We awoke this Saturday morning to find the huge car park here at Woodcrest rail station almost completely empty, evidence that it is used primarily by Monday to Friday city workers. Once we were ready we set out again on our train ride in to ‘Philly’. Our first visit was to the Liberty Bell building to get another couple of photographs. That done we worked our way through a short list of the outstanding attractions we wanted to see on this, our second and last day in the city. First was the Benjamin Franklin Post Office, which was the first post office in the United States. Here we posted off a couple of postcards bearing this Post Office’s unique frank, followed by a look at what little remains of Franklin’s house and the modern museum, both behind the post office. Franklin is also the first American credited with having invented a musical instrument, the Glass Armonica, an example of which is in the museum. The inspiration came after seeing a line of wine glasses partly filled with liquid being used to make musical sounds.
All this culture was making us hungry and so we had lunch – Philly Cheese Steaks for us both.
The Chef then wanted to return to the United States Mint to check her list of quarter coins minted for each state. We had only found out about these at the end of our last trip. Starting in 1999 the Mint produced quarter coins for 5 states each year. This year is the final year to complete the set. She’s been busy checking all the quarter coins we get in our change and collects those needed; she’s done well and only requires about 6 more for the set.
After a walk of about two blocks we arrived back at the Mint only to find it closed. Either they only open five days a week or the security guard had an appointment at the opticians. Never mind it gave us the opportunity to walk off our lunch.
Next was a walk across a bridge spanning the Delaware River to the Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing, www.phillyseaport.org by now the weather was glorious and sitting by the river was very relaxing. I did hope to visit the battleship USS New Jersey www.battleshipnewjersey.org moored on the other side of the river in New Jersey State, but the entrance fee was a bit steep for two of us with the clincher being that the ferry to the other side had stopped running due to it being the end of the season. I settled for a visit on board USS Olympia a cruiser launched in 1892, and USS Becuna a submarine launched in 1944 and which served until something like 1969 following modification in 1951. The Chef wasn’t fussed about joining me, thus halving the costs and instead soaked up some sunshine waiting for me.
After this interesting visit and having walked past the First Bank of America we went to the second bank which now has a portrait gallery in it. The purpose of our visit was to attend a presentation on ‘Slavery & the Underground Railway’; as it turned out we were the only two in the audience and found it very interesting, and according to our Ranger, more interesting than those who arrive expecting a presentation on underground trains.
By now time was getting on and I was keen to move on to our next location this evening which would give us a fresh and early start there in the morning. So we treated ourselves to a couple of Dunkin Donuts before boarding the train back to the RV waiting for us in the huge railway station car park at Cherry Hill. Once home we sat and ate our doughnuts with a coffee.
At about 17:30 we set out for Lancaster about 90 miles away and the centre for the local Amish community. It took a long time to get the trip completed as there was a ‘rush hour’, presumably of people who had spent the past 5 days queuing up in traffic jams to get home after work, and were now doing the same thing on a Saturday to get home after shopping.
Eventually we passed along Lincoln Highway running through Lancaster. By now it was dark and about all we could see was a mass of car headlights and neon signs, nothing like we imagined, and we were already taking a dislike to the very touristy look of the place. We refuelled then made our way the short distance to the local branch of Wal-Mart. After popping in for some shopping we parked up for the night.
LOCATION TONIGHT: Wal-Mart Super, 2034 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, PA 17602 (GPS: N40.031142 W76.241856).