Thursday, November 3, 2016

American Revolution Road Trip: Valley Forge and Washington Crossing the Delaware

Today was a day with a lot of driving, so as usual we were up and at 'em and at Valley Forge nice and early (with some fuel on the way, because Syd was OBSESSED with Dunkin' Donuts):

We checked out the museum for the site--
Kids and adults both immediately recognized this statue as a copy of one in the Mount Vernon museum (and indeed, upon further study, the placard stated that it WAS donated by them!). This is especially cool because the statues of George Washington in the Mount Vernon museum are apparently the most realistic ones available. They used forensic facial reconstruction to recreate his face at several ages, and his clothing to recreate his build.
I like paleography, so I enjoyed deciphering the inscription on this powder horn, although I couldn't work out a couple of the characters on my own.

 The highlight of Valley Forge, however, is going outside and tromping around all the places!
We didn't tromp around EVERY company's barracks, but we explored this one thoroughly.

A lot of what we know about Valley Forge was informed by Forge, a great read in YA historical fiction (the third book in the series, Ashes, recently came out, so that's next on our car audiobook list after we finish our current series), so we were especially excited to see these barracks, inside and out, as a lot of time in the novel is devoted to their construction:


The earthworks were also interesting to explore. I wouldn't let my kids climb on them (although other people were, and for all I know, it was allowed), so instead one of them hid behind them and shot at me: 

The other major highlight of Valley Forge, for us, was Washington's Headquarters--


--although not for the reasons that you might think, namely George Washington, even though Matt is a big fanboy of his.

Not me, though. I am no Washington fangirl, although his gardens were on point, but you know who I AM a huge fangirl of?

His assistant, Alexander Hamilton!

Alexander Hamilton walked these stairs!

Alexander Hamilton possibly slept in this bedroom!

I'm not the only one, either--there were two docents in the house while we were there, and I heard someone from both of the two families who came in after us ask about Alexander Hamilton!

I didn't hear either of them actually ask about George Washington...

We're not really souvenir buyers, but I did make a couple of amazing discoveries in this gift shop. One is Jeff Shaara's series of historical fiction about the American Revolution, which I've requested from our local library and which I'm deeply hoping is as good as Killer Angels and Panther in the Sky, my two favorite historical fiction books, and the other is that indie game makers have made a TON of board, card, and/or dice games about the American Revolution! I wanted this one the most, but all of them were too spendy for me to purchase without having at least tried them out first--I wish I had access to a board game lending library, or a rental service!

Next on our list we hit the road and came here. Can you tell its historical significance?

It may look like a regular old riverbank, but this is the place where Washington and his army crossed the Delaware!


We looked at it, sure, but you know what? It was also just a really nice day to goof off at a riverbank:


This kid wasn't satisfied until, as usual, she'd soaked her trousers to the thigh and had to change in the car.
This kid wasn't satisfied until, as usual, she'd created an entire bakery's worth of mudpies.

 It was kind of a crappy drive from there to the Boston area afterwards (why do you have so much traffic, New England!?!), but we had our Dark is Rising audiobook series to entertain us, and our sticker books and doodle books and coloring books and puzzle books, and our e-readers and print books...

...and, of course, a Dunkin' Donuts every mile, just in case we needed more sugar and caffeine.

Reader, we did.

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