Independent Views

With summer comes the heat, busy beaches and signals of vacation. It is no different for me. Where do Floridians vacation? We head north! This year my travels took me to new places – Philadelphia, New Haven, Newport and Boston, which were all lovely…in the summertime.

My first stop was Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, home to the famous Ben Franklin (seen below in a bust made of keys and operating a printing press) and a city full of art and history.

I got to see where the Declaration of Independence was signed, the chair where George Washington sat, the Liberty Bell (which is much smaller than you would imagine) and the U.S. Mint where coins (among other things) are made.

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The 4th of July was the perfect time to be in this historic city to take in all the tourist sites and some of the fun sculptures throughout the city. Have you ever seen life size game pieces from Sorry!, Monopoly and Dominos? Well, I have and it was so much fun to feel like I stepped into my favorite childhood games.

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The Love statue did not disappoint, other than again being smaller than I pictured. I spotted newly married couples posing and kids frolicking in the nearby pond. Summer love in the city, is there anything better?

Speaking of LOVE, I love architecture and Philadelphia did not disappoint. City Hall was my favorite. From every angle, it was a delight with its intricate details and carvings. Out of place in a city that has grown up around it, but that is one of its great charms.

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A happy surprise while visiting the National Constitution Center, was that I spied a copy of President Obama’s Inauguration Invitation and Program. Yay! So great, but part of me can’t help but wish it had a little more personality to fit the First Family. If he is re-elected, maybe he will consult me.

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An interesting bit of information that I discovered while in Philly, was that it is the basis for the game Monopoly (though Wikipedia states it is nearly an hour away in Atlantic City). Whatever the case, I enjoyed the ideas presented.

My hotel was right around the corner from Reading (pronounced redding) Market with a delightful selections of every possible type of food you would want…including Flying Monkey. It is a bakery that I was aware of because of its awesome logo, but thoroughly enjoyed the creamsicle cupcake too. Yum!

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Back to Monopoly, on my double decker bus trip around the city, I spied Pennsylvania Railroad station, the Eastern State Penitentiary (jail), the Waterworks (now a restaurant) and other places that now escape me. But if nothing else, it was a childhood dream come true and a pretty interesting spot to kick off my vacation.

On my way to Boston, I cruised past New Haven, Connecticut to see Yale University. Let me just say for any of you Gilmore Girls fans, Rory chose wisely. On my trip, I also visited Harvard and it paled in comparison to Yale on all fronts that I could see in my brief visits.

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The library was beautiful. There is a room filled with old card catalog files, now empty, but not forgotten. It was a sleepy morning in this little town, but I felt wiser just being there.

Last stop on my way to Boston was Newport, Rhode Island – home to many summer “cottages” of the Vanderbilt family. I say cottage because that is what they called them, but in reality one of the homes I toured was over 100,000 square feet. That is a summer retreat! Enjoy the eye candy!

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Boston, Massachusetts was my last stop on the road trip…another great city with a long history and significance. It is definitely a rich city and despite rumors, I found the locals to be quite nice. I only wish I could have met up with my local clients, but that is what I get for traveling on a holiday week.

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Again, I did all the touristy things like the Duck and Trolley tours, visited the U.S.S. Constitution, rode to
the 50th floor of the Prudential Center for the sweeping views of Boston from above and of course, enjoyed the city’s architecture.

One of the delights of the trip was the interior and courtyard of the Boston Public Library. In very small print in one of the travel guides mentioned the library, but because there was not a lot of talk of it elsewhere, I almost skipped, but I’m so glad I squeezed it into my last day there. Incredible is the only word that comes to mind.

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Who can make a trip to Boston without visiting Fenway Park, the oldest American baseball stadium. While it was a sight to be seen, I’m a Cubs fan from way back and nothing quite compares to Wrigley Field, in my humble opinion.

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I’m also a sucker for a good park and the Public Garden did not disappoint. I just followed the ducks to the pond surrounded by weeping willows, where I sat and enjoyed the summer sun and the shady relief the trees provided.

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My last day in Boston was rainy, which was a perfect time to head to Salem. While I found the town more kitschy than I expected, I did come across some fun signage, logos and witch themed tourist attractions (Salem Witch Museum, House of Seven Gables, etc.) not to be missed.

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Luckily, I didn’t encounter any ghosts (that I know of), but while jam-packed and not restful, I certainly made the most of my week in the north! Next year, international road trip here I come!


     

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