Saturday, August 2, 2014


day 2 was my big day (it was my only full day). i started my day early, and in my pj's, by stopping at a coffee shop around the corner. dare i say it, but they had the best iced lattes i had ever had. it was beautiful. after, i left to the edgar allen poe national site.

cafe olé

along the way i ran into this old building and awesome sign. apparently it's a party warehouse.

the edgar allen poe national site is run by the nps and open only during limited hours. poe lived in the house for 6 years. during this time, he wrote the popular short story 'the black cat' and his wife died in the house. the house even has a cellar, which is similarly described in the story. here is where i also met another awesome park ranger. you can have the best conversations with a ranger. 

the poe home.

after, i took the subway to the mütter museum. It is a medical oddities museum. i remember being a kid and watching a special on the museum on the travel channel's paranormal fridays. 

the mütter museum

after, i walked to eastern state penitentiary. definitely, the site i was looking forward to the most and i enjoyed the most. the place is half in ruins, making it even more interesting. i remember hearing of this place years ago from the travel channel's paranormal fridays and ghosthunters. the inner ghost enthusiast from within was unleashed.

eastern state penitentary was open from 1829-1971. it was the first prison to experiment with solitary confinement and single person cells (to keep away disease) and also "reform"instead of punishment. i use that term loosely because has the u.s. really used reform affectively? it really established the present day prison system. also, al capone stayed at his prison for a while. even though the prison was only closed for a decade by the time people started to transform it for access to the public, it quickly came to ruins and a forest grew within (as seen in the pictures).

for the most part, tours are audio. if you sign up early enough, you can have a person tour, which i did have, but gave that up when i realized the audio tour provided all the information. you use an i pod type contraption and move through the rooms. each room has a number associated with it, so you can go your own pace. also, the first 10 rooms (the main tour) is narrated by steve buscemi! in total there are over 50 rooms/audio tours snippets. they also provide little tours off the public path. because the pen is so big (14 wings), not all the wings are properly set up for the public (safety), so they have quick 5 minute tours of some of the wings. i got to go to the mess hall, the doctor's office, and the actual solitary confinement punishment cells in the basement! it was so cool.

the visitors' center

the mess hall

the health wing

they even have art installations

me in my glorious backpacking garb

a selfie with the penitentiary

and down the street. intentional or unintentional, who knows?

even further down the street, a civil war memorial.

i then went to the franklin institute, a science museum geared towards younger audiences. it was ok. i think it was fun to see, but because it is so interactive it would be more fun to go with someone else. the funnest part was doing acrobatic stunts. they had an exhibit on circuses. i got to do one one of those things where you wear a harness and there are poles on each side of you with a bungee chord that connects to the harness and you get to do flips. it was not as easy as it looks. you have to gain momentum by pulling the chords and bending your knees. it was fun.  i may have been one of the only big kids, but not to toot my own horn, i did pretty well. i was able to do 3 back flips in a row and even a few front flips.

i then made my way back to the hostel. it was a good 20 blocks.

a cool art deco building.

i also stopped for pizza. it was delicious. better than what i have had in dc.

now for a song! i recently heard this song in a shop in union station. i was so surprised. the only reason i know this song is because it pops up on my bon iver pandora station. it is a good upbeat and fun song.

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