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Bartram’s Garden: the oldest Botanic Garden in the United States. Located on the western banks of the Schuylkill (skoo-kul, I kid you not), it is far from the center of town, though within sight of it, a winding path leading to the view below. It’s mostly a place for weddings and school children to learn about the wonders of the natural world. The house was completed in 1731, and the wisteria arbor, while not the original, is in the exact location where Bartram hosted his friends, the likes of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. I like to imagine Benjamin bumping along winding country roads in a candle-lit buggy before arriving to discuss independence and the latest advancements in botany over hard cider or maybe a tankard of lager.

I loved flag lined Broad Street to Philadelphia City Hall – the building was the tallest in the world from 1894-1908 (the year my Great Aunt Mary was born).

The hubster caters to my photography whims at the Barnes Museum. What an amazing collection! Also the focus of a fascinating documentary. I thought I wrote about it ages ago but can’t seem to find a post. Drat. Anyhoo, it is proof positive that people often don’t give a rat’s ass about your wishes upon your death, in particular the wealthy heirs of your envious enemies.

Wowie zowie salad and pizza at Vetri!

Sweetie pie kitty cats at The Book Corner

Another grand old house, The Francis Cope at Awbury Arboretum.

Bridges across the Schuylkill

The Irish Memorial

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge across the Delaware River. Hullo New Jersey!

Dinner at the Lucha Cartel – the best Mexican food we’ve had since crossing the Mississippi. Muchas gracias!

What do you expect with a parrot and a monkey?

The view from our digs in Society Hill, pretty sweet.

Neighborhood murals and fantastical mosaics at Philadephia’s Magic Gardens. Art is the center of the real world…

The Beasley Building, founded 1785

For everyone who dreamt of running naked while brandishing a rubber chicken and a cleaver as a child, this is for you.

Carpenter’s Hall

Discussions about the beginnings of the United States were held here! Also the location of the first bank robbery on American soil, with nearly 140,000 stolen from a vault in the basement.

Independence Hall

John Barry – Father of the American Navy

The Dream Garden, by Maxfield Parrish

15′ X 49′, it is made from over 100,000 pieces of favrile glass. Constructed by Tiffany Studios and completed in 1916.

Where Thomas Jefferson wrote The Declaration of Independence!

Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness.

The Pennsylvania Hospital – America’s First

 A serious nod to Mondrian

Crazy good dinner, service, and generous pours of bourbon at the Twisted Tail. They have plaid wallpaper! This is important, though I’m still deciding why.

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Bye, bye Philly, you sure were swell!

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Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge across the Susquehanna River

Cheeky Intercourse is a tourist haven, with every manner of home good and trinket available on offer.

The lovely Revere Tavern, situated on an old pike, it was owned by President James Buchanan, and has been serving pretty delicious dinners for more than two hundred and fifty years! The history around here is astonishing, and I am likely to sound like a broken record on this subject until my musings on this trip are over, so apologies in advance. As Westerners, it is wild and wonderful to be in the presence of such age, to think about all the people who have ever lived here and there, shared a meal, shed a tear, with hardly a trace of the majority. That will be us. That will be me. Fear not, I am not gloomy about it, only philosophical. This is life.

Dutch Haven is famous for its Shoo-Fly Pie. It wasn’t my thing, but the building is the TOPS!

Before traveling to Lancaster, we wondered if we would actually see horse drawn carts and buggies or if it was mere tourist campaign propaganda. My friends, it’s real. There are buggies galore, of all shapes and sizes, on every manner of road, even parked alongside cars at markets and roadside stands. We were quite awestruck.


Lancaster Central Market – the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in the country. It did not disappoint.

Home of Henry Muhlenberg, a famous botanist who lived from 1753-1815.

First Presbyterian Church, circa 1851

This mosaic is made from bread clips! Take a step back to fully appreciate the awesomeness. It is on display at On Orange, where we enjoyed a fabulous brunch and some of the best service anywhere.

Great browsing and buying at Dogstar Books. The ladder, peeps!

Lancaster County is truly marvelous, with a vibrant downtown and college campus, to fine architecture lining streets named Lemon, Lime, and Orange(!), to fabulous cupcakes and beautiful handmade pottery, to the splendid pastoral rolling farm scenes of our imagination, we were surprised and delighted at every turn.

Look, the hubster in Philadelphia!

Shane Confectionery – old-timey beautiful sweetness. Try the Coconut Batido!

Charming Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia’s Old City is the oldest residential street in America. The buildings date as far back as 1728.

This was our favorite coffee shop in Philly – Menagerie.

United States Custom House

Society Hill Neighborhood, our home away from home.

More Philadelphia to come!

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One, if not THE reason we picked up sticks and moved across the country was to travel, to feel in our bones, the deepest sense of our nation and this continent, to know the contours, of hill and dale and faces old and young. If our beginnings, with the trek to move here and our first trip (which started here) that already seems so long ago, are any indication, we shall make out like kings.

Nine days getting to know Pennsylvania, with a short stint on I-68 in Maryland, on our way to Gettysburg, fog and rain laden, air luscious with damp. This bit of sweetness is Vanderbilt, a mere curve on the road to somewhere, occupied by just over five hundred souls. There are countless jewel box towns like these, mostly older than imagination, my Western whippersnapper roots nearly constantly agog. This is America, where it all began.

And cemeteries! Since moving east, I have never seen so many, tucked in everywhere, both massive and diminutive as postage stamps, nearly all patriotic. This belongs to the Spring Field Church, with the building dating to 1849.

Bear Run and the sights in and around Fallingwater, probably the most famous of the Frank Lloyd Wright residences. We took a tour with a lovely fellow named Cletus. Though he’d been at it only a short time, his knowledge was vast and impressive. And the house? Wow, just wow. Go and be glad!

Such a lovely drive!

This is Gettysburg. Gettysburg. I kept repeating it aloud, just like that. Abraham Lincoln and fourscore and seven years ago and so many soldiers (and one Gettysburg woman) lost to war. The text of the speech is attached to the David Wills house, where Lincoln stayed the night before the address. I gazed about, dazzled, from which window did he peer, am I standing where he stood? Is this the path he took to the cemetery? Golly.

We stayed up yonder at the Brickhouse Inn and had a marvelous time. They have a beautiful breakfast, a kind and efficient staff, and charming and historical furnishings, very apropos, we thought. As is our usual modus operandi, we walked like the dickens, mouths agape at the history, the hallowed ground, the sheer number of buildings that dated from the Civil War, their bronze plaques in proud declaration.

Candlelight at Christ Church was the serendipitous highlight of our visit. On a walk after dinner (at Saint Amand – really good French food and kindly service!), I got an itch to go a particular direction, and on the steps of the church saw a crowd of people dressed in Civil War era garments, which is delightful and not at all unusual, but they were so numerous as to give us pause. We crossed the street and were invited to a service with music from the time, the history of the church, and stories and letters from the era. It was beautiful and quite moving.

The Gettysburg Cemetery – the dedication the occasion for Lincoln’s address. Most striking is the sheer number of unknown soldiers. This is before the advent of dog tags, so only those men with letters or photos of themselves or their beloved were identified. It saddened me.

Cemetery Ridge

Eternal Light Peace Memorial

It is a peculiar feeling to visit battlefields and imagine the reality of events that took place, cannon fire, mortal wounds, families pitted against one another. As we toured, this tender heart was often overwhelmed by imagination and wonder. How is it that we can do this to each other?

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Welcome to Cincinnati, “the best city in the world” according to an old friend (Mike, are you there?). I can’t really speak to it being the best, as our visit was only a few hours, but this, the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, was pretty snazzy. As our dumb luck would have it, as we were neither looking for cool or interesting, just eager for lunch, we found one special place, and quite important historically, with the majority of the buildings of Italianate Architecture, magnificently intact, and easy on the eyes.

Not the best idea I’ve ever had, but I couldn’t resist the temptation of the Holtman’s doughnut sign. BEFORE lunch. They were still warm!

The hubster going big at Pontiac (no website, sadly). Most excellent barbeque and a super friendly server, always a great combination. In keeping with my healthful doughnut before lunch choice, I noshed on pimento cheese. It was awesome. I do not regret it!

This neighborhood is chockablock with fabulous murals. Wowie!

He thought I was shopping…

Narrow. Very narrow.

Thanks for a terrific afternoon, Cincinnati!

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Friendship Way, 1998

Cork Marcheschi, Neon Sculptor

Zaharakos, largely unchanged since 1900, with stunning woodwork and marble, is the coolest ice cream parlor I have ever visited. Not only do they have delicious treats, a cherry float and hot fudge sundae for us, but they are also a museum dedicated to the mostly lost art of ice cream parlors. Utterly unique and wonderful with super friendly staff, this place is fun for the entire family.

Bartholomew County Courthouse, 1874

Isaac Hodgson, Architect

The Commons pictured in the foreground, 2011

Koetter Kim & Associates, Architects

Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans, 1997

Thompson and Rose, Architects

Bring a tissue, friends. The monument has excerpts and entire letters written by fallen personnel carved into the stone.

Republic Newspaper, 1971

Myron Goldsmith, Architect

Columbus City Hall, 1981

Edward Charles Bassett, Architect

Bartholomew County Jail, 1990

Don M. Hisaka, Architect

Miller House, 1957

Eero Saarinen, Architect

Dan Kiley, Landscape Architect

Here we are. This is the house that gleefully sent me down the Columbus, Indiana architecture rabbit hole. Beautiful. The only way to see it is to take a tour, and, rather unfortunately, they do not allow any photographs of the interior, so if you would like a glimpse and don’t have time for a journey to Columbus, watch this short video. If you’re still intrigued and would like a more comprehensive look at the house, J. Irwin Miller, and the history of Columbus in regards to its marvelous buildings, here’s another video. As for the house, believe me when I say that it is an awe to behold and well worth the price of admission.

St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, 2002

William Browne, Jr. and Steven R. Ristling, Architects

North Christian Church, 1964

Eero Saarinen

Parkside Elementary School, 1962

Norman Fletcher, Architect

First Baptist Church, 1965

Harry Weese, Architect

After a long day of walking and photographing, and walking and photographing some more, our reward was a beyond delicious meal at the Henry Social Club. Everything was superb. We chatted it up with our neighbors; they shared their bread with us; and we discovered how small the world is when we realized we’d lived near each other decades apart.

Next up, Cincinnati!

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