What a fun Fourth of July weekend! We did cool stuff and we relaxed, we ate and drank, we drove and walked. That's pretty much it!
Well, okay -- here's a bit more detail. On the fourth itself, we hung out here at home. We did go for a nice walk by the river and down the trail, but other than that, we did some serious nothing. In the evening we got to hear many and varied booms and crackles and hisses and explosions as all of the towns around us had their fireworks shows. We could sort of see the reflection of one show in the windows of the building across from us, but we couldn't really see the show itself.
Yesterday, though, we did get out and about. Joe loves to drive around and explore, and he decided that he wanted to see what Upper Darby was like (it's one of the exits on I-476, which we travel on frequently). So off we went to Upper Darby. It was a real mix of neighborhoods from schmancy to hoody, but there seemed to be an Irish bar on every block, so there's that. We turned around at the 69th Street Transit Center and headed toward Broomall, but we didn't quite get there as there was a wreck on the road. So we turned off on Route 320 -- because we knew we could get home from there -- and let me tell you, there is a lot of old money along that road. You know, the kind of old money where you name your house and have an intercom on the electric gates, and there's a country club every mile or so.
Anyway, we were almost home when I suggested we visit Valley Forge Park, it being Independence Day and all. We started to do just that, but we got distracted by the beautiful Washington Memorial Chapel. It's a gothic Episcopal chapel, privately built in the early 1900s. What a lovely, peaceful house of worship! We were admiring the gorgeous stained glass and carved pews when a delightful docent asked if we wanted a tour. Why, yes we would!
The tour pretty much consisted of the docent telling us all about the many features of the chapel. Everything, from the stained glass windows to the organ to the choir stalls to the altar to the pews has an interesting story and history. You'll just have to go there yourself!
The bell tower is quite impressive. It has 58 bells, including the national birthday bell, bells for each of the 57 states, US territories, and Washington, DC. They have carillon concerts there through the summer; I'm sure we'll attend at least one. It would be a crime not to, given that we live practically next door!
There are two huge stained glass windows. The one over the altar represents the life of Christ; this one over the door is the Washington window, with panels representing Washington's leadership during the Revolutionary War. There are other windows along the sides, all of them amazing.
Speaking of George, there's a carved statue of him in a niche at the entrance to the altar area.
Outside is the Cloisters of the Colonies, with one bay for each of the 13 colonies. The surrounding lawn and woodsy area is just beautiful.
After our tour and some wandering about, we headed off to Phoenixville for lunch at an Irish pub called Molly Maguires. I guess all those Irish bars and pubs in Upper Darby inspired us.
Today we actually headed into the city, but that's a story for another day!