Visiting Independence Hall + The Liberty Bell

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A few weeks ago I shared the first post from my trip to Philadelphia…a trip that I took almost two years ago! As I mentioned in that post, it was a business trip, so we didn’t have a lot of time to explore. We had to be at the office for two of the days, but we were able to work a half day on our last day. One of my coworkers had never been to Philadelphia before either, so we decided to take that morning off and play tourist. Of course when you’re in Philadelphia for the first time, you have to visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

We wanted to beat the crowds (and finish early enough to work the afternoon) so we met bright and early to get tickets. Entrance to Independence Hall is by tour only and timed tickets are required March-December. Same day tickets are free and available at the Independence Visitor Center starting at 8:30 a.m. You can also reserve in advance online for $1.50 fee. Anyway, we arrived at 8:30 and got tickets for the first tour of the day at 9 a.m.

I know my tip is always to start early, but it really makes such a huge difference in dealing with crowds. We were on the first tour of the day, so there were only a few other people on the tour with us and there was no line at the security screening area. It’s also a great opportunity to get pictures without other people in them.

The tour of Independence Hall was led by a NPS ranger and it was really interesting. The Assembly Room is where the Continental Congress declared Independence in 1776 and debated and signed the U.S. Constitution in 1787. It’s kind of surreal to stand in one of the most historic rooms in the United States. 'Murica!

The desk and chair in the middle of the room was George Washington’s spot. There’s a sun carved into the back of Washington’s chair and it became known as the Rising Sun Chair because of an observation made by Benjamin Franklin.

Next door to Independence Hall is Congress Hall. This is where Congress met while Philadelphia was the temporary capital of the U.S. from 1790 to 1800. Presidents George Washington (second term) and John Adams both took the oath of office in this building. The first floor was where the House of Representatives met and the Senate chamber was upstairs.


Once we finished the tour (it took about 40 minutes) we walked over to the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell is located at The Liberty Bell Center, right by Independence Hall. Admission is free and no tickets are required. The Liberty Bell is obviously the main draw, but there are some pretty interesting exhibits lining the way to the bell. Topics range from the original State House bell to the famous crack to the inscription on the bell (Leviticus 25:10 in the Old Testament:… Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof).

Even if you want to read most of the exhibit information, you won’t need more than 30 minutes to see the Liberty Bell. Because we started so early, we finished our visit to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in time to still have breakfast. We ended up going around the corner to the Red Owl Tavern and I had some AMAZING French toast. Highly recommend!

If you have more time in the area (and don’t have to go back to work…boo), there are plenty of other historical/interesting places within walking distance: Christ Church, Betsy Ross House, United States Mint, National Constitution Center, and many more! I think a tour of the U.S. Mint would be really interesting…hopefully next time!

Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center are managed by the National Park Service, so be sure to check their sites for hours and information before visiting.

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Learning How to Compost

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Adam and I have been talking about starting a compost pile for over a year now. It’s another one of those things that we’ve been meaning to do, but keep putting off. I even put a compost bin in my Amazon shopping cart at one point, but never pulled the trigger. So when we found a compost tumbler at our community garage sale for only $20, we knew it was a sign.

*This post contains affiliate links.

I had looked at the exact same one on Amazon (Lifetime 80-Gal Compost Tumbler) months ago, but didn’t want to spend the money (currently $130). I seriously can’t believe we got it for only $20! Anyway, it was full of big twigs and large branches when we bought it (they were WAY too big for composting) so I quickly cleaned it out and it was good as new!

Before we could start composting, we had to figure out where to keep our new tumbler. After doing some research it’s recommended to place them in partial sun. You’ll want some sun so the mixture will heat up, but you don’t want it to get too hot in there. We also had to think about ease of access. It would be nice to have it near the house so it’s easier to fill, but it also makes sense to keep it near the garden where we’ll actually use the compost. After taking all of that into consideration, we decided to put it next to the shed. It ended up being the best place for partial shade and with the hot temps in Phoenix we figured that was more important that having to walk some extra steps to fill it.

We’re still new at composting, so I taped this free compost list printable from Not Just a Housewife on the inside of a kitchen cabinet. It’s a helpful reminder for what we can/cannot put in our composting tumbler.

We’re also using this countertop OXO Good Grips compost bin to collect our scraps. We empty it every couple of days, so we haven’t had any issues with flies or smell.

So now we’re just working on filling our compost tumbler. I bought a bag of compost starter on Amazon, so I’m hoping that’ll help us create our first successful batch of compost. If you compost and have any suggestions for us, please leave them in the comments. We’re still figuring this out, so we’d love advice from compost pros.

Oh, and if you want to start your own compost bin, but don’t want to spend the money on a tumbler or bother building a bin, check with your city trash program. Our city provides compost containers (modified trash bins) for only a $5 delivery fee.

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