Things to do in Burlington & Beyond

Elon students, and Burlington residents, this one is for you! In a small town like Burlington, it can feel like you’ve already done everything that there is to do. While at Elon I’ve scoured Trip Advisor and pages of date suggestions, but good comprehensive lists are few and far between.

So, I decided to compile my own — you’re welcome in advance. Save this post so that when you’re looking for a fun new place to try with your friends or a significant other, you don’t have to repeat the same old typical Saturday night plans. Get your bucket list ready!

I’ve split my suggestions into two main categories “Burlington” (under 25-minute minutes from campus) and “Beyond” (Greensboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, etc). Within those categories, my favorites are split into: Outdoors, Fun activities, Culture, & 21+


Burlington

Outdoors

Haw River Trail (Shallow Ford) 

IMG_0651.jpgThe Haw River Trail is Elon's closest
real trail to campus. If you're in
need of a perfect start to your
weekend, head over with a friend.
There's also a great wooden platform
for yoga!
Saxapahaw Island Park & trails 
57505535689__5A79DF84-E236-4B93-870E-5362E10F3983-1.jpg 
Saxapahaw is an adorable town 25 min.
from campus. Eat lunch at the general
store and then do some exploring.
Cedarock Park
196D912F-87E7-4CF4-ADC7-99A71884752D.jpgCedarock Park is a 414-acre nature 
preserve and historic farm. You'll
find lots of families exploring
and can say hi to some adorable
farm animals.
Guilford Mackintosh Park 
 IMG_2844.jpgJust a couple of exits past Target,
Macintosh is a hidden gem. There are
several short trails, a lake, and
great picnic tables. I love to pack
a lunch and eat near the water.

Food

  • Colombian Cravings
    Located near Harris Teeter, this latin restaruant is a recent
    favorite of mine. Order a juice and prepare for savory
    meat and huge portions.
  • Da Vinci’s Table 
    IMG_7296.jpgA classic Italian birthday spot.
    Da Vinci's is a great place
    to take your visiting family 
    or get away for a date night.
  • Red Bowl 
    Red Bowl is a personal favorite of mine and has a great patio.
    
    Pro tip: go for the lunch specials for a much cheaper total 
    bill.
  • The Park 
    The Park always hits the spot on weekend mornings. It offers
    southern breakfast and diner-style food.
  • Catrinas Tequila and Taco Bar 
    Catrinas is located in Mebane and should not be judged by
    its outer appearance. It may be in a strip mall, but 
    prepare to be wowed by the tacos and wait staff.
  • The Verdict on the Square 
    Located in downtown Graham, The Verdict is the perfect place
    to grab a burger and a beer before you explore the town.
  • Saxpahaw General Store 
    IMG_2461.jpg
    As mentioned above, Saxpahaw is a 
    town you shouldn't miss. Eat at the
    general store where ingredients are
    locally sourced. Beer and drinks
    are available in the store and can
    be consumed on the porch. Check out
    more to do in Saxpahaw here.
    
    
  • Harrison's 
    Harrison's is a sandwich spot next to Harris Teeter that I 
    never noticed until recently. It's cheap, it's good, and the
    inside is cute and comfortable.

Fun activities

Fifth Street Books 
IMG_7567.jpgFifth Street Books is a warehouse in Mebane
with stacks and stacks of books for all ages
(and a live-in cat!) The organization is 
crazy, so spend an afternoon exploring
and picking out some new titles. 

Pro tip: Books are 
extremely cheap and they offer .50 book sales,
so keep up to date with their Facebook page.
Filament Coffee and Tea, Mebane 
If you have to do homework on a Saturday, Filament is the perfect
place to do it at. The atmosphere quietly buzzes in the 
background and the coffee is fabulous.

21+

  • Burlington Beer Works
    IMG_2689.jpgIt's finally open! Go visit Burlington's 
    new brewery in downtown Burlington right 
    next to The Blend coffeeshop. They offer 
    dinner, snacks, flights, and lots on tap
    for $5.
  • Cork and Cow
    IMG_9691.jpgI rarely suggest this place to people 
    sincepart of it's charm is that few 
    students go, but since I'm graduating,
    I guess it's okay! Cork and Cow is my 
    favorite spot to curl up with a book
    or do some evening work. They have 
    cheese plates, a large variety of wine
    and beer, and a perfect porch for a 
    casual afternoon.
  • Red Oak Brewery
    3F36AAE0-870F-458B-A685-2A34FC0FCDC7.jpgRed Oak's new lagerhaus is large and 
    impressive. They have stacks of games
    available to play and do weekly music
    trivia. On the weekends, there are 
    typically food trucks outside.
    
    Pro tip: You can also order pizza or food
    to the venue.
  • Piedmont Ale House 
    Piedmont is only 5 minutes from campus and has a great variety
    of pub food and drinks.
    
    Pro-tip: Go on a Thursday evening for half-price appetizers. 
    Every Thursday Piedmont features a local beer for $3-5. You
    also get to keep the glass!
  • Smokehouse at Steve's
    I didn't know that I needed Smokehouse at Steve's in my life, 
    but I absolutely did. Recently opened, Smokehouse at Steve's 
    offers huge portions of meats and your traditional BBQ sides
    and has a bar station with a large variety of sauces. Whether
    you're from Texas, Tennessee, or North Carolina, you're going
    to be impressed with Steve's.
    
    Pro tip: Steve's is also connected to its counterpart butchershop
    and local market, so if you're looking to stock up on things,
    you can kill two birds with one stone.

Beyond Burlington

Outdoors

  • Eno Quarry, Durham 
    A classic spot! Visit in the spring or fall and bring your
    swimsuit.
  • N.C. Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill
    IMG_0739.jpgI was amazed by the size of this 
    botanical garden all available for
    free to the public. Spend an 
    afternoon exploring the garden. There
    are also additional walking/biking
    trails attached to the property.
    
    Pro tip: There are free tours on the
    weekends, so look at their site in 
    advance if you're interested.
  • Duke Gardens
    Duke's campus itself is worth seeing, and their gardens are 
    impressive and free to visit. When you're in Durham, spend 
    an hour or two wandering campus and taking photos in the 
    gardens.
  • Umstead State Park, Durham 
    Umstead offers a ton of activities from fishing to boating,
    rock climbing, and paddling, so check out their site to plan
    a visit.
  • Conservators Center
                            
    IMG_5439.jpg
    The Conservators center is approx.
    30 minutes from campus and definitely
    worth a visit. The center homes many
    animals who needed a better home for
    various reasons. Tours must be booked
    in advance and are relatively 
    inexpensive.

Food

  • Dashi, Durham 
    IMG_3147.jpgGreat ramen, wonderful aesthetic,
    delicious food and drinks.
  • The Pit, Durham 
    If you haven't tried North Carolina BBQ yet, this is the perfect
    place to do it! The Pit is a bit dressier, so it's great for
    a special night out or a date night. Boxcar Arcade and several
    other bars are just down the street.
  • Gonza Tacos y Tequila, Durham 
    IMG_2558.jpgGonza is another great choice for a 
    celebratory dinner or special night 
    out. The tequila list is extensive
    and can be personalized in dozens
    of ways. Make a reservation if you
    plan to visit on a weekend.
  • Hops Burger Bar, Greensboro 
    Hops doesn't accept reservations, so prepare to wait. That being 
    said, your wait will be worth it. Their burgers are huge and 
    the atmosphere is fun. They also serve Cheesecakes by Alex if 
    you're still hungry afterwards.
  • Crafted The Art of the Taco, Greensboro 
    Crafted is a fun place to go for lunch or dinner in Greensboro.
    It's located right downtown so plan for a day of exploring and
    try a bunch of unique tacos when you're feeling hungry.
  • I Love Pho, Greensboro
    While I wish that there were more pho and ramen options near 
    campus, I Love Pho makes the drive worth it. It is also 
    located in a strip mall, so don't let that deter you. The bowls
    are huge and so delicious you'll want to go back.
  • Don Ishiyaki & Ramen, Greensboro 
    In my opinion, the best thing on Don Ishiyaki's menu is the 
    bibimbap. It comes piping hot in a stone bowl and is delicious.
    After the meal, Don Ishiyaki serves complementary ice cream.
  • Yogurt Pump, Chapel Hill 
    If you're exploring Chapel Hill on a hot day, you must stop at 
    the Yogurt Pump. It is tucked away on a back alley, so look 
    closely!
  • Morgan Street Food Hall, Raleigh 
    Morgan Street Food Hall recently opened and is the perfect place
    to reminisce on your days exploring European food markets abroad.
    It gets crowded on the weekend, but is full of a large variety 
    of cuisines and has seating indoors and outdoors.
  • Bella Monica, Raleigh 
    Bella Monica is a well-known Italian restaruant in Raleigh 
    perfect for a romantic date night. Make a reservation in advance!

Fun activities

  • International Civil Rights Center & Museum, Greensboro
    Learn more local North Carolina history by visiting the 
    International Civil Rights Center & Museum. The galleries
    are thought-provoking and engaging for learners of all ages.
  • Scuppernong Books, Greensboro 
    Support your local bookstores! Scuppernong is adorable and 
    located downtown. Check it out as you do your shopping and 
    pick up a new book or two :) they also have a small cafe with
    beer and wine, as well as regular events.
  • Explore downtown Chapel Hill 
    Need I say more? The town is beautiful and you really just 
    can't go wrong.
  • See a show at the PNC arena in Raleigh
    IMG_1697.jpgPNC arena offers a variety of regular
    shows and concerts. I recently saw
    Trevor Noah's comedy and show and
    would love an opportunity to visit
    Raleigh again!
  • North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh 
    IMG_1681.jpgLooking for a free thing to do on an 
    afternoon? Visit the NC Museum of 
    Natural Sciences. Plan for at least an
    hour or two to visit, as the site is 
    huge. There are interactive centers
    on every floor and plenty to do for
    all ages.
  • NC Museum of Art, Raleigh
    IMG_1731.jpgThe NC Museum of Art has several 
    permanent free exhibitions ranging
    from modern art to classic European
    exhibits.
    
    They also have rotating ticketed 
    exhibits so check their site for 
    upcoming events and exhibitions.
  • Book a cheap Airbnb for one night 
    If you liked several of the things on the list and want to 
    make a weekend staycation trip out of my suggestions, I 
    reccomend using Airbnb! Airbnb has many rooms in Durham and 
    Raleigh for less than $40 a night. Share a room with a 
    friend and spend a weekend away from campus. Many hikes and 
    museums are free, so using Airbnb provides an economical way
    to see a new city.
  • Eden Movie Drive-In (Eden, NC)
    IMG_8777.jpgEden Movie Drive-In is the furthest 
    activity on this list, but makes for a
    fun friends-night-out. Located on the 
    Virginia/NC border, Eden Movie Drive
    often shows double-headers and is 
    inexpensive.

21+

  • NC World of Beer, Raleigh
    802889A2-4425-472E-8E5C-2DEF7EBBE57C.jpgThe World of Beer site describes
    themselves as a "Hangout featuring 500+ 
    global beers, lots of craft drafts & 
    tavern food in pub digs with TVs." Explore
    3 floors of beer including a rooftop or 
    choose to sit outdoors. You'll want to 
    look online at their beer list or use the 
    Untappd app to make your drink selections,
    as their offerings change daily.
  • Boxcar Bar + Arcade, Greensboro/Durham
    IMG_0858.jpg
    Boxcar Bar and Arcade is a fun spot for 
    a double date or group outing. 
    Reminisce on your childhood while you
    play Pacman or play Dance Dance 
    Revolution.
  • Unscripted Hotel Pool & Bar, Durham 
    E872F24B-B62E-40E6-B4DC-B9A5A2220376.jpg
    The Unscripted Hotel is a small boutique 
    hotel located in the heart of Downtown,
    Durham. The rooftop pool and bar are 
    public access and boast a great view of 
    the city. The pool is small, but the 
    weekend DJ and fun vibe makes it worth a
    trip. The food is pricey, so consider 
                           stopping by before or after dinner for 
                           a drink and swim.
  • Pour Taproom, Durham
    Pour is the only place on this list that I haven't personally 
    been, but I felt as though I must include it since it's 
    attached to the Unscripted Hotel and I've heard great things 
    from friends. At Pour, you pour your own beer and pay by the
    ounce by tapping a wristband at the tap.

Have anything to add to this list? Where are your favorite places in Burlington and beyond? Leave a comment and let me know! Happy adventuring 🙂 

United States

Summer Internship – Fort Worth Sister Cities

Way way back in November of 2016, I started scouring the internet for internships. Since I was about to go abroad, I decided to start looking super early so I wouldn’t be stressed. However, there were hardly any internships even online yet. I was looking for anything and everything: English related, Sociology related, Education related…

After a few weeks of searching, I finally hit the jackpot. I distinctly remember googling “dfw” “internship” and “international” together. Immediately, I knew that this was the place I needed to be!

Fort Worth Sister Cities International

Although I had heard a little about Sister Cities programs before, I didn’t really know what FWSCI was all about. I live 30 minutes from Fort Worth and am therefore a little bit outside of the area they typically reach.

FWSCI has 8 amazing Sister Cities, all of which I’d now love to visit. Fort Worth Sister Cities International is also the only program in the U.S. that focuses heavily on youth programs and exchanges. Our 8 Sister Cities are:

  • Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • Trier, Germany
  • Nagaoka, Japan
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Bandung, Indonesia
  • Toluca, Mexico
  • Mbabane, Swaziland
  • Guiyang, China

The Sister Cities movement began in 1956 with Dwight D. Eisenhower, who hoped to link cities around the world to promote cultural understanding, the economy, and general relationships. This summer I fell in love with both FWSCI as an organization and Fort Worth as a city! Hopefully, I’ll be out exploring our Sister Cities someday soon 🙂

 

Spanish Immersion

My first project in the office was Spanish Immersion Camp. Each summer, Fort Worth Independent School District and FWSCI pair up to put on an amazing summer camp for FWISD elementary school students. 10 university students from our sister city in Toluca, Mexico fly over to Fort Worth for two weeks of full on immersion teaching. Elementary school students from 1st grade through 5th grade can enroll in this two week program. At camp, they are only allowed to speak Spanish! These are students who are enrolled in FWISD’s dual language program during the year and take classes regularly in both Spanish and English. I was absolutely amazed at these small kids’ level of Spanish! They are absolutely incredible and grew so much throughout camp.

My intern office duties involved planning activities for the Toluca college students to participate in after the school day. From the Fort Worth Stock Yards to the Modern Art Museum, they saw it all! I also helped at the elementary school during the two weeks to ensure communication between FWISD and FWSCI was going smoothly.

I had so much fun helping out these campers and meeting our guests from Toluca, Mexico. At the end of camp, the two professors from Toluca gifted me with beautiful handmade shot glasses from their hometown. I will treasure them forever!

ILA

When I interviewed originally for the office internship with FWSCI, my boss recommended that I also interview for a spot as an ILA (International Leadership Academy) facilitator. I am so glad that I did! Getting to actually participate in camp after months of the office “planning” side of things was incredibly rewarding.

ILA camp has been going on for 28 years in Fort Worth. Top students from all 8 of our Sister Cities travel to the United States to participate in this two-week leadership academy, held at TCU, that aims to promote both cultural understanding and leadership skills. It was such a privilege to work with these young adults. This year, we had about 60 students.

Throughout the two weeks, I got to know my 8 group members (as well as my co-facilitator from Toluca!) particularly well. Team Dream High, you will always hold a special place in my heart! Thank you for all of your hard work!

After classes, we ventured out as a large group to many places around DFW including UNT, Group Dynamix, the Water Gardens and the Fort Worth Stockyards. I had so much fun showing people from all over the world my home here in Texas.

It was also an honor to get to work with so many amazing faciltators, who hailed from Toluca, Mexico and Nagaoka, Japan. I miss you guys!

Home Hosting

After camp was over, my family hosted two students from Swaziland who needed a host family for one night before their crazy 24 hour travel day back to Swaziland.

My family had a blast welcoming these girls into our home. We went to church on Sunday morning, had Torchy’s Tacos for lunch, visited the Gaylord Hotel and Grapevine Lake, and had a wonderful family dinner night. America’s Got Talent was a favorite for us all.

Thank you FWSCI!

I would like to thank everyone associated with Fort Worth Sister Cities for making this summer so memorable. It is such a privilege and a blessing to make friends from all over the world.

In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower himself,

 “Accomplishment will always prove to be a journey, not a destination.”

Thank you all for being a part of my journey!

 

Reflections United States

Tips and stories: Transitioning back to reality

I’ve now been back in the good ol’ US of A for about a month – a month filled of happiness, great food, and some confusing transitioning moments.

Happy times back in Tejas

So far, time at my lovely home in Texas has been filled with some great moments. I absolutely love spending time with family and I have missed my parent’s home cooking! Yesterday we celebrated Father’s Day in our traditional Sunday night way – with a cookout. Afterwards, we headed over to Steel City Pops for the best popsicles in the world.

This summer, I’m also working at my first ever big-girl internship for Fort Worth Sister Cities! The Sister Cities Program basically functions as the international department for Fort Worth. I even get my own office in the City Hall Annex Building downtown! This month, I have been working hard on planning for FWISD and Sister Cities’ Spanish Immersion Camp. Currently, 10 college-age facilitators from our sister city Toluca, Mexico are visiting Fort Worth and teaching a group of 70 FWISD elementary schoolers Spanish! The students are so extremely intelligent and speak incredible Spanish – I’m jealous!

I also got to take a little getaway trip with my boyfriend, Harrison, for his birthday trip. I found this adorable Airbnb out in the country in Texas on a cattle ranch. We spent the weekend exploring the property, cooking some great food, feeding the animals (INCLUDING AN ALPACA NAMED PERCY), and doing yoga on the backporch. It was such a relaxing getaway!

Transitioning back home

Time abroad was an absolute whirlwind of challenging classwork, meeting new friends, traveling to new places, and figuring out things independently. After the best 5 months of my life filled with adventure and extremely difficult moments alike, finding my “place” back home has had its trials. “Reverse culture shock” is an actual thing. America is quite different than Europe as a whole. People work more, everything is open later, there is little public transportation available… among other things. Even though classwork abroad was challenging, I appreciated it because I was always growing and learning and changing as a result of the challenges I was faced with.

At home, I am not quite as carefree and independent as I was abroad. I don’t have the luxury anymore of hopping on a plane and landing immersed in an entirely different culture for $50. The stress of working full-time is much different than the stress of balancing schoolwork and travel because its not all as enjoyable. 

However, time at home can be just as exciting as life abroad, it’s just up to you to make it that way! Here are some things I’m focusing on to seek out the adventure in my own daily life:

1) Creating new adventures

At home, it is easier to get caught up in the monotony of life than when you are abroad and forced to adventure. I love going into Fort Worth or Dallas for dates with Harrison, going to the lake, trying new restaurants, or searching for cool Airbnbs in the area!

2) Starting a new project

Quite recently, I spontaneously bought a Fujifilm Polaroid-style camera and I am a bit obsessed. There is something about these cameras that capture moments in such a different, nostalgic, and real way. You only get one shot and it better be good! I’m trying to take one photo each day all summer. Memories captured can be special moments, people I meet, or “boring” things turned interesting by the camera capture. Check out how handsome my boyfriend is – this was my first Polaroid shot attempt! If you are interested in following along with my project, you can find me on Instagram at @Polaroidsdaily !

3) Remembering to make time for things I enjoy

Sometimes, after a long day or week of work, I am so tired  that I become complacent. But, I actually feel better when I keep pushing myself and participating in the summer activities I enjoy. For me, these include yoga, reading, lake time, and sand volleyball! Activities that you love often have a cool ability of re-energizing you!

4) Getting involved in the international community here at home

One of the reasons I love my internship at Fort Worth Sister Cities is because it allows me to still connect with the international community right here in DFW! Volunteering is another great way to get involved.

5) Listening to people

Just the other day, I met a fellow co-worker at Lifetime Fitness who recently moved to America by herself from Honduras. Her story, filled with emotion and the sorrow of leaving her family behind in Honduras was extremely powerful. People are so interesting! Through listening to peoples’ stories whether in person or through books, we can interact, learn, grow, and challenge ourselves.

 

 

Whether you’re adjusting to life back home or just seeking renewal and rekindling, remember to make time for the things you love – adventure is out there!

 

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what is is, go at it full speed, embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all, become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” – Ronald Dahl

Reflections Study Abroad 2016 United States

Spring Break in the Hamptons

Yet again, I have another long overdue post! I’m currently preparing to spend my Spring semester (2017) abroad and I am just in the traveling zone! While abroad, I plan on posting regularly about my new adventures. Therefore, there will be an eclectic mix of education related and personal posts – exactly what I had originally planned!

In the spring of my freshman year I was coasting through, just planning to go home to Texas. Then, on a random Wednesday dinner at Colonnades, my friend Connor randomly asked if I would be interested in joining him and some other friends on a road trip to the Hamptons. I immediately knew that I had to go. When else would I ever have the opportunity to go to the Hamptons?! I called both parents and BEGGED them to let me stay with my friends until Thursday and then take a weekend plane home to Texas for Easter weekend and my birthday celebration. Thankfully, they agreed.

A couple weeks later and my squad was off! I was crazy excited for my first trip to New York. We left on a Friday after class and booked it to Jersey where Connor lives. When we finally got in at 2:00 am, Mrs. Mathis had authentic Jersey pizza and air mattress beds made up for all of us. Early the next morning, we headed into New York City after more leftover pizza and coffee (of course).

13125018_10209158533029639_7009532000061460146_n

Jersey train station

13138757_10209158532749632_207113551450726901_n

I couldn’t believe how expensive this forty-five minute train ride was at $20! When we got off the train and walked outside I was immediately overwhelmed. I knew that there would be big buildings and lots of people but nothing can prepare you for the chaos. People will just run into you and push you aside if you are in the way. You must dash around people to keep up and Con kept yelling, “those who live below the Mason Dixon Line, KEEP UP!” AKA Alex Hale were lagging a bit behind. We only had an afternoon so we mostly just walked around. I saw Rockefeller Center and Times Square and lots of areas I’d only seen on TV. Before heading out, we went to a fun small comedy show. While I enjoyed getting to see the city, our group of 8 was a bit large!

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The Hamptons at last! We left Con’s around 10am and headed to Cody’s incredible Hampton home in Sag Harbor. I was super excited to finally see what his house was like. I got to ride with my good friend Alex Hale and jam out to his dad tunes per usual over the two and a half hours or so to Cody’s. The crossing into the Hamptons is apparent. You can tell simply by the cars traveling the opposite direction. Range Rovers, G Wagons, and Mercedes galore. Alex and I got there before everyone else and had time to take in the exterior.

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The style in the Hamptons was not what I was expecting. The houses have a kind of wood exterior that is painted. Cody’s house was all white and modern looking with windows everywhere. It was gorgeous! The others arrived shortly and we walked inside. I have never been more amazed in my entire life. The inside was absolutely stunning. Everywhere you looked was sleek and white, and Cody’s mom had left gifts for us on the counters. Cody gave us a house tour and everyone snapped pictures. Each bedroom was furnished with a walk in custom closet, smart TV, and gorgeous bathroom with a rain shower. I never wanted to leave. That shower changed my life. Additionally, Cody’s parents left us an abundance of groceries. That night for dinner they treated us at a local steakhouse. 

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DAY 1

This first full day was just a lazy day. We woke up late and went to walk around town. Sarah and I were drawn to an adorable little local bookstore. I love places like that. It saddens me to think that actual bookstores won’t exist forever. I bought a book that didn’t look like my type on impulse probably because of the cover. It was called Euphoria (more about it later). We also went to some adorable little boutiques downtown. Unfortunately, I started feeling unwell that night. My throat was killing me and I decided that I should probably go to the doctor the next day. I couldn’t sleep this night and went into Jenna and Connor’s room just for company. I don’t think I’ve felt such deep affection for friends in a long time. They are the lifelong college friends that everyone talks about and I love them so much!

IMG_7012

DAY 2

Tuesday started off with the doctor’s trip. Mumsy found a little local doctor right downtown. Cody and Jenna came with me. It was a weird little place. The doctor and receptionist seemed quite rude. My quick strep came back negative but I took the antibiotics anyway because I feel so bad. I’m glad I did because I certainly feel a lot better. Later in the day everyone went to a movie in the afternoon but since I wasn’t feeling well I stayed home and started my book, Euphoria. I was drawn in immediately. It is about 3 anthropologists studying tribes in New Guinea in the 1930’s. Two are married and the other man is lonely and attracted to the other woman. Nearly the whole book goes on without an affair happening, tension building. 

When the others got back we decided to eat at the Irish Pub downtown. I ordered gnocchi with clam sauce – it was wonderful. I didn’t feel that well again that night but stayed up late finishing my book. I have not sobbed at the ending of a book like that in a good long time. I think what is different about Euphoria is that it isn’t your typical romance novel. The love isn’t about the sex – it is about intellectual attraction. It all builds throughout the entire novel and it is only at the end that physical things come into play. The threat of death forces them to leave, though and it ends tragically before they can end up together. I sobbed. Absolutely sobbed.

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DAY 3

Thankfully, I was feeling a lot better this morning. We took a group trip over to Manuak about 30 minutes or so away to the beach and famous lighthouse. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The beach was rocky, yet pristine. We took pictures and adventured around enjoying the beautiful weather. I need to insert a couple pictures here. My life just seems so unreal. I’m pretty sure we will be taking the summer trip to Belize and England is only 9 months away (I am posting this so late and it is only one month away!!!). I turn 19 in 6 days (now actually 19!) That also seems crazy. After the beach we went downtown and found a cute local pizza place to eat. Most places were closed still since the Hamptons aren’t yet in season. I had shrimp scampi over linguini and it was delicious. For dinner we had a “scramble.” I had a grilled cheese with bacon and avocado and I am certainly not complaining.

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Last Day

This catches us up to today. I woke up at 8 am, packed my last minute things, ate some yogurt, and Alex and I were off. I was in charge of driving today since he has to drive the rest of the way to Elon tonight. The drive was nice and easy except for the part right around NYC. It was quite the experience, however. I loved having the opportunity to experience New York. We stopped halfway for lunch at a little New Jersey rest stop. I was good and had a Greek salad. I “dropped myself off” at the airport and said goodbye to Alex and now he’s driving and I’m on this plane. It was delayed a bit too which is frustrating so I should get into Love Field around 7:45 Dallas time.

Easter Weekend

Spending Easter Weekend home with my family was lovely! We went to brunch at my grandparents, dyed Easter eggs, and relaxed! Since my birthday was the Tuesday I’d be going back to class, we also celebrated. Overall, it was the perfect way to end my first college Spring Break. Texas was definitely just a bit warmer than the Hamptons!

Trips United States

Gettysburg

 

Travel Day to Gettysburg (January 18th)

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Above is the gorgeous view out of our Gettysburg hotel window.

Thankfully, the Gettysburg portion of the trip is only 2 nights and one full day. By this point of the trip, we were all ready to go home and a bit sick of museums. Additionally, there aren’t many restaurant options in the town. We ate at TGI Friday’s once which was altogether disappointing and then ordered delivery from Tommy’s Pizza one night which was a much better decision.

Main Day (January 19th)

Gettysburg National Military Park

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I was pleasantly surprised at Gettysburg’s treatment of slavery and its role in causing the Civil War. Slavery was a key point of discussion during the orientation film and throughout the museum exhibits. The orientation video began by explaining that in the year 1860 when the country was preparing for a new President, slavery was the hot topic. The question was not whether or not to outlaw slavery but whether or not the institution of slavery would be expanded. For the south, slavery was vital to the agricultural economy. One third of white families owned slaves. When Lincoln (a Republican against slavery) won the Presidency, southern states began to secede. A devastating war would soon follow. By the time the Union claimed victory, 620,000 soldiers died.

The cyclorama was probably one of the coolest things that I’ve ever seen. It is absolutely incredible that something that big and realistic could be created in about a year. During the audio explanation of the battle the technological effects dramatized the painting in an awesome way. I was not surprised to hear that veterans who have seen the painting wept in remembrance of the day. Despite how awesome the painting is I noticed that the audio soundtrack unnecessarily repeated a lot of things that we had just heard in the orientation video. The cyclorama focused more though on the battle itself rather than the causes of the war and the issue of slavery. I thought that this was okay considering that the orientation video and museum focus on it plenty.

The Gettysburg museum argues that the Civil War was fought over three issues: Union survival, the fate of slavery and the common rights of citizenship. I thought that these points were all very well developed via the orientation film and museum exhibits. Although slavery is discussed the most, the museum also does a good job of dealing with the other causes. It argues that while the South’s reasoning for rebellion against the Union is to end slavery, the Union cares more about trying to preserve America. The North refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession and feared that the Civil War would tear the states apart and delegitimize democracy.

Additionally, the museum argues that the war was fought over the common rights of citizenship. Lincoln reminds us all during the Gettysburg Address that all men are created equal. Indeed, this is the great contradiction of the United States and its acceptance of slavery during the time period. In several places throughout the museum and in Lincoln’s speech it is mentioned that the soldiers have not died in vain. The North used the Civil War as a way to accomplish something huge: freeing the slaves. No longer would the Constitution be a contradiction. Very few men during this time believed that blacks were equal to whites. Although progress would be slow, the Civil War was the beginning of turning America into a better and more equal nation.

I did not find the Gettysburg museum suffered from a pro-Confederate bias. The orientation video, cyclorama, museum and bus tour all stayed focused on telling about each side’s reasons for war and efforts during the battle. Even though the Confederate side was weaker, they refrained from pinning them as ragtag underdogs like McCullough does to the American side in 1776. I think that the Gettysburg makeover did a great job of getting rid of any bias towards either side. Slavery was pinned as the key reason for the war and the issue of secession was not treated lightly. I remember talking about in class how it was the Sons of Confederate Veterans who did a lot of the retelling of the war, especially in the South. I did not see evidence of their impact on the Gettysburg museum and sites (but perhaps just on the monuments themselves which we did not analyze closely). Both sides of the war were spoken of as facts and while southerners weren’t pinned as the devil for wanting to preserve slavery, they certainly were not praised either. During the bus tour though we did see some of the state monuments that Loewen talks about in his book. Our tour guide did not really delve into the issue of their bias and whether or not they served to praise the Confederate cause. It makes sense though that the Sons of Confederate veterans and other groups would try to glorify the cause their ancestors fought for.

The downfall of my Gettysburg experience was the bus tour. I was trying to stay positive and remember that this was our last history lesson of the trip, but unfortunately Bob’s rudeness made it hard to do so. This tour was also a lot of detail about what seemed like every moment of the battle and each side’s position on the grounds. We had already covered a lot of the basics about each of the 3 days during the museum portion. While it was cool to see where the battle was fought, I found it very hard to stay interested during two whole hours of discussion on the details. I felt very singled out and uncomfortable by Bob’s questions throughout the tour. The tour could’ve been better had we had a better guide and perhaps more about the monuments and the Civil War as a whole. I felt completely overwhelmed with the amount of detail about Gettysburg and I cannot imagine that many people who want a bus tour want or can retain that much-detailed information about a battle.

Headed Home (January 20th)

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The History Study Tour was such an incredible class and experience and I wish I could live it all again! From Jim’s jokes, to endless museum days, to Italian food in North End – I wouldn’t change a thing. It is the opportunities like this that Elon provides that makes our teacher education program so special. We aren’t just memorizing facts in a history textbook, we’re getting out in the world and learning about it!

Class Wrap-Up

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Unfortunately, the last day in Gettysburg does not equal the last day of class. You still have your journal and thematic essay due when you get back. Keep in mind that Jim does grade these and does not give out the “easy A.” Try to finish your journal on the bus so you can have it ready to turn in on that last day of class! Then, you can switch gears and knock out your thematic essay.

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Thanks for following along with me on the History Study Tour! Good luck on your own traveling and blogging escapades. Stay hungry for adventure ❤

Love,

Courtney

Class Projects ENG 319 Final History Study Tour Teaching Fellows Trips United States

Boston

 

While you have four nights in Boston, you only get three full days! There is TONS to see in Boston and so many amazing places to eat! Use the “t” line train and take advantage of every second!

 

Travel Day (January 14th)

Quincy Market

IMG_5201.JPGFaneuil Hall

 

IMG_5202.JPGLobster Mac and Cheese

 

12540521_10204667464921437_4857469800735057068_n (1).jpgThis Wydham Hotel is the best of the trip!

 

 

Day 1 (January 15th)

IMG_5215.JPGOld South Meeting House

IMG_5205.JPGOld North Church

 

On day 1 in Boston we visited the Old South Meeting House and Old North Church, both of which were built during the Revolutionary War time period. Both of these buildings are quite beautiful to look at and it was interesting to see how different churches looked like back in those days compared to now. Both also feature box pews that families purchased to sit in during sermons. They were useful in keeping warm and families might even bring blankets or even the family dog to help with heat. On the second level, poor people and people of color could have free seating.

Old South Meeting House was a Quaker Church and Meeting House. In 1773 when the tea act was passed, meetings about what to do were held here. Samuel Adams, member of the Sons of Liberty, helped to organize a plan in which a group of Americans dumped over 340 chests of tea in the Boston harbor. Sixteen months later the war would begin. As McCullough mentions in his book 1776, the British turned this building into the Queen’s riding school when they overtake Boston. After the war, the Quaker people refurbished the church. The guide’s discussion of what happened at the Old South Meeting House was very interesting but it was a bit hard to stay focused in a sort of lecture hall style discussion of the events. We sat in the pews while she discussed what all had occurred here. In the back of the church, a timeline and exhibition were set up to further explain the course of events. These were very helpful in gaining a greater understanding of the time period and maps were useful in picturing what Boston used to look like.

Old North Church is the oldest church in Boston at almost 300 years old and is still a working church today. The woman who spoke at this church did not seem very enthused to be here. She told Paul Revere’s story and explained how the Revolution began. There were no exhibitions or any other ways to get information and I left feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused about why we visited that site. She spoke so quickly with so little emphasis on anything that I struggled to understand the importance of the site as a whole. The church itself though (especially the organ!) was absolutely beautiful.

 

Lunch

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Kristy and I broke off from the group on this afternoon to fuel up with some carbs before we took on the Freedom Trail! Since the weather looked bad on the next day, we decided to knock it all out at once. I actually suggest this because it gives you more free time on the next day. Lunch was at an Italian place in North End called Strega. The owner is pictured above and was hysterical. Lovely place!

 

Freedom Trail

IMG_5214.JPGState Capital

 

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That last picture of fellow Teaching fellow Megan perfectly describes how I felt after completing the Freedom Trail. My Freedom Trail experience was exhausting but rewarding. I really enjoyed getting a chance to explore the city while learning about history at the same time. Following the ‘red brick road’ around the city was almost like a game. However, we struggled to find a few of the sites and some did better job than others of interpreting and explaining Boston’s history. According to Young the Freedom Trail has improved greatly over the last few decades, but there is definitely still improvements to be made.

Slavery was popular during this time, and none of the sites on the Freedom Trail really pay proper homage to that. The different burial grounds commemorate the different white men and skim over the slaves that are buried. We risk fragmenting history, especially concerning race and gender, when we split up history into different trails. Boston also offers a Black Heritage Trail and a Women’s History Trail. This takes the pressure off the Freedom Trail to properly recognize these groups.

 

Celtics Game

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12439048_866259050139734_3567691762768250488_n.jpgDana, Megan, Emma

 

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996781_10204653948823543_3507614492626427747_n.jpgPersonal shoutout on the Jumptron!

 

The Celtics Game was definitely one of the highlights of my trip! Fellow Allie Roth organized a group rate with the tickets and even had them flash a welcome across the jumbotron for us to see! TD Garden is a great arena and getting out of the hotel and doing something fun was awesome. I definitely recommend planning a group activity like this. We did have to Uber there and back because it was a couple mile walk.

 

 

Day 2 (January 16th)

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Old State House

 

First on the schedule this morning was a visit to the Old State House. The tour began with a short introduction discussing the building’s history. The building housed Massachusetts’s government between 1713 and 1798 and became the state house in 88’ before the move to Beacon Hill. After the government’s move the building went through several different hardships before it became the Boston owned museum that it is today. At the end of the tour there were two more lecture style information sessions about the council chamber and the Boston Massacre. While it was clear that the tour guides were passionate about the topics they were speaking on, the lecture style sessions failed to capture our attention without any use of visual aide. This site in particular did not seem to have quite adapted to technology.

The museum calls itself an ‘American Revolution museum’, and as expected, most of the information on those two floors was very repetitive to some of the other museums that we have visited. There was a lot of information about Boston’s role as a thriving seaport and the important men that led during the time of war. The museum was clearly biased towards Boston and told about its role in the Revolutionary War. I preferred the Boston Tea Party Museum and Yorktown’s hands on approach to telling about the war. It is much harder to retain information and imagine the time period when you are simply listening to a lecture or reading an exhibit versus an interactive lesson or video presentation.

 

Soul Cycle

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One evening a small group of us went to try out a near-by Soul Cycle Class! A couple of the girls had memberships and the rest of us were able to go for free since it was our first time. The class was a great mix of challenging and fun. I was completely exhausted but the upbeat music keeps you going!

 

Light Dinner

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Great, light post-workout meal! This place is near Soul Cycle and has incredible salads made with all local ingredients.

 

 

Day 3 (January 17th)

Boston Tea Party Museum

The Boston Tea Party Museum was a nice change of pace from some of the more traditional sites and museums that we have seen, but I felt that it was aimed too much towards little kids. It reminded me of my middle school history lessons and tours, and Young mentions it in his article as a museum run for profit. The tour began with a skit reenacting a meeting at the Old South Meeting House about the outrage that took place when the Tea Act was put into place. Three ships of tea sat in the harbor and the colonists had twenty days to decide what to do with it before the contents of the ships could be seized. The governor refused the last request at compromise and so the colonists decided that they must act. The plan of action (dumping the tea overboard) is one of the best-kept secrets in American history because it was considered an act of treason.

After this original informative skit where we were encouraged to yell and chime in, we went outside in the freezing rain onto one of the ships to pretend like we were throwing tea overboard. While it was sort of fun to pretend like we were committing treason, it was really cold and wet and I honestly just wanted to go back inside. Next we went through several indoor interactive exhibits. We watched two women, one loyalist and one patriot, discuss which stance had more merit. Additionally, we saw one of the two surviving chests from the Tea Party, watched two paintings argue with one another and watched a short film on the start of the Revolutionary War. This museum was more focused on patriotism and out on the boat I felt like I should be running around chanting “USA!” After the tour ended we were invited upstairs for tea.

 

Bunker Hill

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The Bunker Hill site consists of a monument and museum. The Bunker Hill monument itself was created to commemorate the fallen American soldiers in an understated and classy manner. It was built between 1825 and 1842 and dedicated in 1843. I found it very interesting that the monument association decided not to have names, dates or events recorded on the monument. They wanted the monument to serve more as a symbol for national unity that honored the soldier’s sacrifice. The Washington monument was later modeled after the Bunker Hill monument.

At the entrance to the museum there was a brief overview of the Battle of Bunker Hill that explained that although the Americans lost, the battle was a significant strategy gain that showed that American troops were a force to be reckoned with. However, this is the only place in the entire museum that I could find that even mentioned that the Americans lost the battle of Bunker Hill! We incurred devastating losses. The town of Charlestown was badly burned and wrecked during the battle and it took them years to rebuild. Only one small area of the museum was dedicated to British leaders and perspective. The museum reminded me a lot of 1776’s treatment of the Revolutionary War and constant reminders that the Americans were the “ragtag, underdog” army. This sort of pinning was evident throughout the museum. As we’ve heard several times during class and throughout this trip, the victor tells history. It is interesting though that we were not the victors of the Battle at Bunker Hill, yet we still place so much importance on it in American History. Young mentions the Bunker Hill museum and monument in his article.

 

Last Dinner

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This little Italian place was absolutely incredible. It was only about a 7-8 minute walk in the snow from our hotel, and it is thus far the best meal I’ve ever eaten. Inside is tiny and candlelit – the perfect date venue. Luckily I was there on a date with two of my two best friends. They had a 3 course dinner option for $40 and while that is definitely a splurge, I knew it would be my last great dinner of the trip. I started with beef tenderloin and portobello mushroom fondue, then had pettini (scallops), and finally ciacolotto (chocolate cake). Meal of a lifetime.

 

On to Gettysburg (January 18th)

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Leaving Boston was SO sad. I didn’t expect to love this city in the way that I did and I will definitely be back. Three days is not enough time!

 

Follow my blog to see our final stop – Gettysburg!

Love,

Courtney

Class Projects ENG 319 Final History Study Tour Teaching Fellows Trips United States

Philly

Arriving (January 10th)

Jim’s Philly Cheesesteaks

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To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with Jim’s! It has won awards for best Philly cheesesteaks and I had high expectations. I found it to be a bit dry and just not that special. Maybe I’m just spoiled by Texas meats. This being said, it’s Philly! You HAVE to try a Philly cheesesteak. Above is my adorable friend Kristy digging in.

Cartilage Piercing

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Yep, I got my cartilage pierced on our first night! I’d been wanting to get it done for a while and when I saw all of the tattoo parlors down the main strip I got impulsive. The shop where I got it done was fantastic. It was a bit pricey, but the quality service and real metal earring definitely made it worth it! If you’re looking for something slightly rebellious to do, this is it.

Day 1 (January 11th)

Independence National Historic park

(Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Liberty Bell, President’s House)

IMG_5092.JPGDefinite Kodak moment with Kristy
IMG_5094.JPGIndependence Hall
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Independence National Historic Park was a great start to our sightseeing in Philadelphia. We rose early and the sites were only a short walk from our hotel.

It was clear from visiting the various sites today that Philadelphia is a city rich in history. Our day started with a visit to the Visitor’s Center where we watched the two orientation films that were offered there. The first video, Choosing Sides, told stories of various people that lived during the Revolutionary War and the difficult decision they had to make in choosing which side to support. Some were loyalists who stayed true to the British, some Patriots who vied for independence, some Patriots who thought a declaration of independence was too risky and some thought war wrong altogether and did not know which side to support. The second video was a story of independence that explained the thought process behind the revolution and writing of the declaration, which was thought to be a death sentence. It was not until 1787 that a national government was finally founded and a constitution was written in America’s original capitol, Philadelphia.

Next, we crossed the street to see the Liberty Bell Museum. The Liberty Bell is on display in Philly and is well known as a cultural icon that can be used as a symbol in relation to almost every American cause. It was originally named the state house bell and later renamed by the abolitionists. The Liberty Bell is a symbol of liberty and the struggle for freedom and is an inspiration for patriotic sacrifice. After the Civil War, the bell becomes a symbol of national reunification. The bell was also used symbolically in the fight for women’s suffrage. Despite the cracks, the bell symbolizes the never-ending quest for freedom giving it the ability to resonate with people of different cultures from all over the world.

To be quite honest, I had trouble staying focused during the tour guide’s explanations of Independence Hall and Congress Hall that we saw later in the day. The information seemed to be repetitive from the things we have learned by reading 1776 and the Moodle Articles and the tour guides spent too much time droning on about each minute thing that had happened in each room, particularly in Independence Hall. Both put emphasis on the “fact” that what happened in those rooms changed the course of American History forever.

The first time I walked by I completely missed the President’s House. I was expecting it to be an actual house and instead it was just a few little signs. It explains that history is not “neat” and instead we must think about the contradiction of our country: the rising of liberty during a time of slavery. The plaques pay tribute to the slaves and explain in detail the hardships they were forced to endure while crossing the sea and in American homes across the country. President George Washington owned and transported slaves, a troubling thing to think about. Learning that some of history’s greatest heroes made mistakes are important because we as a society need to learn from those mistakes. Hearing that our Constitution required the return of escaped enslaved people to be returned to their owners is shocking and sad. The President’s House does a wonderful job of teaching visitors about the horrors of slavery in hopes that we can learn from our predecessor’s mistakes. I hope that the President’s House will set an example for other parks and museums around the country.

Mrs. K’s Coffee

IMG_5096.JPGCutest little place to stop for breakfast or lunch!

Liberty Museum

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IMG_5109.JPGKristy bear
IMG_5110.JPGPals

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This afternoon (the 11th) my group chose to visit the Liberty Museum – my favorite place we have been thus far! Upon entering, we watched a short orientation film that greatly encompassed the themes of museum as a whole. It began by asking, “what does liberty look like?” Liberty looks like people working together and choosing their own path. Liberty is an opportunity that sometimes it requires that you risk it all. Liberty is not a destination, but a long journey. Liberty is not about what you can’t do, but about what you can do. Both the museum and the video emphasized that there are all different kinds of heroes. There were exhibits dedicated to political heroes from all over the world and exhibits dedicated to young kids who have stood up to make a difference. Some honored have faced jail time for standing up for what is right while others have even faced death.

I really appreciated how inclusive this particular museum was. People of all different backgrounds, cultures and religions were recognized. There was a room dedicated to America’s religious roots that had several displays incorporating Native American religion. It is so rare to see them included despite the fact that they were technically the original settlers of the America’s. Although there were more sections dedicated to the United States than any other country, I felt that the museum did not put America on a pedestal. On the contrary, they showed that America could be a tough cruel place at times. In one part of the museum we had the opportunity to write down mean things that we have been called or that we have called other people and then shred the paper, symbolizing those words leaving our vocabulary. I left the museum feeling inspired, refreshed and free. Philadelphia has already managed to steal my heart and we had only been here one day.

Chinatown

IMG_5115.JPGCutest friends

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12512318_10204634089727078_6443570528619551868_n.jpgCute lil’ tea cups

Chinatown is an absolute must-see in Philly! It is quite the adorable neighborhood. We looked online to get some recommendations on where to eat and settled on a place called the Peking Duck. Upon first approach, this place absolutely terrified us. There were tons of dead ducks hanging in the window and it didn’t look the nicest. However, we took a chance and the food was absolutely incredible. I ordered Kung Pao Chicken and it was the best I’ve ever had. I’m sure any of the duck dishes would be amazing as well. Additionally, they serve ice cream for dessert!

Day 2 (January 12th)

12565419_775199582625156_5058829242487763560_n.jpgFriends take on the Magic Gardens

National Constitution Center

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The National Constitution Center is a very modern museum. You start off going into a large circular stadium room where a live play is shown. Then, you are shown upstairs to another big circular room full of loads of information. My main issue with this museum was that all of the text was overwhelming and not broken up well. It seemed as if they were trying to spew every pro-American text and argument at us.

We must keep in mind that at big national historic sites they are trying to inspire patriotism and unity among us all. It makes sense that they would not bring up problems that arise with the Constitution and instead focus on what all it accomplishes. The short play at the Constitution Center focuses on the fact that the Constitution allows for change and opportunity for people of all different cultures and backgrounds. Some would argue that the Constitution does not provide a true democracy though. Nonetheless, many nations have modeled their own governments after the United States and it is important to remember how lucky we are to be born in this great nation.

Overall I found the museum to be very pretty and appealing, but with an overwhelming amount of information. Everywhere I looked there were paragraphs and paragraphs about every section of the Constitution and how it came to be. While this is all very interesting, I found myself struggling to decide what I needed to read and what I could skim over.

Fireman’s Hall

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FullSizeRender.jpgMarlies and I

Our second visit was to Fireman’s Hall. This is a two-story museum filled with different old-school fire station gear and information about Philadelphia firefighters both past and present. This site is meant to pay tribute to the men and women who have bravely worked to keep their state safe. I was glad to see that they had an area dedicated to discussing segregation of the fire station and how that segregation came to an end. Fireman’s Hall was a cool and fun place to visit clearly geared towards families. It definitely does heroify the men who have served as Philadelphia firemen. I’m not sure however, that this is a bad thing. Firefighters risk their lives every day and are either volunteer or underpaid. In my eyes, they deserve the upmost recognition and praise. It is men like them that keep our country running strong.

This site was cute, short, and entertaining. You get to dress up in uniforms! I highly recommend it.

Betsy Ross’s House

My group’s third visit was to the Betsy Ross house. We walked through the home and stopped in a small room where “Betsy Ross” explained her line of work. She explained that she is not a seamstress but an upholsterer. Before making flags she focused on curtains and other cloth items. Then, according to legend, she was asked by George Washington to make a flag for the colonies. Considering that this was treason against England, she had to sew the flag in her chamber. It is so interesting to me that even though we have no evidence that Betsy Ross actually made a flag, thousands of people tour her home and listen to her little speech every year. Symbols in America catch on so quickly that it is tough to decipher what is true and what is false. If you (Dr. Bissett) hadn’t mentioned that Betsy Ross hadn’t actually done anything, I would’ve gone my whole life believing something that has no evidence to back it up. We heroify people who have done nothing at all.

This site is really nothing special. It is a completely fabricated and yet they are collecting money for people to go see it! We walked through this one quite quickly.

Race Street Cafe

12438966_10204638429235563_5348607910709138712_n.jpgChicken Roulade and Ricotta Gnocchi

The Race Street Cafe had phenomenal food but terrible customer service. I’d still recommend it for a lunch, but make sure you go with a small group and ask for separate checks beforehand! I would recommend both the chicken roulade and ricotta gnocchi and the deconstructed quinoa Napoleon.

Happily Ever After

12540635_10204634587579524_7767112932769428863_n.jpgMarlies and Megan
12509300_10208197647768108_4781135797777589616_n.jpgMy pal Sully
IMG_5140.JPGMacaroons and a caramel macchiato
IMG_5145.JPGChocolate Belgian waffle

GO TO THIS PLACE. Book your flight, do it right now. Not only are the Belgian waffles, macaroons, and espresso drinks incredible, but they have Disney stuffed animals all over the place. You can’t go here and leave unhappy. If we had one of these in my town I’d be there every single day.

Day 3 (January 13th)

Eastern State Penitentiary

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Eastern State Penitentiary was probably my favorite mandatory site that we visited despite the frigid weather. Something about old creepy jails is sort of fascinating. It was also a nice break from the typical museums. The “hands on” method of teaching reminded me of our trip to Yorktown where we got to explore the soldier’s barracks and try to all fit inside a tent. Stepping inside the jail cell at Eastern State made the experience all the more real to me. I also found it interesting that a lot of current jailing tactics were learned during the time period of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Before Eastern State came to be there was the Walnut Street Jail. All of the jailors were kept in one room and antics ran rampant. Guards were corrupt and inmates did not learn their lesson. Eastern State Petitionary’s goal was to change this with the separate system. This required inmates to be in their cell 23 hours a day with only an hour allowed for exercise. Over time this proved to be unmaintainable and unrealistic. The jail became overcrowded, inmates began to go crazy and security began to fail. Although security at jails has improved, America has yet to find the “perfect method.” Our tour guide showed us a shocking statistic comparing how many people were in jail during the time of Eastern State compared to now. It has risen almost 600%. This is not only bad for society, but also a bad use of tax money. Clearly, something needs to change.

Over the last few months’ legislation has been passed to decriminalize some drugs and even legalize it in some cases. America cannot afford to continue down the path of jailing so many. A solution must be found. Eastern State is an important part of American History because it is a great example to teach that learning and progress never stop. Like we discussed in class, mistakes repeat themselves. In order to stop that cycle, we must learn about these mistakes and how to fix them. America must keep the spirit of experimentation and progress at its forefront in order to stay ahead. Perhaps there is no “perfect” solution to jail or anything else, but it is vital that we continue to try to better ourselves.

Franklin’s Ice Cream

12508685_10204673597674752_4606183564070600509_n.jpgRachel and Katie

This place is WAY overpriced, but is adorable and has fantastic ice cream!

On to Boston (January 14th)

IMG_5185.JPGFirst time driving through NJ and NY
IMG_5189.JPGNew York!

Brb, currently craving that Belgian waffle. Follow my journey to our next stop – Boston!

Love,

Courtney

Class Projects ENG 319 Final History Study Tour Teaching Fellows Trips United States