We began the following day in Philadelphia, at Independence National Historical Park. Both of us have been to Independence before, but we have enjoyed it so much in the past we decided to go again. We also had the goal of finding more Passport Stamps. First we lined up to see the Liberty Bell, and then headed off to tour Independence Hall. It’s pretty amazing to be able to tour the rooms where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were penned. It was also very entertaining to see so many children enjoying the site while searching for the answers to the questions they must obtain in order to get their Junior Ranger badge.
As we searched for all of the stamps incorporated into this large site, we were directed to the Customs Office, where we had to proceed through security and find a person who had the stamps on her desk. A bit interesting, but overall satisfying, knowing that we had a stamp that most do not.
Lunch was at Blackbird Pizza. Taking over the location of Gianna’s, Blackbird served up very tasty sandwiches. We had both the chickpea parm and the seitan cheesesteak. Both were wonderful. Even though we were stuffed, we still had to stop at Sweet Freedom Bakery. We bought cookie sandwiches, cupcake tops, fauxstess cupcakes and donuts – the donuts especially made for a great breakfast the following morning!
We then drove to Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. There is a huge mural of Poe on one of the buildings nearby, which I of course had to have my photo taken in front of! This is one of the homes that Poe and his family lived in the six years they were in Philadelphia. The inside of the house is stripped down to the layer from Poe’s time there, so it is a bit stark. Because it was occupied by other tenants afterwards, rangers are still working to try and figure out exactly what the rooms were used for and what was original to the house. It was fun to go down into the basement and imagine Poe writing “The Black Cat” based on that setting! The ranger that led our tour actually had us read the poem “Annabel Lee” while we stood in what was probably Poe’s bedroom. Very cool.
On our way out of Philadelphia, we made one more stop at a National Park Site – Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site. It is the oldest church building in Philadelphia, in use since 1700, and still in use today. It has an active congregation, but since we visited when no activities were going on, we were able to see inside the church and wander through the graveyard. It is a beautiful setting.