Sunday, July 12, 2009


Mapquest is one of the best inventions, but I still have one BIG grumble about them and that is their last two directions. The streets don’t exist OR they moved them when they knew we were coming to town. Please tell me someone else has this problem?

The step-by-step instructions get us on the road again to Atlantic City, New Jersey this time. Today there’s no back roads for us – toll roads are calling R.’s name. He says they’ll save us an hour and a half in driving time. This sounds good to me (that is until he makes the eight stops at the toll booths and forks over a whopping $17.35). Thank goodness R. thought to get some cash before we left. God bless him.

Our travels take us over the Delaware River and did I ever mention I don’t like bridges? I’ve found in this area you don’t have a choice but to take them. Only other option - ferry a boat to get where you’re going.

I live through the traumatic ordeal and we make it to our destination on time (despite all the stops at the toll booths, breakfast/Starbucks/potty break AND (refer back up to first paragraph) not finding the last two street on our directions).

As usual, we didn’t make reservations. Thought we’d check out the area and then make our decision on where to stay. I’m so glad we did because we find a cozy bed and breakfast (The Carisbrook Inn) a block from the Boardwalk and beach.

Our room looks out over the Atlantic Ocean and the first thing we do is open all the windows and let the sea breeze in. Tiredness just evaporates and we’re ready for whatever the rest of our day has to offer.

Which is off to walk on the Boardwalk and visit some of the establishments (casinos) lining the beach. Lady luck smiles on me the first day, but leaves me high and dry the rest of the time. That’s okay, the stars align for R. and his winnings keep us in the black. No need to sell our gold to get home.

After dinner we head back to the bed and breakfast and open the windows again. We crawl into their king size bed and soon we’re fast asleep.

Early the next morning (before breakfast), we take a stroll along the beach. We don’t get very far before I stop and begin my ritual of collecting shells. I hear R. sigh deeply. The sure sign he wants me to walk faster (get a little exercise while we at it), but that’s not happening. Do I have to remind him (AGAIN) that there are treasures waiting for me to find? Anyway, I’m getting a workout – bend over, pick up shell, stand up, walk six inches and bend over. . .you get the drift.

Soon, my stomach starts to growl and I know breakfast is calling my name. We get back to the b&b and clean up and go downstairs. A couple is already sitting in the dining room. We chat with them while we wait for our fare of the day (fruit, scone, omelet, potatoes, juice – did I say we weren’t hungry after their feast?).

Another couple comes in and starts chatting with all of us. Laughter fills the room. I smile. THIS is why R. and I stay at b&b’s and why we owned one. In the matter of minutes you make friends and everyone has a tale to tell.

And, this morning, for some reason, our story seems to intrigue these people – especially the last couple. They have questions about opening up an auto repair shop. I know for a fact we spent over two hours talking to them about opening, running and maintaining a successful shop.

They listen to us and the bits of advice we give them, and then they shared their hearts with us. In the end we prayed for them. What a blessing and one we would have missed if we’d stayed at an ordinary hotel. Thank You, Lord.

We hate to leave our new friends, but need to get on the road again. Our next stop – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - and the home of the Liberty Bell.

Right in front of us is another bridge (which you know I love). This one is called the Ben Franklin Bridge. While R. drives across the monstrosity, I look for signs for the famous bell. There are none (or I didn’t see any that points us in the right direction).

But after reading the teeny-tiny map of downtown Philadelphia, I discover we’re going the WRONG direction. I tell R. to turn around and without another mishap (and my expert navigational skills-HA!) we find the Visitor’s Center.

Before we get very far inside, I see an interesting sign - Tickets for Independence Hall are SOLD-OUT! Oh my goodness, does this mean we don’t get to see the Liberty Bell? I scurry over to the counter and ask the young girl. She assures us that the bell is in another building and circles the location. We thank her and follow the map she gave us.

Liberty Bell and
Independence Hall in the background

After R. snaps a picture of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, I hear a man reading the first paragraph to his son. At first I chuckle to myself, but then realize how important this moment is. I’m witnessing a father trying to convey to his son the importance of the document in front of them. And, the reason our nation is free today.

Well, I better wrap up our Back East Bloglog for today. Stay tuned for more adventures to come.

Love ya and happy reading,

PS: What a sight!! A clown toting a tool box - either they have lots of make-up to carry or they’re a handyman wearing the outfit as a unique marketing tool. I’ll guarantee I wouldn’t forget my plumber if he came in a get-up like that one.

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