Sunday, March 31, 2013

Washington DC Trip - Day 1/2

Good morning and Happy Easter from the I travel from Philadelphia to Gettysburg. I am one of  6 chaperones who have traveled from California to the East Coast with forty 8th graders from my younger son's middle school for the annual Washington DC trip.  I did this with my older son 3 years ago and was very excited to do it again. it goes the official blog of the trip.

Day 1 - Good Friday, March 29, 2013
At 7:30pm we ascend on Fallon Middle school with suitcase and backpacks with snacks in hand to board the bus that will take us to SFO for our 11:10pm "red eye" out to Philadelphia. All 40 kids say "good-bye" to their parents as the flash bulbs flash with last minute pictures.

Excited kids enter the bus as they are ready for their 6 day journey - a trip back in time...a trip filled with history...time with make memories that will last a life time.

We arrived at the airport and experienced awesome service from VirginAmerica Airlines - checking bags went smoothly!

Once the bags are checked in and the groups makes it through security without any problems, there is adequate time to check out the airport food opportunities before we depart. It also provides everyone with great opportunity to charge all those electronics before boarding.
Last minute to charge all those electronics before boarding the 5 hour "red eye"...although shouldn't they think about sleep?????
 I can't say that everyone...or anyone really got much sleep on the flight. The seats were just not comfortable and many weren't very comfortable leaning their heads on their neighbor's shoulders, but I know that there were some who did get a little zzzzzz's before we landed in Philadelphia at 7:25am on Saturday morning.

Saturday, March 30, 2013 - Philadelphia
We landed a little early at the Philadelphia airport and everyone received their luggage! Yahoo!
Our tour guide, Jeff, introducing himself to the group and laying down the guidelines and rules of the  week.
Once everyone had their suitcases, we met up with out tour guide who would be with us for our week long journey into history. Jeff introduced himself to us all and then let us know the guidelines/rules for the week ahead. After which, he lead us to the bus and introduced us to our bus driver Joe. And then we set off....Running....

First stop: Breakfast at the Hard Rock Cafe. The restaurant opened their doors just to our group and served a decent breakfast buffet. All tired kids filled their fuel tanks with eggs, french toast sticks, bacon, mixed fruit, and mini muffins. Now energized, let the touring begin!

Off to Independence Hall we went! Independence Hall was the first capital of the New World, it later moved to Washington DC. Many important historical things happend here: (1) we debated whether or not to go to war (Revolutionary War), (2) Writing of the Constitution...just to name a few

Liberty Hall

The group in front of Liberty Hall (sorry about the finger in the left hand corner)

Listening to our tour guide Jeff, about all the buildings that make up the square near Liberty
Philosophical Hall, which is the oldest club for educated/smart people (National Philosophical Society) like Einstein, Nobel Prize winners. Founded by Ben Franklin. Holdes many famous papers written by Franklin and Lewis.
Congress Hall - 1st Continental Congress; Pennsylvania State House; Building all original. 
 Inside Independence Hall we toured 3 different rooms:
Court Room
The Court Room - the picture of the coat of arms is original to this room. Other items in this room are period pieces.

The Assembly Room - here is where the Declaration of Independence was debated. Did you know that the  Declaration was not signed on July 4, was actually signed on August 2, 1776! There were a couple of items in the room that were original to the the chair in the back which George Washington actually sat in. How cool is that?
Other rooms and sights around Liberty Hall...

On the table in this room is a surveying tool called a Transit - this was the actual one that was used to survey the Mason-Dixon Line

After the tour of Liberty Hall, we joined hundreds in line to see the Liberty Bell...
The "front" of the Liberty Bell...the side with the crack. Unfortunately, due to the direction of the sunlight it was hard to get a photo of.
The "back" of the Liberty Bell...the side that didn't crack.
After a quick lunch at the Bourse Building, which consisted of the kids receiving a $10 voucher for the food court, we headed off on a little walking tour of the city. We learned a lot about Ben Franklin, saw where his house once stood and building where his printing press business once was. Inside the printing press building, we got an education about how a printing press works.
We even went to the church and grave site where Mr. Franklin was buried...and got to honor him by throwing a penny on his grave.

 The walking tour also took us to the oldest neighborhood in Philly - Elfreth's Alley. A long, narrow cobble stone street with rows of "row" houses.

From Elfreth's Alley, we stopped by Betsy Ross' House...

After the walking tour, we went to the National Constitution Center and learned all about how our Constitution developed and debated throughout the history of time. It is an amazing museum!
Matthew hanging out with several of the Constitutional signers
And what is a trip to Philadelphia without the run up the "Rocky Balboa" steps? The steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The group of "Rockys" that made up of the stairs by running!
The view of the city from atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art 

The Rocky stature on the grounds of the Art Museum (those people in the photo...they are not part of our group).
Late in the evening, with all of us tired and feet aching, we decided best to finish the tour by bus. Here we drive by the building with the William Penn stature on top.
After our driving tour was over, it was time for a very delicious dinner at Positano Coast. All the kids enjoyed a warm french bread, a caesar salad and a choice of cheese tortellini or Chicken Parm....and chocolate mousse  for dessert. YUM!

The day isn't over yet...before our final destination of the night (the hotel) we stopped for a Comedy Show called: History...Done Funny. It was hilarious, to say the least (it was "pee in your pants" kind of funny). All the history that we learned about this day - the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Ben Franklin, etc was told with a humorous twist and got many of our kids involved! What a wonderful way to review the day!

After the show, it was time to check into the hotel and go to bed. Boy, that bed never felt so good and the phrase "Lights Out" never sounded better!

Well that is the end of our first day on tour. Hope you enjoyed reading about it.

Until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

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