Rather than fly home to Atlanta and then go to Philly the next day, we changed our flight “home” to go straight to Philadelphia, landing at midnight on Friday night (thanks to a delay at JFK), June 16. Why end a vacation with another vacation? In a word, Bono.
I’d seen U2 four times, the first being via a road trip to Memphis in 1997 (with Jim Bob, incidentally, the guy whose family was in Paris with ours in the last series of posts), and the last being 5 or so years ago with a work colleague in Atlanta, but I’d never heard the entire Joshua Tree album live, in order, start to finish. Since the band didn’t schedule an Atlanta show on this tour, I decided we needed to find a city (and date) in which to see them, and Philadelphia on Fathers Day seemed perfect, as we love touring historic cities, and I have cousins-in-law just outside of Philly! The Joshua Tree was the first CD I packed when I learned I was deploying to Iraq in March 2003. The album turned 30 this year, and we visited its namesake national park just a few months ago as a family. My bride had never seen U2. So, we went.
We booked a house in the city just down from where my friend Georgia lives (but, sadly, she was out of town that weekend). Saturday morning, we were up early and at the Dutch Eating place for breakfast just after 8am and at Independence Hall (and its visitor center) a few minutes later.
We saw the famous bell, checked out Ben Franklin’s grave, hung out by Betsy Ross’s house, watched a free puppet show at the National Constitution Center, walked through the oldest residential area in the country, had an awesome DiNic’s roast pork sandwich, and then enjoyed an evening ghost tour through old town before ending the day at City Tavern. It was a great day of exploring a new city (for our children) and spending time with their cousins (who also visited several new places, despite living nearby for many years!).
Sunday morning, the 10 of us had an awesome fathers day brunch at The Dandelion, where I’d made a reservation months before. Then, we 5 peeled off for some more touring, walking to Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, the smallest installation in the National Park Service! The children earned more junior ranger badges (they got one the previous day as well), as we roamed the house where the brilliant Polish engineer and Revolutionary War freedom fighter once lived.
Afterward, we explored the National Museum of American Jewish History, rode the Franklin Square Carousel, and roamed about Edgar Allen Poe’s house (where the children earned yet another junior ranger badge), including his basement!
At dinner time, my bride’s cousin came to our AirBnB to watch the children, and we went to Lincoln Financial field to see this:
The show was perfect; I loved it. I’d rank it among the very best concert experiences I’ve ever had if the seats were a bit better (despite my getting fan club pre-sale access and being down by the floor, we were a long way from the stage). That said, the performance itself was exceedingly moving. Powerful.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to call this year’s fathers day my absolute favorite.
On Monday morning, we walked to Ants Pants cafe for breakfast, had our uber driver stop at the Rocky statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the way to the airport, and then flew home at 11am. Our Ben Franklin-themed trip to Paris and Philly was over, June 5–June 19, a most adventurous and educational family vacation. I’d recommend it to anyone.