Honored in National Geographic Book

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. - Valley Forge National Historical Park, the encampment site of George Washington during the winter of 1777-78, is honored in National Geographic's USA 101: A Guide to America's Iconic Places, Events, and Festivals.

In the new book, set for release on May 19, award-winning travel writer Gary McKechnie highlights Valley Forge along with 100 other world-famous and distinctly local places and events revealing the patchwork of America. McKechnie included the famous encampment site largely because it helps create a better understanding of our nation's first president.

"When you grow up in America you hear about George Washington, but it's only a one-dimensional image confined to an old man on a one dollar bill. When I went to Mount Vernon and Washington Crossing and then Valley Forge, the scope of what he did and who he was finally came into focus," said McKechnie.

"There was something extraordinary about him; some inexplicable power and presence that he had, and visiting Valley Forge illustrated that. Here was one man who not only preserved America's chances for victory, but he literally weathered the storm with his men until he was assured that they would come out stronger than before. That's what he did at Valley Forge."

McKechnie, who has been published in National Geographic Traveler, People, Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Post, details the historic winter at Valley Forge and gives tips on visiting the Park. The 90-minute History of Valley Forge Trolley Tour, currently running on weekends, is mentioned, as are local Montgomery County eateries and hotels.

Other events and destinations featured in the book include everything from the Little League World Series to the Grand Ole Opry, Mount Vernon to Mount Rushmore, and polka festivals to truck rallies. McKechnie provides a reverential, yet lighthearted look at America in all its quirky diversity.

USA 101: A Guide to America's Iconic Places, Events and Festivals is published by National Geographic Books and will be available at the Encampment Store at Valley Forge National Historical Park.

To learn more about Valley Forge and other area attractions, and affordable overnight accommodations, visit www.valleyforge.org.

The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ltd. is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that aggressively promotes the Valley Forge area and Montgomery County as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions and services. The Bureau's Web site, at www.valleyforge.org, serves visitors, meeting planners, tour operators and residents.

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