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Day 6: Valley Forge

June 19, 2019

 

5788 steps/2.2 miles

After numerous wrong turns in the rain the night before, we finally found our airbnb in south Philly.  The neighborhood looked really sketchy, but we easily found a parking spot on the street and our condo was gorgeous!  3 stories, plus a rooftop deck, newly renovated and did I mention, gorgeous?!! I just wasn’t a fan of the 38 stairs up to our bedroom on the 3rd floor after climbing up and down subway stairs in New York City for four days!

We had planned on doing Independence Hall this day, but rain was forecast for the afternoon and I could sense that everyone was really tired and needed some time off from walking.  So we opted to drive out to Valley Forge Military Park instead and get back early and just relax. 

That didn’t work. 

We didn’t even make it out to Valley Forge until almost noon.  People were understandably tired and took their sweet time getting going this morning.  So we got caught in the rain at Valley Forge instead in Philadelphia, but we were in the car so it was fine.  It actually felt really nice.

After a picnic lunch (where the heat and humidity was really oppressive to me) we made the mistake of checking out the gift shop in the visitor’s center.  Erik was sorely vexed that he had spent all of his money at the Intrepid two days earlier and whined and moaned and groaned and complained, and at one point, actually convinced Anya to spend some of her spending money on another horse for him.  I quickly stopped that in its tracks!  I had actually foreseen this happening and wished I had kept some of his money back so he’d have some for later. 

We got Jr. Ranger booklets and started our drive through the park.  I just have to say that I loved this day!  We met very few people on our travels, which was nice after being surrounded by crowds in NYC, and being out in nature with the fresh smell of recent rain was so lovely.

Our first stop was a redoubt and cannons, plus replicas of the log cabins the soldiers built in December 1777.  We met a sweet couple from England who offered to take our picture.  Of course, several children did not want to be included.  

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Next up was the Memorial Arch, then a few statues we didn’t feel like stopping to see. 

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I don’t think I had realized just how big the Valley Forge encampment was, but its defensive position was unmistakeable.  We came around to George Washington’s headquarters and also saw the Valley Forge train station that was erected in later years.  A freight train actually went by while we were standing there.  

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After we had walked through the house, and Bill had gone back for the car, it started raining. . . which is an understatement.  Literally two or three drops of rain as a warning, then . . . downpour.  I think it was the fastest forming rainstorm I’ve ever experienced.  We ran back to the house for cover for a while, but then had to keep walking to meet Bill.  I was grateful for my raincoat, which isn’t terribly waterproof, but better than nothing, plus the map to cover my head! 

The rain paused so we could walk out to a field of cannon, then the downpour began again.

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Surveying the field

We drove past the Site of the Marquee, where Washington first set up his headquarters tent, and on to the statue of von Steuben, which we really wanted to see.  Colin, Erik, and I braved the pouring rain to get a few pictures of von Steuben and the parade grounds where he made the Continental Army into a fighting force.

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Colin, Erik, and Anya were sworn in as Jr. Rangers.

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Our mini George and Martha:

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Then after dinner, we drove back to Philadelphia to take some quick pictures of the LDS temple there.

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Then, because I have a history of searching out headstones at twilight on vacation,  we found ourselves in Woodland Cemetery (only because it was sooo close to our airbnb) searching for a grave.

Found it! (Thank goodness for photo editing.)

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Matilda Goodwin, one of our Goodwin cousins from Maine, and one of her other cousins married two Canby brothers from Philadelphia.  The Canbys were grandsons of Betsy Ross, whose grave we will visit tomorrow.

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