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Monday, September 28, 2015

On-The-Go Personalized Backpacks!

If there are things that you would want to give your smaller tots for them to enjoy, I found a personalized backpack that is ideal for a kid who is always on the go! Kids can be active whether in school, in a field trip, or just in anywhere they enjoy their plays.

These Stephen Joseph backpacks can be personalized based on your kid's personality and liking that he/she can truly enjoy. Plus, you can have great choices for colors and styles too! The most important thing to consider is their durability. They are perfect for school, lunch boxes as well, so, it's worth your money when you get one for your kid.

Check them out...your kids will love them! :)

The Eastern State Penitentiary - America's Most Historic Prison

Experience an interesting guided tour of the world's first true "penitentiary" when you are around Philly area. The Eastern State Penitentiary is located on the corner of 22nd and Fairmount Ave., just 5 blocks away from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) has a soaring castle-like Gothic architecture, with a Quaker-inspired design system of isolation that was finally opened in 1829.

It extends up to 11 acres in size equipped with central heat, running water, and flushing toilets, making it once the most famous and expensive prison in the world.
The founders of the penitentiary believed that solitary confinement could reform convicts through strict isolation, inspiring penitence and true regret.
ESP was built in a way resembling a church with each cell containing a Bible and a skylight representing as the "eye of God". It purposely was designed to rehabilitate rather than punish, pushing the convicts toward spiritual reflection and change. ESP was the first one to use solitary confinement, because reformists believed that isolation will lead to reflection and ultimately penitence, thus it came up with the word "penitentiary".
But the effect of solitary made many convicts become insane instead. The existence of tortuos punishments of the inmates carried by the prison's staff also contributed to this.

After 142 years of use as a penitentiary, ESP finally shut its doors in 1971.

Today, as you start walking through its corridors, you will witness the deteriorating effects of the decaying corridors as it nears 2 decades of abandonment. Nowadays, it stands in ruins with crumbling cell blocks and empty guard towers.

ESP also once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including famous gangster, Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton ("Slick Willie"). 
Al Capone's cell is still on display for viewing, which was restored as a 19th century cell. While he spent his sentence in the penitentiary, he was allowed to furnish his cell with rugs, antique furnishings and oil paintings, making him spent most of his sentence in a relative comfort at the Eastern state.

Al Capone's Cell

Tours include a glimpse of how was life like inside the prison's historic cell blocks. You can also choose to do the guided tour by one of the staff, an audio tour if you prefer to  do it at your own pace, or choose the "Terror Behind The Walls."

Friday, September 25, 2015

London Grill Restaurant in Philly!

Located at Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia is an award-winning restaurant; - The London Grill! It has also been named the "Best Neighborhood Restaurant" by the Philadelphia magazine.
Food is great! :)

Best part is, - if you're a tourist, you're eating in a restaurant at the heart of the art museum area. It is also a few meters away to the Eastern State Penitentiary, a tourist attraction! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Tour

If you are planning to visit the statue and Ellis Island, please take note and be aware that there are two ferry routes coming to and from the islands. One is a ferry coming from/to Liberty State Park (New Jersey side) and the other one is coming from/to Battery Park (New York side).
The same thing is true when you are going back. Be sure you are taking the right ferry back to where you came from, unless you plan to change your route in going back to either on the New York side or New Jersey side.

Before boarding the ferry, all visitors will have to undergo primary security screening, similar to airport security procedures. Sharp pointed objects, big bagpacks, luggages and bikes are NOT allowed.
There is a second security screening at the statue's monument entrance before visiting any area on or in the Statue.

The Statue of Liberty in the U.S. is one of the most visited park in the country, and where security is everybody's top priority. The areas worth visiting are the statue's pedestal, the crown and the Liberty Island Museum. But these areas require ticket reservations. You must either have ticket reservations to either crown or pedestal areas in order to visit the Liberty Island Museum as well.
Before you get access to the statue, you have to undergo a second security screening. Once you get past the screening, you will be entering the lobby at the pedestal area. At the center of it is the statue's original torch constructed in 1876, and was replaced by a torch made of copper in 24K gold leaf in 1984. There used to be an access to the statue's torch, but it has been closed since 1916.

Just a few steps up above the lobby is the Liberty Island Museum. At the entrance, is a huge face of Statue of Liberty made of copper.

There are lots of facts and information inside the museum comprising historical timelines and chronicles about the statue before it was built as a symbol of freedom. You will also learn about the various interpretation of the changes of the statue's design since it was erected in 1886. Tons of interesting facts that you will discover!

There are 2-3 plight of stairs going up the pedestal viewing area, but there is also an option to use the elevator if you have difficulty going up the stairs.
Once you are at the viewing deck, you'll get to see the panoramic views of the New York Harbor, Ellis Island, New York and New Jersey. Take note though that the viewing area can become so crowded. It can sometimes hinder you from taking good photos as the space around the viewing area is narrow.

Visiting the statue's crown is another separate ticket reservation. Did you know that reaching the Statue of Liberty's crown is like walking up to a 22-storey building? Yup!'s a fact! :)
If you plan to visit the crown, be sure you are able to walk at least 154 steps shaped in a spiral staircase. Another thing to take note is that there is only a limited view of the Brooklyn area from the crown level.

There are various choices you can do as well, such as self-guided audio tours (free) on the grounds of the island, as well as park ranger tours are also available daily at the park. Park Ranger tours start at the Liberty Island Flagpole that last 30-40 minutes.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum:
Just a few minutes from the Statue of Liberty is Ellis Island & the Immigration Museum. The building where 12 million immigrants used to pass through in the years 1892-1954 is now called the Immigration Museum, located in Ellis Island.

All the stories of many of these immigrants are displayed in the museum. Mostly are documented in photos, statues and memorabilias, while some are video and audio interviews.
Some display areas used to have artifacts that are no longer available due to the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.
At the upper floor of the museum is the Registry Room, ("The Great Hall").

This area was where the immigrants were inspected and processed before they could enter America. The architectural designs are still amazing including the Guastavino tiled ceilings with the Tiffany chandelier still hanging below it!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Mutter Museum

The College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is considered to be the birthplace of American medicine. It became an essential institution in the field of health due to its goals it strives to enable every individual, families and communities to take greater responsibilities in caring for their health, as well as to improve public health through service of health professionals.
It was founded as early as in the 17th century, one of the oldest professional medical organization in the country.
Today, there are almost 1,500 fellows who continue to work toward serving the public health for the better.

As part of their goal to provide the community as well as for the medical professionals a place to learn about medicine, both as a science and an art, - The Mutter Museum was born!

The Mutter Museum contains collections of various anatomical specimens, medical instruments, models and other exhibits related to human body with a goal to help both the public and health professionals learn and appreciate the historical diagnosis and treatment of diseases better. The collections are placed and done in a 19th century "cabinet museum" setting making it a unique environment to learn more about medicine and health and discover the mysteries and beauty of the human body.
Each collection is beautifully preserved with the help and care of a curator to maintain as well as to expand the collections.

The first collection actually started as early as in the 18th century as a donation from Dr. Thomas Dent Mutter whose goal was to improve and reform the medical education.
Today, the museum is continously rising in its popularity making an attendance of visitors annually to more than 130,000.

If you plan to visit, take note that photos are NOT allowed inside. So, reserve your photo sessions outside the museum. Tours are mostly self-guided.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bass Guitar Buying Guide For Newbies

Learn Bass Guitar techniques when it comes to buying one without compromising your budget. At the same time, learn how to choose the model, the convenience it can give you, and the specific features it can give you for your music.

Being a beginner in choosing your bass guitar can be tricky if you are not careful. You have to be familiar about the types and styles and at the same time stick with the recommended buying guides. You won't regret it once you do, because it's gonna be worth it at the end.

Friday, September 11, 2015

911 Museum & Memorial Tour (NY City)

The museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014 and has been recently opened thereafter in honor of the memory of those killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The museum has a huge collection of displays including artifacts and other materials that were destroyed during the attack. Displays of photos, videos are also included as well as the timeline of events of what happened in the morning of September 11, 12 years ago.

Timelines of the events are shown through images, audio, video as well as first-person accounts. Take note that the timelines contain some graphic images and sensitive contents associated with the 911 terrorist attack aftermath.
Adjacent to the museum now stand a memorial, - the twin reflecting pools which now sit where the Twin Towers used to stand before the collapse.

The 2 reflecting pools each has an acre in size and they are considered to be the largest man-made waterfalls in North America.
Bronze panels edging around the pools contain the names of all the people who died both in the 2001 and 1993 attacks. This is a powerful event as a result of a foreign attack to the US where a lot of lives was lost and where a great single loss of rescue personnel's lives were taken in the US history.

Just a quick note though: A security screening is mandatory for all visitors who enter the museum. All bags, purses, equipments and belongings should all go through the security belt. Things allowed are handbags, backpacks, tote bags as long as they are limited to 8x17x19-inch size per item.

Items such as alcohol, glass bottles, weapons or tools like knives and cutting tools, any type of marking materials like paint and markers, powdered substances and liquid soaps are NOT allowed!
Cell phones are allowed but should be placed on mute and shouldn't be used while you are inside the museum's exhibition premises.
There are places in the exhibit areas where photos are NOT allowed, but other than that, feel free to take photos as long as no flash photography is followed.

Another important reminder; - there is only one cafeteria inside the museum basing on our last visit (10/2014) which serves only cookies, bagels, coffee, juice and soda.
So, if you need to eat a decent meal, you have to go out and find one outside the museum.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Exploring Ocean City, Boardwalk (Maryland)

Ocean City is considered to be the East Coast's favorite family vacation destination, particularly during summer wherein it becomes the 2nd most populated town in Maryland as vacationers would flock the area making its visitors go up to 8 million at least in a year.
Its world famous boardwalk stretches up to 10 miles of clean beautiful beaches from the inlet to the Delaware state line.

The Ocean City Boardwalk is at the southern tip of the strip. It is where the main shopping district is, as well as an entertainment area of the town. The boardwalk has also amusement parks and recently a museum, namely the Trimpers Rides and The Pier.
Along the strip are now full of hotels, apartments, condos and shopping centers.

Experience wise, I and my husband only explored along the boardwalk, where the shopping districts are mostly located ;). Take note that Ocean City also has a downtown neighborhood marked by Victorian style houses and some other buildings, and the city is still continously expanding for more business establishments and attractions.

Exploring the boardwalk involves a lot of walking, so if you plan to be in the area for shopping, be sure you can walk at a long distance. There is a trolley that runs back and forth along the boardwalk for those who want to skip the long walks, but the trolley has a charge of $3. per person.
Otherwise you can still opt to stop fora rest. Benches are situated along the edge of the boardwalk. It's ideal to still walk if you are a shopaholic, :).

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Yellow Barn @ Shenandoah Caverns

Few meters away from the caverns is the valley's newest entertainment location, - the Yellow Barn! It offers small town shopping, historic displays of model trains and various collections of restored carriages and other farm vehicles, wine tasting, home decors, small accessories, and many more.
There is also an indoor beehive in the store where you can see the bees making their honey. But take note that the beehive is not available for viewing in the cooler months.

Kids can also enjoy playing at the playhouse, just in front of the building, and the giant frog statue for a photo session! :)

Their souvenir shop carries a wide variety of items from local wines to arts, crafts, trinkets and mementos.