The urban portion of our vacation is now complete. After a huge dinner featuring veal loin and large quantities of Montepulciano at Philadelphia’s Pompeii restaurant, I’m not good for much more than a few ramblings about the trip.
Sorry, no pictures from this segment…
The urban portion began in Boston on Sunday. After arriving in town around noon, we decided to do the core portion of the Freedom Trail, involving the Old North Church, Paul Revere’s house, and the old state house. Boston was a cool old town, but the food definitely didn’t impress.
On Monday we drove to New York, with a quick stop at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut. The Twain house was awesome, with a fascinating tour including the room where most of the magic was done, including a vintage pool table (not the actual billiard table upon which he really wrote most of his works).
On Tuesday we dined with several sciencebloggers:
MarkCC (of Good Math, Bad Math)
Orac (of Respectful Insolence)
GrrlScientist (of Living the Scientific Life)
Jake (of Pure Pedantry)
Chad (of Uncertain Principles)
We were also joined by three members of the ScienceBlogs editorial team: Christopher Mims, Katherine Sharpe, and Tim Murtaugh.
It’s one of the first times I’ve ever met face to face with people I met online. I was particularly excited to meet Chad Orzel, whose blog I’ve been reading for years before it became part of scienceblogs.com. It’s almost too bad we didn’t get to meet for longer, because in this formal a setting, it’s difficult to really get to know someone.
We also had Peking Duck for the first time ever. It’s basically pure duck fat, but it’s an amazingly tasty dish. I may now be an addict (although apparently I started with some of the best — from Peking Duck House in New York).
Wednesday we attended the Darwin exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. It’s a truly impressive exhibit. It does an amazing job of showing the sheer volume of evidence collected, and the self-conscious care Darwin took before publishing his theory. I’d challenge any creationist to attend this exhibit while reading all the provided materials and then claim there isn’t sufficient evidence for the theory of evolution.
Finally on Thursday we went to MoMa. It was the first time I’d been there since the renovations. While I still think it’s impossible to effectively show modern art neophytes what it’s all about within the few hours of a museum exhibit, I’d have to say that this new arrangement does an admirable job. My favorite part was a MirÃ³ room where we really got to see how his art evolved over the course of his career.
Today we’re in Philadelphia, in a hotel room with a spectacular view of the cityscape and the Delaware River. We visited a Ben Franklin exhibit with a nice demo about 18th century printing technology, and toured Independence Hall. The rangers there were well versed in American history, and again did a nice job explaining the historical context of the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
It’s been a good trip so far, but I’m perhaps most excited about where we’ll be headed in two days: Puerto Rico. I’ll try to have some pictures of that — it’ll be the first time I’ve been there.