Filling my national parks passport – Part 2

As this year’s National Park Week was drawing to an end, I decided to go up to Valley Forge National Historical Park again for some photography.  Upon first arriving, there was a small plane whose pilot was performing a variety of cool aerial stunts from corkscrews, spiral drops and huge loops.  I tried to get some photos of the plane, but encountered some technical problems with my main camera’s shutter.  So on this outing on April 27, I opted to use my phone for the day’s photography.

A couple of log cabins stood just a short distance away and across the road in an open field.  A few trees beyond them were blooming with spring colors, so I hiked up the slightly inclining path to capture images of history and nature.


On a previous visit to Valley Forge, I went on a trolley tour of the monuments and historic buildings.  Upon entering the park on saturday, I saw the trolley as it circled around the General Anthony Wayne statue.  Here, the trolley is heading toward the hill parallel to the log cabins and path I hiked up.

Valley Forge Trolley

Next stop was Washington Chapel.  Along a hallway and inside a room containing the Justice Bell, there are many memorials to soldiers going back to the Revolutionary War.  I spotted some with the same last names as those in our family, although I’m not sure if they are related.  Those soldiers were honored for WWI and WWII service.  There were also some brochures providing information on adding the names of veterans in your family to the chapel’s walls.

Veterans Wall of Honor

Honor your veteran

While wandering around the chapel grounds, I saw some parts of it that I hadn’t seen before.  It started with taking more photos of a balcony, which is one of my favorite spots that I noticed the last time I was there.

Balcony from courtyard

Just to the right of the balcony, there was an archway with an opening leading to a small stairwell going down to the lawn.  I couldn’t resist further exploration and taking the steps outside paid off with views of more amazing chapel details.  I loved how it looked in the shadows of tree trunks and branches; I could walk around such gorgeous historic architecture all the time!

Stairwell and arch

Outside balcony view

Continuing on toward the back of the chapel, I snapped a few photos of this arched wooden door.  Shadows of the tree’s leaves and berries cast onto the arch seemed to add to the door’s enchanting appearance.

Wooden arched door

Behind the chapel was this intricate iron gate to a courtyard, which was surrounded partly by a modern structure.  I would love to have a gate like this!

Iron courtyard gate

It was perfect timing in leaving the chapel’s vicinity to stop at the Visitor Center.  It was minutes before 5 p.m. and doors were closing at various facilities.  I still had to get a sticker and / or cancellation stamp for my national parks passport book.  But I managed to buy the sticker and was the last customer, exiting with a park ranger and soon followed by visitor center workers.

Then, it was back toward the chapel to check out a stone-faced structure further down the road.  A red sign reading “Defenders Gate” marked the grounds just across the driveway from the small, lonely building.  Unlike at Washington Chapel, the parking lot here had not other vehicle in it.  Nobody else was wandering around taking pictures.  Only a few joggers passed by on the opposite side of the road.

Defenders Gate Tower

Defenders Gate Flowers

Stopping there was another first in all my explorations of Valley Forge; it was another example of why I love going back to various destinations.  There’s always more to find, more scenes to enjoy.

One final stop was at the General von Steuben statue, which overlooked a hill dropping down into vast field.  A little stone-faced building is just a short walk along a path going from the parking lot.  But as it was late, I figured I would save a tour of that for a future visit.

Genl von Steuben

Before leaving the overall park area to get some lunch, I snapped one last photo of a covered bridge.  It’s the first photo of one I’ve ever taken, although I’m hoping to go on a tour of more covered bridges elsewhere.  They make for such scenic photos!

VF Covered Bridge

So that’s one trip down partly for the purpose of filling my national parks passport book.  I look forward to visiting many more, both those I’ve been to and those I haven’t yet explored.

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, Historic, History, Military, National Parks, Pennsylvania, Photography, Scenic, Travel, Valley Forge, Veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s