Saturday, September 6, 2014

Philly Vacation--Day Five

Today was the day to slow down a little. We visited Valley Forge in the morning and when the heat started to become too much, we headed home. But before the heat became uncomfortable, we had a wonderful morning exploring the Valley Forge area. Since the summer officially ended on Labor Day (September 1), many of the scheduled talks weren't active. But that also meant that when we took the driving tour of the area, we only encountered a couple of other people. Just our speed especially after spending the few previous days in the city that was teeming with people.

Valley Forge is the site of a seven month encampment of George Washington and over 10,000 soldiers during the winter of 1777-1778. They have reconstructed much of the area from written records and archeological digs.

A few pictures from our visit to Valley Forge.

Ward entering the very nice visitor's center. He was disappointed that he didn't have time to read every display. He's the kind that reads everything. I'm more of a skimmer.

A representative of the huts the men lived in during the winter.

There was a bare minimum in these huts--12 bunks and a fire place. Here's Theo trying out one of the bunks.

National Memorial Arch dedicated in 1917 to the people of the Valley Forge encampment. For an idea of scale, you can see Ward, Wally, and Theo under it.

George Washington's headquarters during the encampment. The house was a rental property of Mr. Potts, who made his money from iron forges around the Vally Stream. (Thus the name, Valley Forge.)

George Washington statue. For those of you into symbolism, there is a lot of it in this statue such as he is holding a walking stick where there would normally be a sword. You can ponder that for a moment and come to your own conclusion as to what it means.


  1. One of the first "real" books (ie..not child like) books I read to my son was about the winter in Valley Forge. Sadly we've never visited there.

    Sounds like you've had a wonderful week!

    1. The park is really well done. Even though we didn't get an official ranger talk, they had rangers stationed at various places that informally gave a talk and answered any questions we had. It worked very well.

  2. I've enjoyed going on vacation with you, vicariously! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Valley Forge! I remember that place! I lived a couple of miles away from there many years ago. In fact, my oldest daughter was born there. Sounds like you had a great time!

    1. We really enjoyed Valley Forge. The weather was perfect, there were no crowds, and the history was interesting. Overall, it's in a very pretty area. I'm sure that you appreciated that when you lived there.

  4. I was mistaken when I told you there was a tall stone watchtower at Valley Forge-- there was a wooden one, like a fire watchtower, back when I was a kid, but it closed back in the 80's. What I was actually remembering was a tall stone watchtower at the place where Washington Crossed the Delaware. When you grow up around there, all those Revolutionary War sites blur together, I guess. I grew up next to Fort Washington, another encampment. Anyhow, the tower was terrifying to me because there was no railing on the open side of the steps that spiraled up the inside of the tower; in third grade I refused to climb up during a field trip due to my fear of heights. The teachers were not happy with me. Here is a video of the current interior; a central elevator has been added (you can see the new cinderblock construction) and a handrail added to that. I could go up now, with these improvements, although the spirally bit at the top still looks a bit dicey to me!


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