Valley Forge, Gettysburg National Military Park, and More

Valley Forge, Gettysburg National Military Park, and More

The history we've been waiting for...

For years, we've been meaning to make our way out to this part of the country to explore some of the early American history in Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. On the prior days of the trip, we were able to see places in downtown Philadelphia like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, and tons of roadside attractions on our travels throughout New York and New Jersey.

The plan for the day was to ride out to Valley Forge, just down the road from our AirBnB in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and then make the trek out to Gettysburg afterwards. We walked into town and found a great breakfast at the Phoenixville Cafe, then hit the road!

Valley Forge holds a significant place in American history as a pivotal site during the Revolutionary War. In the winter of 1777-1778, General George Washington's Continental Army endured unimaginable hardships at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Lacking supplies, proper clothing, and adequate shelter, soldiers faced bitter cold and disease. Despite these dire conditions, Valley Forge became a crucible where the army underwent rigorous training and discipline under the guidance of Baron von Steuben, a Prussian military officer. This training transformed Washington's troops into a more cohesive and resilient fighting force, laying the groundwork for future victories. Valley Forge symbolizes the perseverance and sacrifice of the Continental Army, embodying the spirit of resilience that defined America's struggle for independence.

We got to explore structures from the era and walk along those grounds amongst the wildlife and it made for a great way to start the day. The ride out to Gettysburg took us about 2 hours and although it was mostly highway miles, it still felt nice to cover some distance on our way to see something many don't get the opportunity to very often!

We pulled into town, enamored with the seemingly endless brick buildings and old structures throughout Gettysburg and figured we were due for a good meal before heading into the park to explore a while. After a quick search and a conversation with a passerby, we strolled down to the Gettysburger for lunch. The food was pretty good, the server was nice, and it made for a much needed rest stop before we back-tracked a mile or two out of town to enter the Gettysburg National Military Park.

The Battle of Gettysburg, fought from July 1-3, 1863, during the American Civil War, stands as one of the most consequential military engagements in U.S. history. Taking place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this battle marked a turning point as General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army clashed with General George G. Meade's Union forces. Three days of intense fighting culminated in a Union victory, but not before over 50,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing. Gettysburg is significant not only for its strategic impact but also for its symbolic weight in shaping the war's trajectory. The Union's defense of Cemetery Ridge on the third day thwarted Lee's invasion of the North, halting his advance and boosting Northern morale. President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address later that year cemented the battle's legacy, framing it as a defining moment in the nation's struggle for unity and equality.

Gettysburg National Military Park offers a range of activities and attractions that allow visitors to explore and learn about the historic battle and its significance: 

Battlefield Tours: The park offers various ways to tour the battlefield, including guided tours by park rangers, self-guided auto tours, and even horseback tours. 

Visitor Center: Start your visit at the Visitor Center, which features the Cyclorama painting of Pickett's Charge, an immersive experience that depicts the battle's climax. The center also houses the museum, which displays artifacts, interactive exhibits, and multimedia presentations about the Battle of Gettysburg. 

Battlefield Monuments and Markers: Explore the numerous monuments and markers scattered throughout the park, erected in memory of the soldiers and commanders who fought during the battle. Each monument tells a story and contributes to the understanding of the battle's dynamics. 

We ended up spending a couple hour there exploring the various monuments, viewpoints, and historic sites and it was well worth the ride out there. The sheer volume and significance of what took place there that ended up directing this country's path was incredible!

We rode off into dusk and eventually landed back in Phoenixville, making our way to the Valley Forge Trattoria & Lounge for dinner by recommendation of our buddy Jeff McPhee and it did not disappoint. The steaks were cooked and seasoned perfectly, they had some delicious soups and salads, and the staff treated us like kings despite rolling in shortly before closing. Gotta love small town hospitality!

It was another day for the books and we were glad that we were able to see what we did! With one more full day to go on the trip, it was time to get rested up for more riding!

Stay tuned...

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1 comment

  • Robert Hutt: June 19, 2024

    Love your work !

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