We had a quiet weekend in Freeland, Pennsylvania. On Friday morning we packed and headed back to the Appalachians after a week on the Jersey Shore. We stopped to get haircuts at shop in Toms River, New Jersey. The kids look so much older with their their new hairstyles. We then checked out the Franklin Institute, a museum dedicated to science education in Philadelphia. I highly recommend a visit, although you can skip all of the extras, like the IMAX and 3D theatres, and the flight simulators. All three attractions were quite dated and not worth the extra cost. The regular exhibitions and activities were excellent however and the kids could have stayed there all day. It was the perfect thing to do on a rainy day. We didn’t get much time to see the city and I do want to go back and explore a bit of the history of the city, especially see the Liberty Bell, the building where the Second Continental Congress met, and most importantly, recreate the training scene from the movie Rocky. The museum district is quite nice and I recommend Matt & Maria’s Italian Sandwich Shop, where we didn’t have the famous Philly Steak&Cheese sandwich, but we did have some gourmet sandwiches that really hit the spot.
The visit did make me reflect on the life of Ben Franklin. I can see why he is called the “First American”. He was such a tour de force of intellect, creativity, ambition, and service. His accomplishments and wide variety of interests are truly impressive. I got chills seeing one of the original lightning rods he designed and reading some of his original journals about electricity. He was also a great diplomat and politician. We are fortunate to have him as one of the Founding Fathers of our country and his personal characteristics helped forge the ideals of America.
We spent the rest of the weekend resting and spending time with extended family. I did take the kids for a hike in an old strip mine just outside of Freeland, near the “patch town” of Upper Lehigh. We climbed the giant ore pile nicknamed “Big Ben” and contemplated the legacy of the coal industry. The locals use the area for motorcycle and ATV riding and also as an illegal dump to avoid fees at a landfill.
This week we are finishing up with packing, doctor visits, and saying goodbye to family before heading out on Friday.