French Creek, Valley Forge, Liberty Bell & Gettysburg

This post is dedicated to my mom who celebrated her 77th birthday yesterday, July 17th.

The drive from Dumfries, VA to Elverson, PA wasn’t awful, but the highways were rough and the last two hours were on backroads that included crossing a narrow old dam that was under construction, and a road with an 11% decline, plenty of s curves, and low-hanging tree branches. Because we were on backroads, it was a very scenic drive, although a little longer than the turnpike would have been. We finally arrived at French Creek State Park at around 4:30 in the afternoon and quickly set up, including turning off the AC and opening windows to enjoy the cooler temps. It was so cool this morning that we closed the windows and turned on the furnace for a short time!

After breakfast this morning we drove the short distance over to Valley Forge National Park. They have a great 10-mile narrated trolley ride that includes a few stops with park ranger storytelling and a tour of Washington’s headquarters. You know the guide was excellent if Kenny voluntarily left a tip! We watched a short video before leaving, and in all, we found the park to be a great experience.

Friday, July 17th – Today Kenny drove us into the city of Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The traffic along I-76 (East getting there and West going home) was horrendous, even though we deliberately avoided rush hour!

The Independence Vistor Center is very nice (we parked in the underground garage) with period dress storytellers in the main corridor. We got our tickets to tour Independence Hall and walked across the street to Liberty Bell Center where everyone was crowded around the Liberty Bell for selfies and picture taking, as did we! The Center has some very interesting displays about many of the historical movements for liberty and freedom.

We took a lunch break at the Red Owl Tavern and shared a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich (and a brew) before going to Carpenters’ Hall and the Old Courthouse. We finished the day with a tour of Independence Hall. Philadelphia is a city that I’m glad we visited; it was a nice complement to our recent visits to DC, Mount Vernon, and Valley Forge.

Today, July 18th we drove two hours over to Gettysburg to visit the museum and battlefield. We had an awesome two-hour bus tour with another extremely knowledgeable guide. We were amazed by all the information shared and I think it helped that the guide was a local who knew the area and history so well. Before the bus tour we watched a movie, saw a war demonstration through a 360 degree painting called a cyclorama sound and light show, and toured the museum. We both agreed that this was a very good day!

Tomorrow we will spend the day here at French Creek State Park and take a break from tourism.

Monday will be another moving day as we head north into New York for some more great adventures!

All the best to family and friends, and a special get well soon to our grand daughter, Jordan!

View of the ridge at Valley Forge
View of the ridge at Valley Forge

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Menonites near Elverson, PA
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Park ranger storytelling at the soldier shelters
The Syng Inkstand
The Syng Inkstand “probably used” in the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution
Road near French Creek SP
Road near French Creek SP
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Soldier shelters recreated in 1930 and today
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Downtown Philadelphia
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View outside of the Independence Visitor Center
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Archaeological remains of George Washington’s home in Philadelphia
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Entrance to the Liberty Bell Center
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Liberty Bell history
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The Liberty Bell symbolizes the fight for freedom
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The Liberty Bell was also significant in 1920 in the fight for women’s rights
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The Liberty Bell
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Independence Hall
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Ken at the entrance to Carpenters’ Hall where the Continental Congress met
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The Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background
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Walkway to Carpenters’ Hall
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Interior of Old City Hall

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Clock tower of Independence Hall
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Courtroom of Independence Hall
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Room in Independence Hall where the Constitution was written
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Skyline as we left Philadelphia

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Shelter interior
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Recreation of an outdoor oven used by soldiers for bread baking
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George Washington’s headquarters at Valley Forge
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Headquarters
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Office of General Washington at Headquarters
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George and Martha’s bedroom at Headquarters
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Headquarters guest room
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Headquarters guest room
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Headquarters kitchen
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Tunnel at Chesapeake Bay
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The dam at Conowingo, Maryland
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Pennsylvania farmland
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Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania
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Tree farm
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Menonites near Elverson, PA
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Horse and buggy in the drive through at the bank
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Roadside view on the way to French Creek State Park in Elverson, PA
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Valley Forge

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