October 31, 2011

Lovely Pennsylvania

Southeastern Pennsylvania is a beautiful part of the state, and the countryside is amazingly picturesque.  Scenic drives, lovely farms, charming towns and historic stone houses and barns make this area a wonderful place to explore. 

We ventured out from Lancaster County to discover more of Pennsylvania.  On our way to Valley Forge, I had suggested that we make a slight detour to visit Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.  I had read that Hopewell Furnace was one of many “iron plantations” that produced iron goods during the early nineteenth century, and it seemed like an interesting place to visit.  When we approached the park, however, we found the gate closed.  How disappointing.  Not only did we not get to visit the park, but I couldn’t even get my passport stamp.

Hopewell Furnace Was Closed
We later found out that the park is closed on Monday and Tuesday in the off-season.  Another lesson learned – this time of year we need to check whether places are open before driving out of the way to see them.  At least the drive there was pretty, despite the widespread damage to trees from the storm.  It continued to amaze me how many branches, or entire trees, had simply snapped.  Many roads were still closed, and trucks from the various power and telephone companies were still repairing lines.

Valley Forge National Historical Park was open, and there we re-learned the story that every school child is taught.  We already knew that Valley Forge was the site of a winter encampment of soldiers during the Revolutionary War.  Valley Forge is particularly known for the hardships that the men endured, suffering from scarce food and clothing.

The Visitor Center at Valley Forge Is Wrapped
With a Copy of a Painting that Hangs in the Pennsylvania Capitol
But Valley Forge is about much more than hardship and misery.  Through an orientation film, exhibits and a self-guided tour, we learned more about the significance of the encampment and how it fits into the context of the American Revolution.  We learned about the character of the soldiers who comprised the Continental Army and how they developed into a highly trained force during their winter and spring at Valley Forge.  Valley Forge was another national park well-worth the visit.

National Memorial Arch Commemorates
the "Patience and Fidelity" of the Soldiers Who Wintered At Valley Forge

Washington's Headquarters at Valley Forge

Reconstructed Hut at Valley Forge
The Small Amount of Snow on the Ground Here Cannot Compare
With the Winter of 1777-1778
Before we left Lancaster County this morning, we had looked for a campground near Valley Forge.  We are very aware that many campgrounds are closing for the season today, or have already closed.  Tim found a KOA campground in the area, and although it was scheduled to close, the owner had decided to keep it open a few more days.

I’m not sure we had ever planned to stay at a KOA, but we found the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA to be a beautiful campground.  We were placed in one of the deluxe sites, with our own stone patio, table and chairs, barbeque grill and lovely view.  After dealing with muddy sites the last few days following the storm, this bit of luxury was welcome indeed. 

Tim Walking Kitty at Our "Luxury" Campsite

No comments:

Post a Comment