Valley Forge

 Posted by at 4:59 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 222010

Yesterday we drove 75 miles to Valley Forge National Historical Park, where the Continental Army, under George Washington, spent the hard winter of 1777-1778 during the American Revolution.

Being history nuts, this was a real treat for us, and we enjoyed immersing ourselves in this shrine to American liberty. We also learned a lot that we didn’t know about that pivotal time in our nation’s past.

Our first stop was the Visitors Center, where we browsed through displays on the army Winter Encampment, and then watched an 18 minute video about the events leading up to General Washington choosing Valley Forge as his winter headquarters, and what took place at Valley Forge.   

Visitor Center

Then we drove the ten mile Auto Tour Route through the park, stopping to check out replicas of the crude cabins that the soldiers lived in at Valley Forge. Twelve men lived in each cabin, which they built themselves, using meager tools and sheer manpower, under harsh conditions.


Cabin inside

Except for a brief skirmish with the British in September, 1777, no battles were fought at Valley Forge, though as many as 2,000 troops, one tenth of the total wintering here, died of diseases such as influenza, typhus, and dysentery. But Washington was prepared for an attack by the enemy, who had seized nearby Philadelphia. The tour passed by several cannon emplacements.

Valley Forge cannon

The Tour Route passes by monuments to the different regiments who spent the winter at Valley Forge, as well as statues of the generals who commanded them, such as Anthony Wayne, who had a long and distinguished career of service to his country.

Anthony Wayne statue 2

Another key player was the Prussian General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, who trained Washington’s ragtag army and turned them into a fit fighting force.

Von Stuben statue

One stop was at the beautiful National Memorial Arch, dedicated to the soldiers who spent the winter at Valley Forge.

National Arch flag up

Rank has its privileges, and Washington spent the winter in relative comfort at the handsome Isaac Potts home, which is included in the free tour of the park.

Washingtons quarters 2

The house is furnished with period items, and decorated as it would have been during Washington’s time there.

Washingtons quarters sitting room

By the time we finished our tour of Valley Forge, it was 5 p.m., and we had to fight traffic to get back to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and headed back west. We couldn’t leave the area without one more stop at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord, and as it turns out, Tuesday is seafood night. They had four kinds of shrimp, grilled salmon and swordfish, crab cakes, and mussels, as well as steak, chicken, and lots of other goodies. We left the place absolutely stuffed.

When we came through Ephrata on the drive back to the Thousand Trails campground, the main street was closed down for the Ephrata Fair, which takes place this week, and we had to detour around a couple of blocks. We noticed that the sidewalks were lined with chairs where people had saved themselves a space for all of the fun events, and I remarked to Terry that in a lot of places, those chairs would have disappeared overnight. Don’t you just love small towns? 

Back at the motorhome, we watched some TV, answered some e-mails,and it was bedtime. We were tired after our long day of sightseeing, and that bed sure looked good!

Bad Nick has been quiet for too long, but something fired him up yesterday and he posted a new Bad Nick Blog titled We Owe You Nothing. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  5 Responses to “Valley Forge”

  1. Before a parade in Ocala, Florida, chairs begin to line the street a week ahead of time. It is amazing !
    We took a bundle of your newspapers with us after the rally and have been handing them out on our way south into Louisiana. The last of them will be left in New Orleans.
    We heard Country music in Nashville, the Blues in Memphis and now Jazz in New Orleans ….it’s a wonderful lifestyle to be full-timing.

  2. Nick, I love your photos and commentary on Gettysburg. One of these days, we hope to get there, too. Your post really wets my appetite to see it for myself. Looks like your weather was perfect. And then you hit the Shady Maple Smorgasbord at just the right time.

    Sounds like you and Terry are having a great time this week. I hope you are beginning to feel like you’ve caught up on some much-needed R&R.

  3. Llana,
    I hate to disappoint you, but none of the photos or commentary were from Gettysburg.
    Not even the same war.

  4. Wow, that’s scary, isn’t it? I apparently have Gettysburg, PA on what’s left of my mind, but, nevertheless, I still enjoyed the photos of VALLEY FORGE, PA, anyway. I haven’t a clue how I did that. Sorry for the mix-up on my part. I guess I’m losing my mind even faster than I suspected.

  5. And just to make your life a little more confusing Llana, now we ARE in Gettysburg!

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