I’m Back From My New York City Vacation

liberty Bell, Cracked/sara lauderdale/flickr

Liberty Bell, Cracked

Hi Friends,

I am back from vacation and I’d like to share some of the fun. For our tour of NYC we left early Friday morning, catching the bus about an hour from our house. I quickly discovered how to get the best seat in the bus. Just get a bad case of motion sickness. After that the whole group allowed me to sit in the front behind the driver. I got to see everything from the prime seats.

On our way to New York City we stopped half way in Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell. It was a bit of a nostalgic trip for my husband, who had been in a sit-in there in 1965. The purpose of the sit-in was to show support for the civil rights demonstrators who at that time were being attacked by police in Selma, Alabama.  He remembered the bell being on a raised platform, in a very plain, small building. Today it is surrounded by an elaborate complex of buildings, offering a multitude of exhibits, souvenirs, and opportunities for tourists to spend money. The bell itself is at the end of a long hall that is full of glassed-in posters, paintings, and photos. Before you get to the Bell, you see a short movie about its history. The movie actually does mention the sit-in. It shows a blurry picture of it, in which you can make out the 1960’s hair styles of the people but not their faces; then it cuts to the iconic “I Have a Dream Speech” – which had actually taken place a couple of years before – but it does get the message across: Liberty should be for everybody, not just for the white men who first proclaimed it.

It was cold and rainy – which my husband assures me is typical of spring in Philadelphia – so we continued our browsing on the inside of the building complex. We saw people dressed in costumes of 1776; heard hammer dulcimer music; and saw two films about the revolutionary war and independence. In one of the films, Benjamin Franklin came back as a ghost, got together with the ghosts of George Washington and Tom Paine, and explained to us that it is up to us to keep democracy alive. The other film showed a few ordinary men and women as they decided to take sides – for the Revolution, against it, or somewhere in between. No mention of slavery in the movies, but it was prominently mentioned in the exhibits. Did you know that two of George Washington’s slaves escaped to freedom when he was in Philadelphia? He tried to get them back, but even though he was one of the most powerful men in the country, he couldn’t.

I guess that is a tribute to the spirit of Liberty.

This was co authored by my husb. If you liked this article I invite you to subscribe to my blog by clicking on the subscribe button on the top right in the side bar above my photo. I will tell you about my visit to New York City in my next post.


About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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16 Responses to I’m Back From My New York City Vacation

  1. sounds excellent and worth the post space. thank u for sharing.


  2. Nicely done. Sorry to hear about the motion sickness but glad you got a good seat. The reminder that it’s up to us to preserve democracy is timeless.


  3. Ah, the Liberty Bell. What a fond memory you bring back.

    I, too, visited that bell back in the day when it lived in the very small building out, apart from everything else. I guess we (or rather those societies that protect such things) had a lot to learn then, because the bell was open to the air and to the touch. I was able to lay hands on the bell–and while this was probably not appreciated by the docent, I was in uniform at the time. Actually, the thought came to me that with a lucky dollar (silver dollar I carried back then) I could have actually struck the bell, making it ring for all in the room.

    I don’t recall why I didn’t do it.

    I do remember this: placing my hands upon something that had been molded, moved… touched by so many famous and historical people gave me a chill. I’ve (clearly) never forgotten.

    Thanks so much for posting this!


    • clarbojahn says:

      I can just imagine the ruckus you would have caused if you had struck the bell with your lucky silver dollar. hehe
      I’m glad my post brought forth such good memories.


  4. nrhatch says:

    We lived over the river from Philadelphia for 8 years and enjoyed visiting Independence Square, Rittenhouse Square, Head House Square. and Dickens’ Inn.

    Old Town with its cobblestone streets inspires me with its charm.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip . . . except for the motion sickness.


  5. amkuska says:

    Welcome back!


  6. jannatwrites says:

    Great post about Philadelphia. I’ll be back to read about New York. (The only states east of the Mississippi I’ve been to are Georgia & Florida.) I don’t get out much 🙂 We are thinking of taking the kids to DC in a few years, though.

    It’s interesting how slavery wasn’t mentioned in the films. Not acknowledging it doesn’t make it any less ugly. At least the exhibits were accurate.

    I’ve made a note about getting the bus seat…good to know 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed the trip.


  7. Ollin says:

    Thanks for sharing. I really want to go to philadelphia. My good friend lives near there and she always invites me to visit. I’ll go there someday. Sounds incredibly fascinating. I love history, so I would have totally geeked out during a trip like that. Glad you got to see the bell and all.


  8. oldancestor says:

    Some good art and kid-friendly science museums can be found in Philly, and a walk down South Street to Penn’s landing is a great way to spend an afternoon.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks OA, I’ll make a note of it for when we’re back that way. Even though my kids are grown I still like the kid friendly museums.:) Thanks for stopping by.


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