Located 24 mi/39 km northwest of Philadelphia, Valley Forge is famous for the pivotal events that took place there during the Revolutionary War. The Valley Forge National Historical Park commemorates the site of General Washington's winter encampment (1777-78) with the Continental Army. No battles were fought, yet thousands of soldiers died there, mostly of diseases brought on by poor sanitary conditions, hunger and cold. The surviving troops drilled relentlessly, however, and the army emerged from its winter encampment as a better disciplined and more effective fighting unit.
An 18-minute film at the park depicts the events of the winter, and a bus tour stops at such key spots as Washington's headquarters, the soldiers' huts and earthen fortifications. The Washington Memorial Chapel contains the Valley Forge Historical Society Museum with artifacts related to the encampment and Washington's life. The chapel's bell tower houses the Washington National Carillon. The park itself is a perfect place for biking, hiking and picnicking.
The Valley Forge area includes Mill Grove, where John James Audubon came to live in the early 1800s. Visit the town's wildlife sanctuary and the Audubon Museum, which displays many of his works. Nearby, you'll find the Peter Wentz Farmstead in Worcester (a living-history farm depicting life in the 1700s) and the brick streets and award-winning gardens of Peddler's Village in Lahaska, where 70 shops (some housed in former chicken coops), several restaurants and a lovely inn fill the large complex.
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