Located outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Valley Forge National Historical Park preserves an important part of the history of the United States. During the Revolutionary War, the site served as the campsite of the Continental Army commanded by General George Washington. Although it would end up being a source of national pride, it was almost the disastrous end to the budding country. With limited supplies and a harsh winter, although not as harsh as made to believe by popular myth, between 1,500 and 2,000 soldiers died from disease and malnutrition. Fortunately, they overcame the hardships and were able to gain independence for the country.
It was during their time at Valley Forge that the fledgling army trained to become an actual military force. Because of that, Valley Forge is often referred to as the birthplace of the American Army. Today, it is a wonderful park with reproductions of the huts where you can find actors portraying life as it would have been in 1777 when the soldiers trained at the camp. You can also visit Washington’s headquarters, which was certainly more comfortable than the log cabins that the average soldier lived in.
In addition to preserving an important piece of history, the park is also just that, a park with plenty of walking trails and open grass areas where you will find plenty of people jogging, picnicking, or simply enjoying a day in the sun. We lived in the area shortly after we were married and spent many weekends enjoying the park. We even celebrated our first wedding anniversary by riding horses in the park, which is a wonderful memory of ours.
When visiting the Philadelphia area, you should definitely make time to go to Valley Forge. With over 3,500 acres to explore, it is a great place to learn about the history of the early army as well as to enjoy a nice day in the park. Be sure to check the park’s calendar of events as there are a variety of things to see or participate in throughout the summer months.