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A final history and food exploration day with Jennie and Joshua

Declaration of Independence

“We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” - Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence and 3rd president of the United States


October 22, 2003

It seems we accomplished a lot on this day. We would be taking Jennie back to JFK Airport this evening, but before we left we wanted to get in some sightseeing in historic Philadelphia. Jennie, Joshua and I covered Independence National Historical Park in a matter of a couple hours.

We watched the 20 minute movie, “The History Channel’s Choosing Sides: Young Voices on the Revolution” at the Independence Visitor Center. It tells the story of four teenagers who lived in Philadelphia at the time of the American Revolution along with their differing opinions and experiences. Not all supported the American Revolution.

Independence National Historical Park covers much of the historic area of downtown, including dozens of historic buildings and educational centers. The most notable of these are perhaps Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Center.

Independence Hall is considered the birthplace of the United States. The Independence Hall building, completed in 1753, started out as the Pennsylvania State House for the Province of Pennsylvania. It is known primarily as the place that the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were debated, adopted and signed. In the late 1700’s until 1800, the building served as the US Capitol Building until the nation’s capital was moved to Washington, D.C., in 1800. Today you can explore this building, but not on your own. For free, you can take a guided tour of the rooms where these events and more took place. Guided tours leave every 15 minutes between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Independence Hall in the 1770's
Independence Hall in the 1770's

Presentation of the Declaration of Independence to Congress
Presentation of the Declaration of Independence
to Congress

The Liberty Bell is one of the most prominent symbols of the American Revolutionary War. Tradition says that the bell was rung on July 8, 1776, to summon the citizens of Philadelphia for a reading of the Declaration of Independence. The bell was ordered in 1745 for use in the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall. It remained there most of the time until 1885. From 1885 to 1915, it traveled to numerous cities and was displayed at expositions and world's fairs. In the 1930’s, it was determined that moving the bell from place to place was too risky, and the practice was ended. On January 1, 1976, the beginning of the bicentennial year of American independence, the Liberty Bell was moved from Independence Hall to a glass pavilion one block north. On October 9, 2003, it was moved to the larger glass pavilion where it now sits.

Liberty Bell
Inscription on Liberty Bell:

"Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof Lev. XXV X

By Order of the ASSEMBLY of the Province of PENSYLVANIA for the State House in Philada

Pass and Stow



We were a bit hungry after walking these historic sites. I could have settled for one of those tasty soft pretzels that can be found on the streets of Philadelphia. Joshua wanted something more than that, so we ended up at a large mall called The Gallery, which is located adjacent to the historic sites that we explored and is accessible from all of the region’s major bus and rail lines. Joshua obtained his lunch from Taco Bell and Jennie obtained hers from Kentucky Fried Chicken. I thought to myself that I could eat from those chain restaurants anytime. So I chose Boardwalk Fries, another restaurant chain unknown to us from the West. You know me, I like seafood. So I had the largest lightly coated pieces of fish (Flounder) and pile of fries I think I had ever eaten, and yet for a normal sized price.

In the late afternoon, it was time to take Jennie and Joshua to JFK airport where they would stay in a hotel overnight so that they could take their early morning flight. Teresa joined us for this two hour or so drive. Jennie and Joshua checked in to their hotel and then we decided we were hungry and wanted to have one last meal together.

Map of Philadelphia and JFK area

We explored southeast on Rockaway Boulevard, a busy thoroughfare. We saw McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Burlington Coat Factory. But I wanted something different and hoped to get away from this busy eating and shopping area. We drove for a few more miles and on the right side of the road, we spotted a somewhat isolated old style diner type restaurant on the right side of the road. We speculated whether we would risk going inside. Teresa noted numerous cars parked at the restaurant. To her, this seemed to indicate that the restaurant is popular and a great place to eat. The restaurant was Sherwood Diner and Teresa was right. The cost was slightly more than what you might expect from a restaurant like Denny’s. The waitress brought to our table a breadbasket piled high with a variety of breads and crackers, including bread mouth-wateringly smothered in garlic and butter contrasting with a sweet bread. The restaurant also brought flavorsome appetizers of macaroni salad and coleslaw uniquely Sherwood Diner style. We each ordered our main dish and I chose a sautéed seafood combo over linguine with sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, shrimp, scallops, calamari all smothered in a cream style sauce. And a drink and dessert all came included for the same low price. It was more than I could possibly eat, and I am always one that cleans my plate. We were quite impressed and were delighted with this choice. I wondered to myself what other great restaurants I might find in my travels.

We then drove with our full stomachs back to the neighborhood of JFK airport where we said our goodbyes and dropped Jennie and Joshua off at the airport. I still had a few more days in the Northeast, so what would I do?

Coffee Seafood Sundae


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