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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Philadelphia and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland Trip September 23 to October 3, 2009

(to viewall of the pictures we took on the trip click on: http://picasaweb.google.com/holtnotesrah/PennsylvaniaWashingtonAndBaltimoreTrip2009#l
Our trip started with a flight from Houston to Philadelphia. We were in Philadelphia from Wednesday to Friday having the opportunity to visit a number of historical sites, tour the US Mint, the Constitution museum, a tour of the city of Philadelphia on a Duck vehicle and we enjoyed great Philly cheese steak sandwiches, Pizza and a wonderful dinner at a Tavern well over 200 years old.

Rob, Susan, Connie and Henry in Philadelphia,

Independence Hall, the place where our Declaration of Independence was signed, the location where the United States was born and the place that served as our nations capital for the first few years.

Philadelphia is a wonderful city, full of historical sites and tours. Visiting this city gives you a deep appreciation for what the men who signed the Declaration of Independence did for all of us and how the document they wrote and signed has shaped our country and laid the foundation for what we are today.

While not to get too political here, our visit deepened our concern for the current administrations approach to policy and their approach to governing the people of the United States. Our fore fathers jeopardised their lives to ensure a foundation was laid for a country whose Constitution starts out as We the People, governed by the people for the people and not the Government or any one individual leader.

Philadelphia was the home of Benjamin Franklin. We toured the Franklin Museum and walked all around the neighborhood where he lived, worked and is buried. Unfortunately, his home and printing building is no longer there, however there is documentation that provides information as to the exact location of where the home and printing business were located.

The next three pictures is that of Christ Church where Benjamin Franklin and his family attended along with other Revolutionary Leaders. His in laws sat in pew 70 in the church and when he married he sat with the wife's family in this pew in the late 1700's

Christ United Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Known as "The Nation's Church" because of the famous Revolutionary-era leaders who worshiped here, Christ Church was founded in 1695. It was the first parish of the Church of England (Anglican) in Pennsylvania. It is also the birthplace of the American Episcopal Church

Pew 70 where Benjamin Franklin sat with his wife and in laws

The grave site of Benjamin Franklin, his wife and his in laws, Christ Church Burial ground.

Christ Church Burial Ground is one of America’s most important Colonial and Revolution-era graveyards, with 1,400 markers on two beautiful acres right in the heart of historic Philadelphia. Located three blocks from the Church, and just across the street from the Visitors' Center, the Burial Ground is the final resting place for some of our most prominent leaders including Benjamin Franklin and four other signers of the Declaration of Independence. (Picture is a sign next to the cemetery.)

We rented a car in Philadelphia on Friday and drove to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Amish Country. It is a short hour in a half drive and we arrived at our bed and breakfast, Flowers and Thyme around 5 pm. The countryside is very beautiful, rolling hills, pristine and well manicured farms all over the country side. I had seen pictures and television shows about this area; I never really grasped the beauty, much less the pride the Amish take in their properties.

We noticed that the major crop in this area is corn. We saw a number of farming activities while we were in Lancaster, County. A very rural area with a number of small towns most of which are populated by the Amish people.
Another Amish farm we saw while in Lancaster County.

You could hear the horse and buggy from far away as there is a distinct clip pity clop on the pavement. I was amazed at how quickly the horses could get around. We also saw a number of the Amish people walking and riding scooters (not motorized) and bicycles. I don't have any pictures, I honored their desire to not be photographed.

While we were in Lancaster, County, we toured an Amish Farm, rode in a horse and buggy through the country side, saw covered bridges, went to a canning factory and sampled many different relishes, pickles, canned eggs, beats, etc. and ate lunch at an Amish Fund Raising Benefit having the opportunity to visit with some of the families. This particular benefit was to collect money in case some of their Amish neighbors needed help with hospital bills Learned to make a pretzel at a pretzel factory, Susie and Connie viewed an Amish film while Henry and I went to a wine retail outlet where we enjoyed samples, ate dinner with an Amish family and just enjoyed the very laid back quiet of this part of our trip.

This is part of the Amish Farm that we toured, the tour lasted over an hour. We were able to get a real feel for their way of life.
While we saw a number of homes with clothes drying on the line, some Amish use propane appliances. No electricity is allowed, the reason is that they do not want to be tied to an electrical line not knowing where that line may supply energy to someone outside their faith.

My Pretzel on the left, Susie made the one on the

We left Lancaster County and drove to Hershey, Pennsylvania, a half hour away where we visited the Hershey theme park and took a theme ride that showed how many of the Hershey products are made, packaged and shipped. We drove through town and saw the many street lights that look like Hershey kisses.

Hershey Chocolate and Candy Factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey, Pennsylvania Street Light. Some of the lights were chocolate kisses unwrapped and other lights were the wrapped candy kisses.

From Hershey, Pennsylvania, we headed toward Virginia, our first stop in Virginia was a three and half hour drive to Luray, Virginia to spend the night in the Shenandoah Valley. We rented a cabin on the side of a mountain with a wonderful view. The cabin was very large and had all the conveniences of home. We bought steaks, corn, salad and dessert before we got there, breakfast foods were in the refrigerator. Henry grilled the steaks and we enjoyed sitting on the deck eating our great dinner.

After the sun went down, Connie and I observed how pretty the full moon was in the sky and we pointed it out to Susie and Henry, it was later that we realized that the moon was not full and that it wasn't a tree branch that blocked part of the moon. The moon wasn't full, we enjoyed a great laugh about all of the conversation we had about that beautiful full moon. Non the less, regardless of the moon, this was a very romantic spot. We sat by the fireplace that evening and enjoyed listening to music and relaxing.

Our cabin in the Shenandoah Valley near Luray, Virginia
View from the middle deck of the cabin, there were three decks, one off the lower bedroom, one off of the living area and the third off the 3rd floor bedroom loft.

Looking down from the loft bedroom to the living area, a great place to stay.

After a nice breakfast, cooked by Henry, we packed the car and headed for our next destination, the Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia.

The caverns are beautiful and claim to be the world's largest. This is really neat, the bottom is a mirror image of the top due to a crystal clear pool of water on the floor of the cave.

The tour took about an hour and was well worth the stop.

We left the Caverns and headed along Skyline Drive, Virginia to Charlottesville, Virginia. Skyline Drive is 105 miles long and connects to the Blue Ridge Parkway from the north. It took us three hours to make this drive, stopping at a number of overlooks to enjoy the beautiful views. The fall color had just started, the temperature was in the high 50s and low 60s a nice reprieve from our recent hot summer back home.

The views were awesome and the weather fantastic.
Henry, Connie, Rob and Susan along the Skyline Drive in Virginia.

We ended our drive near Charlottesville, Virginia. We spent the night in a house that was built in 1817 by James Dinsmore who was the master carpenter for Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. After a nice dinner, an evening in a beautiful room and a great breakfast the next morning we headed to tour Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson just a few miles down the road from Charlottesville.

Dinsmore House, built in 1817 across the street from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Left Susan and Rob and across the table Connie and Henry enjoying breakfast at the Dinsmore House.

After breakfast we checked out of the Dinsmore House and drove just a few miles to Monticello. This is truly an amazing place, the tour of the grounds and house took almost 3 hours. After the tour we ate lunch at Michals, Tavern just a few miles from Monticello. Lunch was a buffet and served by waitresses dressed in early 1800's clothing. The food was very good and we enjoyed eating in this old log cabin tavern. We left the Tavern and went to the Thomas Jefferson winery, a winery near Monticello located on land where Thomas Jefferson had grape vineyards. The wine is made and bottled under the Thomas Jefferson name.

Monticello home of Thomas Jefferson outside Charlottesville, Virginia

The working portion of Monticello, the ice house, cellar, kitchen etc. was housed below the house in this structure.

Michal's Tavern between Charlottesville and Monticello

We drove to Washington, D.C. where we stayed 3 days touring all of the landmarks, enjoying all of the beautiful scenery and we took a dinner cruise on the Potomac River. There was a lot of walking in this town. We utilized the mass transportation, the subway system is very clean, reasonably priced and proved to be the best mode of transportation while we were there. The weather was great and it was great to visit this historical city again. Being able to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier was just as moving this time, as it was when I saw the ceremony a number of years ago. Our hotel was very comfortable, we stayed in the Covention center district and it proved to be conveniently located for everything we did. We had tickets to tour the White House and United States Capital. We visited the US Mint, Connie and Henry visited the Supreme Court and I toured the Navy Museum and Susie and I toured the Spy Museum while Connie and Henry toured Ford's theater.

The Washington Monument, we rode an elevator to the top and the view of Washington was spectacular. I took the next pictures from the top of the monument.

The White House

The Lincoln Memorial in the background and the World War II Memorial in the foreground.

The Jefferson Memorial

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Cemetery.

On the next to the last day of our stay in Washington D.C. I walked over to the Navy memorial museum.

Lone Sailor Statue at the Naval Memorial Museum

Picture taken off the computer screen in the memorial, my personal page.

Our dinner cruise was very relaxing, the food and music was good and the view of the monuments at night was great.

The Spirit dinner cruise prior to boarding.

Sundown, right before we sailed for our dinner cruise.

The US Capital at night taken from aboard the Spirit during our dinner cruise.

On Friday afternoon we caught a shuttle from our hotel in Washington D.C., riding to Baltimore, Maryland. Our hotel was located on the Inner Harbor and we had great views of the harbor from our room. We enjoyed lunch at water side and walked around viewing the beautiful views of the ships in the harbor. That evening we enjoyed a fabulous crab dinner in the city and walked aroung the water front viewing the city lights and just playing tourist.

The USS Constelation docked on the water front with our hotel in the background.
Oh no, must be time to head home, Henry on the left, Connie on the right. Notice who is holding the sign and who the Old Crab must be. :)

We had a great time, the trip was very memorable and being with such great friends made it much more memorable.

The month of October is an extremely busy month for us, we will be home about four days all month. We ended the above trip the first week in October, immediately we headed to Temple, to celebrate our beautiful grandson Andy's first birthday, we had a family reunion on the San Marcos river where we enjoyed camping in the RV with Josh, Amy, Noah and Andy. The following weekend was my High School reunion which turned out to be a lot of fun and then I took the camper to Temple and came home for a couple of days. We leave for Temple again tomorrow for Halloween and celebrating Josh's birthday

We are enjoying ourselves, dont know how I ever found time to work.


Amy Jo:) said...

WOW Dad!!! I loved this post! Your pictures are spectacular! I especially loved the Hershey's light posts, your amazing views from your cabin and the crab photo of Henry and Connie - hilarious!!!

I really want to see the rest of your photos!!!

I love you lots!

Jim said...

Rob, great pictures first time I have had the time to really look at them all .We will target halibut next time for sure. I am off to sportsman shows next week.
James Phillips
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