2306. Crossing the Delaware

Morrisville Travel Blog

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The phrase "Crossing the Delaware" has special significance in American history. Right before Christmas, 1776, George Washington led his troops across the Delaware River, despite the river being full of ice. On the Jersey side, they surprised German troops (who were fighting for the British) and took them prisoners. It was a turning point in the war for independence, boosting the moral of the troops, and proving Washington's courage and leadership skills.

Today, the river is full of ice once again, as the Traveler attempts his crossing. His challenge will be a little easier though: find a pedestrian crossing along one of its bridges... which, after a couple of wrong turns along the riverside freeway, he finally succeeds in doing... gazing back at New Jersery.

.. forward to the state of Pennsylvania. He's excited to take on this large state with its unique culture and place in America's history.

So what will be the first thing to welcome him to this state (which is actually still called "the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania")? A great statue of the visionary William Penn? An Amish horse and buggy?

No. It'll be a row of cigarette stores. Apparently the cigarette taxes are lower on this side, so Jersey residents cross the river to get cheaper smokes on this side. It's a reminder that, in some ways, the United States is actually a a whole bunch of countries, not just one country. Each country has it's own taxes, laws, bureaucracy and educational system. Some states, like New Jersey, are more government centered with high taxes.

Others, like Pennsylvania have less government controls with lower taxes...

Here, in the "border town" of Morrisville, another canal trail passes through. Another reminder of the monumenous effort put into creating a network of canals that would link the coast with the interior. Coal, lumber, gravel were hauled downstream by mule pulled canal boats, and manufactured goods were hauled upstream to Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was canals like these that helped give the country an interconnected economy, keeping it as a united country that it is today.

The hike inland along a busy highway is not nearly as pleasant as the serene walk along the river. But it does give the Traveler some important insights on the transformation of the American landscape.

After miles of housing developments and strip malls, he comes across a vast open field with a sign that reads "Patterson Farm, Preserved as an Open Space by the Township". Apparently, it's a effort to preserve some of the rural, agricultural feel to this Philadelphia suburb region.

But it's really just a token effort. Right up ahead is another farm, this one with the sign "Land for Sale, can be used for Corporate Headquarters". The Traveler suddenly realizes that this is the new shift in land use: corporate headquarters' are moving out of the skycrapers in the city centers and into sprawling business parks out in the suburbs. This is probably going to bring even more demise to the American city, as tax dollars evaporate, building sit vacant, and the sense of a "city center" where people of all walks of live converge together to get work done fades even more... Instead, people will drive to business parks in random locations throughout the countryside.

Only New York City, it seems, is managing to avoid this trend, as having your headquarters in Manhattan is still seen as a sign of prestige, despite its inconvenience... keeping that city alive and ambitious.

congrats on your featured blog. Well done.
Posted on: Aug 13, 2017
Paulovic says:
Congrats on the featured blog today!
Posted on: Aug 13, 2017
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photo by: nathanphil