Valley Forge

Valley Forge National Historical Park is located within 40 miles away from home, yet still hadn’t been explored in person until earlier this summer. The idea came to mind after hearing about tours of the park via a 90-minute trolley ride which started at the visitor center. A tour guide would tell trolley passengers about the park’s revolutionary history as well as the history of particular sites along the way.

The first stop on the tour was an encampment of re-enactors near some of the park’s well-known log cabins. Here, the trolley pulled over so that riders could walk around and get a close-up view of those donning period costumes. It was very easy to feel swept back in time as re-enactors went about their revolutionary era activities.



After 15 minutes, it was time to board the trolley again and continue on to the next points of interest.


At the National Memorial Arch, the trolley took passengers slowly along a semi-circle path to allow for some photos to be taken. Then the trolley continued toward the statue of General Anthony Wayne on horseback. For those interested in local lore, a Google search on General Anthony Wayne will quickly give way to tales associated with him.


Touring Valley Forge, passengers could take in the wide variety of terrain in the park. Thick wooded areas, gentle hills, steep tree-covered slopes, grassy fields with maybe a few lone trees were among the natural surroundings which revolutionary war soldiers were once stationed near. Cannons and log cabins stood in various places throughout the tour. They seemed to have a lonely sense about them, with only the occasional deer grazing nearby in the fields.


Varnum’s Quarters was the last stop on the trolley tour. At this point, passengers could get off of the trolley and walk down a path to take a tour inside the house. Before getting too far from the trolley, there is the statue of Major General Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Steuben. His statue stands near a curved bench shaded from the sun and overlooks a vast field. It is a great picnic spot, and there is a designated picnic spot (Varnum’s Picnic Area) across the road behind the statue.


After learning a little bit about von Steuben’s role in the Revolutionary War, trolley passengers would then continue down the path to Varnum’s Quarters. Picture a brown and tan stone-face structure with small windows, two floors and at least one chimney. It is in a very quiet area and that only made its history feel more alive there.


Heading back to the visitor center, the trolley went past Washington Memorial chapel without making a stop there. It is definitely worth checking out on another visit to Valley Forge. The old architecture and its details make the chapel a great subject to photograph. Speaking of old architecture, just across from the visitor center is a couple of old houses not in use. So while visiting Valley Forge next time to photograph the old chapel, taking photos of the old houses will be on the agenda.


Overall, the trolley tours of Valley Forge are very much recommended to anyone who hasn’t seen the historic park set within beautiful scenery. No matter what means a visitor uses to get around and see it, Valley Forge is an American must-see. The trolley tours are a great way to ride into the past and learn about the role that Valley Forge played in America’s Revolutionary War.

About caroldwyer

A freelance photographer and blogger, I'm also a non-traditional graduate of Cabrini College with a B.A. in communication, minor in English and concentration in film studies. As a student, I was a staff writer, photographer and copy editor for the Loquitur. In my final semester, I assisted in promoting campus literary events for Woodcrest Literary Magazine. I love travel, historic places, nature, wildlife and the arts. I hope to be involved in some way with one of those areas throughout my media career. Currently, I'm pursuing my M.F.A. in creative writing and publishing. Read my film blog at - and my literary blog at
This entry was posted in Architecture, Battlefield, Historic, Pennsylvania, Tours, Travel, Valley Forge and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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