February 25, 2014 (Tuesday)
Woke up to grey skies and snow flurries. The snow flurries kept up during the day. Really fluffy and big flakes. We were up and out by 10:00 AM. Destination – Philadelphia. The drive to Philadelphia was approximately 60 miles and took a little over an hour. Lots and lots of tolls, again. Very confusing as to when and where the toll roads are but…we’re learning.
We got into Philadelphia but the GPS took us to the wrong place and we ended up in a not so nice area with lots of police presence. Also, lots and lots of graffiti, some of which was lovely. Looked to us like they were getting ready to tear down many of the buildings that had all the graffiti on them.
We finally got to the address we wanted – the Benjamin Franklin Institute. As we drove by we saw school buses parked in front (not a good sign for us). When we finally parked and walked into the lobby, all you could hear were the kids having a good time and being loud. Didn’t really appeal to us but we did go into the shop and bought a couple of things (after waiting in line with the kids). Michael and I have decided that when we go to live in New York City, we want to spend at least two weeks in Philadelphia. So much history here.
We drove down to our next place – the Liberty Bell. Last time I saw the Liberty Bell was with my mother in 1975. Back then we were allowed to touch it; now it’s indoors and you aren’t able to feel it. It is still beautiful and they have it in a lovely setting. We went out the door near the Liberty Bell and walked across the street to Independence Hall. They have tours every half hour or so and the tour had just left. We had to be back to our car before we got a ticket so we opted to put that on the list for when we come here to stay for awhile. We left Independence Hall and walked across a very old cobbled street to see the statue of “The Signer” and what that meant for everyone in the United States. Quite beautiful. We had just enough time to stop and get a Philly cheese steak sandwich (split three ways), and then walk to see some more statues, one of which was Jonathan Netanyahu, hero of the Enteebee raid in 1976.
We got back to our car and put in the destination for the U.S. Mint. The GPS said it was just in the next block. We put more money in the machine and headed that way (Lexi wanted to stay with the car). On our block walk, we happened upon the cemetery where Benjamin Franklin was buried, and then happened upon his grave. We had no idea and just lucked out. The Mint was fascinating to me. I wanted to sneak and take pictures so bad but was afraid of the security aspect. When you enter, you have to go through a security screening (like in an airport but you can leave your shoes on). In the lobby – they had the most beautiful Tiffany glass mosaics based on murals that were uncovered in Pompeii. From the lobby, you take the escalator up to the next level of things to see, then up another level to where the actual making of the coins can be viewed through windows looking down. In between the windows they had more information and hands-on type things. Could not believe how much money they pump out in a day, just in that one Mint. Loved it.
After the Mint, it was time to head to New Berlin for our dinner meeting with Beth and John. Beth and John have been wonderful in heading us in the right direction for food stuff. They got us addicted to Duck Donuts, the Big Dipper in Missoula, Montana, and Becco in New York City. Home runs every time. She had recommended Los Amigos and we knew it would be good. We had time to kill before our 5:30 PM meeting, so we went to Old Navy and Lexi got a new pair of pants. We also got some gas.
We got to Los Amigos in plenty of time to order margaritas for Lexi and I, and an iced tea for Michael (he was the designated driver). When Beth and John arrived, we all felt like we knew them for years. Such nice people. Cute couple. They love to travel but are both working. They still manage to travel quite a bit. We shared stories and great deals we’ve all gotten. Love hearing how to stretch the dollar. She had several good suggestions that I’m going to try and will let you know about (if I can figure them out). They also get to go on their hotel points. Because we use SkyAuction, Priceline, or discounters of that type, we don’t get to use the points. Bummer. They had some wonderful deals. We had such a nice evening and hope to see them again in June. Could have talked so much longer but they both have to work (for now). They are planning a trip to San Francisco, and are staying in Carmel for a few days. We hope they have enough time in their schedule for a visit.
We are now on our way home. Michael was so sweet to put his computer in the car so I could be typing out the blog while he drove home.
That was our fun day. Hope yours was great!
P.S. I googled Philadelphia + Tiffany + Mint and hit images and got:
If you copy and paste in your address bar you can see the Tiffany art.