Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Trip to Philly: Part 1

Our short stop at Fallingwater was followed up by an overnight stay in Cumberland, MD at a B&B, The Bruce House InnCumberland, MD is at the junction of the 316 mile bike trail from Washington DC to Pittsburgh, PA.  I love, absolutely love! staying at B&B's.  So my experience of any trip can be "upgraded" just by a night in a B&B!  And this one was wonderful!
Then we drove on into Philly for a visit with Matthew and Sharon.  Of course we started with dinner!  At the Local 44 Beer Bar

And I should mention that before we were off the tavern we make a quick stop at the cemetery to water Sharon's "farm".
But back to the BAR:

We all know the history of Philly in the establishment of this country:  the Declaration of Independence and eventually the Constitution were written here in Independence Hall.  The Liberty Bell is here and that crack in it still hasn't been repaired.  
One of the interesting aspects of Philly that I learned about is that Philly has murals painted on the sides of building throughout the central part of the city.  Murals began in 1984 as an Anti-Graffiti community project.  The Mural Arts Program has completed more than 3000 murals around the city since its beginning over 25 years ago.  Now you don't have to take a "tour" to see the murals- but this trip we decided to be more deliberate about viewing the murals.  So we took a walking tour of the murals and were impressed by the art work.  Most all of them were painted on the sides of building that were next to parking lots, so they could easily be viewed by the populous.  Here are pictures of a number of them.
These next two are called Franks.

So on your next trip to Philly- you must- you really must take a "tour" of the murals.  You can download a PDF map that gives clear directions on both a walking and driving tour.
And finally, I couldn't help but capture this "eatery"...(we didn't stop for lunch)!
But we did make our way to the Positano CoastWe had a really wonderful lunch- and I loved the design colors!

But what really was surprising were the gardens in Philly.  John Bartram, who lived in Philly in the mid-1700's is considered the father of botany and the first Naturalist of this country.  His home on the Schuyllkill River has been turned into a garden and it contains trees that were planted by John Bertram over 200 years ago.  Bartram's Garden is the oldest Botanic Garden the the United States.  John Bartram, a Quaker, traveled north from Lake Ontario, west from the Ohio River and south to Florida collecting more than 200 native plants for his garden.  I was particulary impressed by a Yellow Wood tree that was in full bloom that was estimated to be 220 years old.  It is the big broad tree in the center of the picture.

I have to say that the Yellow Wood tree is one of my favorite trees.  They are fairly rare in the wild and even rarer in domestic settings, but we do have one that we planted about 12 years ago.  It is just now coming into bloom in our front yard with beautiful white flowers.  Below is a picture taken today of one of its blooms.

On the steps of the Bartram Home:

There was also an array of other tree and flowering shrubs including this orange azalea. 
But Bertram is also noted for saving a native tree from extinction.  The story says he found on a river bank in Georgia and brought it back to Philly and propagated it.  That was the last time the tree was seen in the wild.  Bertram was a great fan of Ben Frankllin and named the tree the Franklin Tree, genus Franklinia.  Does it surprise you that Max wanted a Franklin Tree for our yard?  The garden was having its annual plant sale and we brought one back with us to Cincinnati where it is now planted in our front yard.
I know, I know!  We don't need another tree- But there was one spot that still has enough sun that's been waiting for something perfect.  And the Ben Franklin Tree is perfect!  OK,  so this does look like a bush.  It is only about 3 feet tall, but it will grow to about 20 feet tall with a 20 foot spread, so it will eventually become a big Franklin Bush.


Nurse Horrible said...

We loved having you here! It was so much fun!

smathis75 said...

The murals came out great in those photos! I of course loved having you guys here and can't wait for your next trip to Philly. There are so many more gardens still to visit! Thanks again and miss you!

Lucas said...

Those murals are AMAZING. I love that idea. Free art for EVERYONE!!! Fabulous. Your trip looks fun and I can't wait do read part II.

Brandy said...

Cool pircs! Thanks for the history on the garden.