Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Philadelphia's Boy Robot - The Franklin Institute Automaton

Unerring is my hand, tho small,
may I not add with truth?
I do my best to please you all.
Encourage, then, my youth.

The above poem, though lovely in its own right, is made extraordinary by its author: a clockwork robot from 1810!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bethlehem's The Sun Inn: The Favorite Haunt of our Founding Fathers

On Main Street in Bethlehem, Pa stands a handsome stone structure dating to the very founding of our country.  The Sun Inn was constructed in 1758, and began welcoming guests in 1760... and what an impressive list of guests they had!  Two Governors of Pennsylvania, 10 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 19 Revolutionary Army generals, and two Presidents of the United States.

That the inn was so popular among the men who built our nation would be interesting enough, even if the structure didn't exude the sort of timeless charm only a building of its age possesses.  The inn is constructed of native stone, with thick walls punctuated with numerous windows, and simple colonial-style trim and furnishings. 

What is most interesting, for the purpose of this article, are the guests who never left the inn.  Yes, its haunted.  The SyFy Channel's hit show, Ghost Hunters, has investigated the inn and their findings will air on their Christmas special and season finale, episode 725 entitled "Christmas Spirit."  The show airs on Wednesday, December 7th at 9pm EST.

The Sun Inn is currently available for group tours and catered dinners.  Individual tours are available in the summer, and a restaurant service may become available in the future.

Visit the website of The Sun Inn for more information, and check Ghost Hunters for the latest episode.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Party Like its 1599: Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire - Manheim, PA

2011 season ends October 30!

Sit in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, and enjoy a tankard o' ale while her knights joust for your entertainment.  The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire runs from mid summer through autumn every year on the 35 acre estate of Mount Hope Winery in Manheim, Pa. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Castle Full of Treasure: The Mercer Museum - Doylestown, Pa

   If you drive through Doylestown in Bucks County, you'll doubtless observe its many downtown shops and restaurants lining its well-kept streets.  As you leave the downtown area, the street widens as the shops give way to suburban homes with gardens, shrubbery, and front porches.  The skyline as you approach Pine Street, however, is abruptly disturbed by something dark and foreboding - a 6 story tall concrete castle.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sleeping on Wooden Pillows - The Ephrata Cloister

a nice, comfortable plank to sleep on
  At 9pm any given night nearly 280 years ago, eternal virgins dressed in white hooded robes entered dormitories in Lancaster County, where they would lay themselves to sleep on hard wooden planks only 18 inches wide, their heads resting on pine blocks where pillows should have been.  The hooded slumberers in question were members of the monastic settlement known as Ephrata, and their story is a colorful one.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eddie's Toy Museum and Store - Sciota, Pa

Eddie's Toy Museum & Store
   Edwin Stanat is a man who likes to collect stuff... a lot of stuff... make that an unbelievable amount of stuff.  When Eddie, as he prefers to be called, finally collected over 10,000 toys, memorabilia, and commemorative items he set out to build a museum to house his personal collection.  In 1999 he purchased a building with over 5,000 square feet of open space, and began to design and construct a winding pathway of display cases which take visitors through his collections, which are arranged by theme and type.  Since construction of the museum was completed, an additional 11,000 items were added, bringing the collection to a staggering 21,000+ items!

The Coca Cola Stairway
The Coca-Cola stairway is the first stop on the tour.  As you wind through the passageways you'll see the world's largest collection of Dale Earnhardt memorabilia, as well as an enormous collection of all things motor-sports.  There are collections of cereal boxes and other classic consumer packaging, as well as advertisements, taxidermy animals, and of course, toys, toys, and more toys.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Ghost Town of the Apocalypse - Celestia, Pa

Deep in the woods of Sullivan County, in that region of Pennsylvania known as the Endless Mountains, lay the ruins of one religious group's belief in an apocalypse that never came to pass.  The town was the brainchild of Peter Edward Armstrong of Philadelphia, who in 1850, began purchasing the land that was to become the town of Celestia, eventually amassing over 600 acres.  Armstrong divided the land into lots measuring 20 by 100 feet, and by 1853 sold over 300 such lots for $10 each to people who thought the end of the world was near, and that it was vitally necessary to live in that specific community.