Valley Forge National Historical Park

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.

Monument in the Park
Reproduction of a Log Cabin
Canons Aimed and Ready

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.

Inside of a Hut
Actors Taking a Break (Notice the Cell Phone)
Farm House

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.

Open Fields
Statue of General Steuben

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.

Historic Building
Chapel Tower
Another Monument


Philly Cheesesteak

We used to live outside of Philadelphia many years ago and one of our favorite meals were Philly Cheesesteaks. We have tried to get them occasionally here in Colorado and with few exceptions, nothing matches the real thing. Every time we are back in Pennsylvania, we make sure to get an Italian Hoagie and a Philly Cheesesteak, which is what we did a couple of years ago. There are a couple of important things to making a good Philly and that is getting a good, soft, hoagie roll and the other is slicing the meat very thin. We aren’t going to get into a debate as to the best place to get a Philly in Philadelphia, but in our opinion getting one from one of the many food carts downtown is better than most of the famous restaurants. Some people believe that a Philly should be served with cheese sauce instead of real cheese, but we think that provolone cheese is the authentic way to serve a cheesesteak. The only alteration that we made to the traditional cheesesteak was to add mushrooms, which you will find as an option on the food carts, and it just adds a little extra flavor. This recipe serves up to four people and is really delicious.

Cheesesteak in Collegeville, Pennsylvania (Just Outside of Philadelphia)


  • 1 lb Top Round Beef – sliced extremely thin
  • 1 Medium Green Pepper – sliced
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion – sliced
  • 5 to 6 Medium Button Mushrooms – destemmed and sliced
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 lb Provolone Cheese – sliced
  • 4 Hoagie Rolls
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Sliced Vegetables
Sautéed Meat and Vegetable Mixture


Prepare the vegetables being sure to slice each of them in equal thicknesses. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the green peppers. After the peppers have sautéed for about 2 to 3 minutes and then add the onions. After about another 5 minutes, add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until they begin to caramelize slightly (don’t over cook them). Remove the vegetables from the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drain on a paper towel. Turn an oven onto broil at 500 degrees. Salt and pepper the beef and then add the meat to the same pan that you cooked the vegetables and cook until it is just starting to brown (again, don’t over cook the beef). Add the vegetables back to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, just to combine them and reheat the vegetables. Open the hoagie rolls, being sure not to completely separate the halves, and place them on a baking sheet. Add 1/4 of the meat and vegetable mixture to each of the rolls and place cheese over the meat mixture. Broil for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Transfer to a plate and serve with mayonnaise. You can add lettuce and tomato if you would like, but that isn’t necessarily traditional.

Cooking the Vegetables
Cook the Meat Quickly
Ready to Serve


Fountain Photo Challenge – Urban Fountains

Here is another photo for the urban fountain photo challenge. This is a photo of the Swann Memorial Fountain in Logan Square Philadelphia. Designed by Alexander Calder in 1924, the figures are of Native Americans meant to symbolize the three major waterways around Philadelphia. The Delaware River is represented as a man, the Schuykill River by a woman, and the Wissahickon Creek as a girl.

Native American Figures
Native American Figures
Fountain from the Distance
Fountain from the Distance
Swann Memorial Fountain
Swann Memorial Fountain