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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Two More Stops in Philadelphia

I couldn't go to Philadelphia and not have a Philly cheesesteak for lunch.  I had been looking forward to this even more than to my (excellent) Grinder in Connecticut.  We had been advised by some local experts that the best cheesesteak would be found at Tony Luke's so we headed over there after finishing at Independence Park.  It's easy to know you are close, even from the freeway.

Tony has an all-weather counter on the sidewalk.

Inside there was a good sized crowd picking up their sandwiches.  There is one window for ordering and another for pickup.
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Here's the final result which was really disappointing.  Lots of beef, cheese and onions but very little flavor.  I was expecting something more along the lines of an original Mayslack's garlic roast beef.

Our final stop on the way out of town toward the northwest was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Not to see any paintings, just to see the stairs.  These are the stairs that Rocky made famous.

With that accomplished, we could move on to our next state capitol.

Philadelphia, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell

We packed up and headed into Philadelphia to join the other tourists on Friday morning.  We were going to have to improve our pace to make it back home on Sunday.

Philadelphia has an attractive skyline, even if it is only seen through the windshield  from one of the high points on I-95 as you approach the city.

And the several bridges are equally nice to view.  This one is the Benjamin Franklin over the Delaware as we reached downtown.

We were headed for Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.  $16 bought a nice parking spot in the garage under the visitors center.  We emerged topside to find our destination.
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To manage the crowds, free entry tickets for scheduled tour times are required.  We had a bit over an hour to wait, so we got in the line for the Liberty Bell.  The line moved pretty quickly and it was interesting to see so many international tourists in line for this World Heritage Sight.
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Inside, people were pretty good about giving the children a good chance for a picture of the bell.

I took what I thought was a nice picture of the bell using the natural light coming in through the windows.  Then Linda gently reminded me that the reason everyone was photographing the other side was because of the crack in it!
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Back at Independence Hall, we soon were admitted for an interesting live presentation on the hall and events that took place there.  The presentation starts out in front of a four-foot by six-foot painting of George Washington presiding over the signing of the Constitution.

It appears that this event had never been represented in a painting until Louis S. Glanzman did so for a commission by the Daughters of the American Revolution for the 1976 bicentennial celebration.  Perhaps we should take a closer look.

There is quite a bit of history buried in the painting.  Go here for "the rest of the story."

The National Park Service is fortunate to have enthusiastic "rangers" with a good history background available for this duty.

The tour concludes in the signing room and it is interesting to imagine that you are there with George Washington and the other signers.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Baltimore, Maryland

Well, my morning loop through Dover and Annapolis with the afternoon spent back in Philadelphia wasn't working out. It was dinner time and we were hungry. We cast about on the Internet for places in Baltimore and came up with one on the inner harbor called the Rusty Scupper. My mind harkened back to Minnesota Viking Tommy Kramer and the 1970s.  Urban Spoon and others mostly gave it good marks for the view with average food and high prices, but it was Linda's birthday so why not try it out.

The view as sunset approached was, indeed, teriffic.  By the time we arrived, many patrons were leaving for a game at the nearby Camden Yards and we had a great table.
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After dinner, the harbor view was still a treat but we had that drive back to Philadelphia.  I-95 is no fun at night during construction season.  Narrow lanes, lot of trucks and lane closures.  But the loop through Delmarva was worth it.


More Annapolis

The small park surrounding the Capitol building has several historic monuments.  We took a look at this Methodist memorial.

Many of the surrounding buildings are pretty including a couple of the streets leading down from the hilltop.
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We also drove down to the harbor where there were quite a variety of boats and drinking establishments.
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The Navy Academy is located right here on the water and we saw a few cadets out jogging.

Maryland State Capitol - Annapolis

Our trip to Dover had taken us out onto that "dangly" peninsula that contains Delaware and a chunk of Maryland.  I had no idea that it had a name until I began searching for links for this post.  Wikipedia even has an entry for "Delmarva Peninsula."  From that source:
The culture on Delmarva is starkly different from the rest of the Mid-Atlantic and is much like that of the Southern United States. Many Delmarva counties are much more Conservative than the "mainland" counties of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

Delmarva is driven by agriculture and commercial fishing. Most of the land is rural and there are but a few large population centers. Many local restaurants serve southern cuisine such as sweet tea and dishes including or composed entirely of greens in addition to menus heavy with fried food
Well, I did notice the prevalence of "sweet tea."  Here are some map references to help you get oriented.
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The road from Dover to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge passes through some Amish farm country.  I suppose those folks would also count as "conservative." 

Soon after crossing the bay bridge, we saw a sign welcoming us to Maryland's capital.
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The State House is visible from quite a distance and sits on top of a hill.
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There is a Thurgood Marshall monument near the capitol and I think the picture of the building looks very good with Justice Marshall included.
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It's another of those capitols that requires a trip to the side to capture the dome.
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Both the senate and the house chambers were open to the public.
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And that sign said something about Washington resigning his commission here, didn't it?
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There will be no lobbying down this hallway.

But this group has a very nice building across the street and probably lobbies a lot.

Here's the governor's mansion.

The First Lady has a garden but we didn't see her doing any work on it.
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