Mar 28 2008

Spring Break

What a wonderful Spring Break I have had. Chris and I drove up the coast on a history geek tour through Gettysburg, PA, through Amish country (outside of Lancaster) and then into Philadelphia, where we saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. I can’t deny that one of my favorite things about moving to the east coast has been being close to where things actually happened. Like, history things. In California, even the oldest standing buildings you are run across while just wandering around a city are still decidedly 20th century.

In Gettysburg, on the other hand, we stayed here:

Farnsworth House

That is the Farnsworth House, built in 1810. Along the side of the house where we stayed there are over 100 bullet holes from the Battle of Gettysburg.
Sharp shooter bullet holes

See, bullet holes! (A Confederate sharp shooter was holed up in the attic of the house for two days!)

The batlefield was beautiful and we had a really excellent tours of both it and the town. I now have a very visceral understanding of why Little Round Top was so difficult to take:

Little Round Top

Thats why.

The monuments were at times hilarious and at times poingnant. On the hilarious side:


Our guide did NOT get why I found this funny, but there is a guy being run over by a cannon … IN BRONZE! Why, oh why would you put that on a monument?

Leaving Gettysburg, we drove through Lancaster, PA through Amish country. It was extremely fascinating to see how intermingled the Amish community was with the “outside world.” We drove by a one room school house (the children were all outside playing kickball) and by many a man using his horse drawn plow (John Deere… some things are universal). I didn’t take too many pictures here, because it felt kind of weird and disrespectful to take pictures of people as they went about their daily business. I did, however, feel the need of photographic proof that, on your way to the town of Intercourse, PA you mght indeed drive through Blue Ball.

Blue Ball

Hee. Am twelve.

We spent the last few days of our trip in Philadelphia. I have never been to the city before and, even though the day was rainy and dreary, we had a blast visting all of the historical sights. We saw:

The U.S. Mint. They won’t let you take pictures inside, but we saw big rolls of metal being stretched out, ready to be stamped into dime blanks. So neat.


The First National Bank, which I spend so much painful time discussing in my U.S. History cass that I felt I should get some sort of first hand VIP tour of the building. But noooo…


The National Constitution Center’s Hall of Delegates (where we got to “sign” the “Constitution”)

Pennsylvania delegation
The delegation from Pennsylvania welcomes you. Won’t you have a seat?

And Independance Hall, where the Declaration of Independance and Constitution were debated over and signed.

Independance Hall

(Inside the room where the Continental Congresses met)

Signers Room

I have a lot more pictures, but I am (understandably, I think) hesitant about posting them online. For those of you who know me IRL they’ll be popping up in my flickr account within the next week or so.
It was such an amazing trip all around. We saw so many things that made me feel the full wonder of where I was standing and of the weight of the history that I teach about every day. I feel almost rejuvanated and energized about teaching the rest of my curriculum (for the 6th time!) and pushing onward to June.

One Response

  1. admin

    Fascinating stuff, thanks for sharing.

    -John, TeachFor.Us server geek and biggest fan

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