Betsy Ross + Ben Franklin = Love

So we just heard that Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin impersonators in Philly got married... how cute is that?

Today was a historic whirlwind of Revolutionary America, and I'd loved it. I'm so glad my husband loves historical stuff as much as I do. I'd much rather go to a museum than a bar, so we're perfect travel buddies. We saw most of what the historic district had to offer (except the Liberty Bell b/c I've already been there... Eric will go back later this week) and walked a LOT.

The Reading Terminal Market is a huge indoor food market with lots of fresh goods and fish heads and produce and baked items. We ate at a Rib stand run by an Amish woman (Amish from nearby Lancaster county sell a lot of goods in the market). It was so fun to walk around and see all the tasty, colorful items.

Betsy Ross' house was high on my list, as last time I visited Philly I only saw the outside. The twice-widowed upholstery craftswoman famous for designing the American flag (a historical story with some poetic license) rented this home with another family in her time. She was quite the rebel, making musket balls in her basement, and being read out of the Free Quaker meeting for marrying an Anglican. A Ross impersonator told us she talked George Washington out of six-pointed stars because she could cut five pointed stars with one snip of her scissors (she demonstrated on paper).

Onto Elfreth's Alley, the oldest continually residential street in the country. This was so cool! Row houses line the narrow, cobblestone alley and keep with historical guidelines. For the low, low price of $410,000 (actually way cheaper than I expected), you too could own the only house currently for sale on Elfreth's.

We gave up sugar for Lent, but saved up our Sabbath's to use here. I'm still learning the orthodoxy of the Lenten period, so I'm pretty sure we're not doing it right, but we'll still fast for a total of 40 days so it counts in my book. Anyway, we had to try a sundae at the Franklin Fountain, an old-timey soda shop/ice cream parlor that also sells clear toy candy popular in the Revolutionary period. We had a major sugar crash after that!

Christ Church Cathedral, a still-functioning Anglican church where George Washington, Ben Franklin, William Penn, and others worshiped, offers talks so we got to hear all about it. The curator was excited to tell us all kinds of trivia, which made Eric happy. The clear glass (instead of stained glass) represented Enlightenment-era ideals of being able to clearly see the world and be connected to nature. Also, the church has only had 9 priests, though it hasn't missed services in over 314 years. The curator pointed out that we are only the 11th generation of Americans. Pretty crazy, relatively speaking.

Next, we visited the Constitution Center, which has an amazing presentation called "Freedom Rising" that's part dramatic monologue, part interactive film. The "America I Am: The African American Imprint" exhibition was great, looking at the impact of blacks on American history from slavery to the present. The exhibit began with a quote from W.E.B. Dubois explaining that we can't forget our history's darker parts (like slavery and discrimination). It was quite a moving experience.

Old City nearby seemed to be the best place to eat dinner... it's kind of the Montrose of Philly, only surrounded by historical markers. But it's still the northeast, and therefore out of our budget (valet parking is $18! i complain about free valet b/c it will cost me to tip). We ended up in Chinatown at a Vietnamese Pho restaurant, where we ate some delicious (and cheap) vermicelli.

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