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.

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

Surprise Vacation

Sunday CDF surprised me with plans to go on a mini-vacation to Southern Pines. I think what surprised me the most was that she had arranged for me to have two days off work without me knowing anything about it.

We had a wonderful time. It was too cold to go hiking like she had planned — the weather forecast was revised from low 70’s to freezing temperatures, maybe snow! But we were able to go around the historic sections and visit little shops. We had lunch Monday at a deli that served a lot of German and Irish influenced sandwiches. I got a “Best Wurst” sandwich that was delicious… or would have been except for too much mustard. CDF had a ham and cheese sandwich that was reminiscent of a roast beef sandwich. All that to say we had a good lunch.

A railroad goes through the area, but none of the museum sites were open and since it was too cold to get out and walk around, we only got to see it driving by. It looks like it would be a nice place to come back in the spring or summer and poke around more.

Myrtle Beach

This past week I took the family down to North Myrtle Beach when I went to the SEDUG conference. For me, there were just a couple of conference sessions that looked interesting, but CDF was looking forward to shopping! The Hilton that hosts the conference is just up the road from a Tanger outlet and another shopping center, so the girls always looking forward to coming with me.

A weather front moved in while we were at the beach. A couple of mornings the fog was so thick we couldn’t see the breakers when looking out the window at the beach. But by the afternoon the weather was nice enough for a walk on the beach. The girls ran around on the sand and tried to pick up the foam that was washing up with the breakers.

I went to a couple of sessions on Business Continuity, High Availability, Disaster Recovery, etc., and got some interesting perspectives, but for the most part, we’ve already implemented most of what they talked about, so it wasn’t anything new. The last session was about the direction Datatel is taking in their software development. The company is really pushing Microsoft as the platform to run their application, but they offer some consolation by pointing out that the new development kit is written as a plugin for Eclipse.