Last weekend, Mr. Cleaver and I took our big summer vacation, a long weekend in Philadelphia.

Franklin Memorial

We were fortunate to spend a few days with Mr. Cleaver’s college roommate and his family, who showed us around town and make sure we got plenty of great food to eat.  Our days pretty much went like this: sleep in, eat break fast, go out and see awesome things, eat some local food, head back to the house, play with the kids and chat with the adults, sleep and repeat.

Some of the awesome things we saw?

Star Trek: The Exhibition at the Franklin Institute (nerds, eat your heart out!)

Star Trek: The Exhibition
Engage!

If sci-fi tv series aren’t your thing, the Franklin had a lot of other incredible exhibits including the Amazing Machine, which contained one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, an automaton who can draw pictures and write poems with better handwriting than me (seriously – check out the videos – so cool).

Automaton

Another great thing about the Amazing Machine is that a old Singer sewing machine was used to explain the majority of the types of machine parts. Also – the first sewing machine caused a tailor’s riot in France!

Singer Scale Model

The Franklin also had a lot of great hands on exhibits including the Franklin Airshow and Sir Issac’s Loft, when Mr. Cleaver is shown literally pulling his own weight.

Pulling His Own Weight

Of course it wouldn’t be my first trip to Philly without my first cheesesteak and for those who know about these things: Geno’s, with, no wiz.

A Monument to Cheese Steaks
Cheese Fries to go with that Cheese Steak

On our second day, we went out to Valley Forge to pick up a little Revolutionary War knowledge, including learning about General Baron Frederick William Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben, who I had never heard of and turned the Colonists from a rag-tag band of individual militias in the U.S. Army.

Steuben overlooks the Grand Parade

Valley Forge
Obligatory Musket Shot Shot

And there’s no better way to follow up a load of history with some Guitar Hero.

Guitar Hero with Zack and Ben

Our last day in Philly we headed out our own to Old Philly for some more history and learning. We saw the Liberty Bell, which was smaller than I thought it’d be; the National Constitution Center, which made me cry and I highly, highly recommend; and a lovely and haunting performance of a glass armonica.

Guarding Liberty

Under Washington's Watch

Glass Armonica

These are just a sampling of the photos I took on the trip, but if you want to see more you can check out my “Philly Trip” photoset on Flickr.

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