Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Valley Forge National Historical Park, PA

A day at Valley Forge NSP.  This is where George Washington set up command of his troops just a days march outside of Philadelphia, which in 1777 was occupied by the British.  He spent the winter there for training and recuperation from the years battles as fighting had stopped due to winter weather and impassable roads.

As it turned out for the troops, food, clothing, and supplies were in very short supply until Washington persuaded Congress to send the badly needed supplies. Washington gave Baron von Steuben the job of training the troops and he taught the men new skills and how to fight as a unified army.  With 12,000 troops and 400 women and children, the camp was the 4th largest city in America for the 6 months it was in existence.

We knew there was not much to actually see here as is often the case with these sties but we also knew we should be able to get in a good walk.  We actually saw more than expected and the walk and weather were very nice:

 On the grounds sits the Washington Memorial Chapel honoring soldiers of the American Revolution.
Washington Memorial Chapel
 It is an active Episcopal church run by private organizations and built as a tribute to George Washington and the Continental Army.  Completed in 1917 this chapel is just amazing from the stain glassed windows to the many carved figurines of soldiers and other wonderful carving throughout.  It reminded me of English cathedral....on a smaller scale:

in the courtyard a statue to mothers of the nation
 Along our trail and off into the woods on one side we could see grave markers of soldiers that did not make it through that winter

Reconstructed cabins dot the park to show how the soldiers lived

12 to a cabin!

The National Memorial Arch honors the soldiers perseverance and expresses hope for future generations

It also turned out to be a good bird day!  You would think it was spring not the middle of October!!

a cannon faces Philadelphia which was a full days march then

George Washington's headquarters, the house was rented from the land owner

one of the rooms Washington prepared strategy with his officers

Washington's stayed on the farm where his headquarters were

Nearby in Parkesburg, we found a winery and brewery to check out:)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hopewell Furnace, Independence Hall in Phila.,PA

We moved on Oct. 9th and on the 10th, at French Creek State Park near Elverson, PA, we went for a very nice hike to the Hopewell Furnace NHS.  It is so nice when we can just walk out the front door of our home and go see things.  Does not happen often but hey, we don't like to be in the city!  We have very much enjoyed the state parks we've stayed at this year.

PA was the largest producer of iron before and after the American Revolution.  In 1776 they had more forges than all other colonies combined.  During the Civil War they concentrated their efforts on cannons and supporting equipment for the war effort.

They sure built some beautiful stoves!

pots, pans, stoves, fireplace screens, all kinds of iron things
After enjoying the 5+ mile hike and a good look around the old Hopewell Furnace, we hoped in the jeep to check out the Manatawny Creek Winery.  They had some nice wines and we bought a couple of bottles.
 While at the winery we were told about a local cheese maker who puts her cheese out in the barn and you just get what you want and leave the money in the box.  Gotta love it!  We bought a lovely brie and blue cheese.  Yum!!
 Oh yes, she was located near this covered bridge:
The next day, Oct 11th, we drove into Philadelphia to visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.  You have to wait in lines and go through security these days to see the bell.

Over the years this is my 3rd visit to this symbol of American freedom

 We had to get a ticket to tour Independence Hall and had a couple of hours before our tour.  This gave us an opportunity to see a few other places in the mean time.

The First Continental Congress meet in this building, Carpenters Hall, in the fall of 1774 to decide what to do about Britain not listening to their problems.  By the next meeting in May of 1775 of the Second Continental Congress, blood had already been shed at Lexington and Concord.  The cry of independence had sounded.  
 In Old City Hall, next to Independence Hall, the Supreme Court met from 1791-1800

6 judges presided over the original Supreme Court
Independence Hall, we had to go through security to gain access to this hallowed building as well

 Inside Independence Hall, a court room:

 The room below was used to iron out the articles of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.....can you imagine...

Stairs to upper floor in Independence Hall

Banquet room where all would adjourn to relax and have a bite after debating


several rooms in the hall were used for various things over the years, at one time this room was used to store weapons

the inkwell used to sign the Declaration of Independence

When outside Independence Hall taking pics, Mike asked if that was a bald eagle to the right of the tower....yep

How cool was that!
standing where Ben Franklins house used to be looking at the building that housed his book store and bindery
 After seeing the Liberty Plaza area, we strolled down a few streets to the Reading Terminal Market.  One of those huge indoor markets that has all kinds of fresh produce, cheeses, meats,  ethnic eateries, etc.  Fun!  We actually ate at a cajun place for dinner and had jambalaya. Yum!

had to pass by China town on the way to the market, a beautiful entry