gate House

We purchased the garden pass, so we spent most of our time walking the paths. The girls really enjoyed exploring the more formal gardens with their walls and bricked paths. CDF took a lot of pictures of the flowers.

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Going into the Gardens
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Sharing secrets

The garden pass also included the Kitchen Office, where the servants used to be quartered and most of the cooking for the Governor was done. We had almost a private tour of the office, kitchen, laundry, and bedrooms. Probably the most interesting part was talking to the guide in the kitchen. She was cooking lunch in the wood fireplace, an actual sausage and rice dish that would have been cooked back in the 18th century. She told us about what the people would eat, and how the servants at the mansion were better fed, and better educated, than most of the town folk. A lot of the people of that time wanted to have their sons and daughters hired by the governor.

Raleigh’s International Festival

This year we went to the 24th annual International Festival held at the Raleigh Convention Center. This was the first time for us and we were looking forward to visiting the booths from Egypt. Unfortunately the information on Egypt was sparse, mainly featuring the Rosetta stone, but the other countries represented made up for it.

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There wasn’t much about Egypt

Along one side of the exhibit hall (and half of the next side) they had a row of food vendors, one for each country represented. The strongest smells were wafting out of the Indian and Polish booths, but all of them were serving savory dishes. CDF and MD only tasted a sample from the Vietnamese booth (some sort of beef strip). The Dutch booth had some interesting desserts, but they weren’t offering samples when we passed by. 🙁

We walked through the “bazaar” next. The girls spent time looking at the Russian dolls and Chinese toys. But we didn’t buy anything until we got to the Asian booths. MD got a henna tattoo from the Arab Emirates’ booth and CE got bracelets from an Asian booth. Later on CDF went back and got MD a ring and got a pretty scarf for herself.

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Lots of Russian Dolls

After the bazaar were cultural exhibits, booths where one could talk to the someone about the country. We stopped at the ones representing Scotland, France, and Vietnam to learn about how each of their languages developed.

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Vietnam

Myrtle Beach

On November 18th we went down to Myrtle Beach for the annual SEDUG conference. The weather was nicer this year and we were able to enjoy the beach more.

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Myrtle Beach Hotel

The girls spent one morning on the beach and later on in the day, when it got warmer, they got in the water. It was quite cold, but enjoyed it anyway.

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Walking on the Beach

Friday afternoon, once the the conference was over, we went over to another hotel, the Dunes, where we had a reservation for the night. This hotel has an indoor water park, and when we found out they were running winter specials we decided to jump on the chance. Everyone had a lot of fun going down water slides or just floating along in the lazy river.

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Water Slide

MD and her cousin spent the most time on the slides. CDF went down one with CE, but they both got soaked at the bottom, so CE decided she would stay in the lazy river. I went down the big twisty slide.

Animals at the Museum

Yesterday we all went to the NC Science Museum in Raleigh for Homeschool day. We got to select two programs that were being put on by the museum staff. So the girls picked one on animals and one about the butterfly garden outside the museum along Jones St.

The first session was about animals, and after the first stuffed owl, all the others were live animals. They showed us a box turtle, a corn snake, a bullfrog, a cotton-tail rabbit, and finally a chinchilla from South America. After learning about the animal, the staff brought most of them around for us to touch.

First was the corn snake. It was still cold from the night, but was starting to warm up and move around. The girls both touched the smooth scales.

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Petting a Corn Snake

After we had seen the other animals and heard stories, they got out the bunny. Then, realizing they were almost out of time, the staff decided to let the children pet the bunny on their way out. Another lady said she wanted to bring out her favorite animal too, and they could pet both on the way out.

So we got to see an animal we’d never seen in person before, this cute chinchilla. One thing I noticed was that its whiskers were vibrating rapidly as it sniffed around. We also found out that it fur is as soft as is reported — one of the softest things I’ve touched.

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The Chinchilla

The bunny was waiting out in the hallway for us as we left.

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Petting the bunny

The second class was outside at the front of the museum. The lady talked about all the insects that visit the wildflower garden. The most interesting were the Monarch caterpillars crawling on the milkweed plants and the dragonfly nymph skins that were in the little pond (a lot like cicada skins).

Museum Visit

More from CDF:

Here we are in the Life and Science museum. They had a cloud bowl where you could touch a cloud–the top was cool, but the farther down you put your hand the warmer it got. Very interesting. Then they had a tornado of cloud to show how a tornado begins and what it looks like. MD held on to the pole because she was scared that the tornado was real. No matter how I explained that it would not suck her up into it…she still held on. And lastly, MD was inspecting insects with a huge magnifier. She’d make a perfect Inspector don’t you think?

More to come.

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Cloud Bowl
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Tornado Simulator
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Inspector

Travel to Raleigh

We got back from a business trip yesterday and today CDF sent out some pictures from their outings:

[jModule] had a conference in Raleigh earlier this week and the girls and I took field trips to the Morehead Planetarium, Pullen Park, Museum of Life and Science, and NC Natural Science Museum.

These pictures are from Morehead Planetarium and Pullen Park. As you can tell, the last picture the geese came up to where the girls were and typical CE fashion, she had to tell MD what was going on!

More to come.

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Planetarium
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Pullen Park
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At the Lake
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Pullen Park Lake has Ducks