Outside the Box

My sister and brother-in-law from Iowa visited us over Labor Day weekend. They've been to the Philadephia area several times and we've been to all the historical sites as well as Valley Forge at least once. We were all looking for something different to do and a quick Google search gave us several possibilities. We chose to tour the Eastern State Peneteniary which is located right in the city only a few blocks from the Art Museum and the Franklin Institute. And are we glad we did! The facility hasn't operated as a prison since the 60's or 70's and is now a National Historic Trust property. It once housed Al Capone and Willie Sutton, however. We arrived in time to take the architecture tour (one of three or four special tours included with the admission) and had a very informative guide who pointed out lots of things I might not have noticed. For example, inside the prision the corners of the outer walls were curved to make it harder to climb over them to escape. After that we took the 45-minute self-guided audio tour (also included with admission).

My sister and her entire family are big baseball fans. Me, not so much. But since she and her husband had expressed a desire to see a game, we headed down to the ball park. Great seats, terrific weather and of course, a hot dog made for a wonderful evening. And the Phillies won!

Sunday morning we went to Chanticleer, a garden on an old estate in Wayne, Pennsylvania. A friend and I had tried to visit several years ago, but it was closed, and I never got back. This was another pleasant surpise and it's practically in my back yard. The garden has plantings on 35 acres that include an asian wood and pond gardens. People are encouraged to wander off the paths and plants are not labeled so as not to distract from them and to encourage visitors to interact with the gardeners.

Definitely not my usual weekend activities, but ones that made for great memories!


  1. What a nice way to spend a weekend. There are so many nice things 'day-tripable' in our area I don't know why we feel the need to travel elsewhere but we do. I think my daughter and I need to check out Chanticleer.

  2. Sounds like a great time! It's always fun to have a weekend of things to do with family when they visit.

  3. How wonderful when you discover things in your own area and see "home" with a new light! Sounds like you had a good time with family - always a treat, that's for sure.

  4. We're big fans of the Pen. When my MIL visited, we "discovered" Chanticleer. Awesome garden and so close! Great weekend.

  5. That sounds like a lot of fun! I've never been to any of those places--except for a PHillies game ;)--and I grew up near there. I'll have to remember them for next visit.

  6. How neat to find treasures in your own back yard - I love exploring in my own beautiful area - I think our country has so many hidden places - we just have to take the time to seek them out. Glad you enjoyed it! Mel


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