VALLEY FORGE PARK
Any tour of Montgomery County's Revolutionary War sites has to begin at Valley Forge National Historical Park. During its six-month encampment, the Continental Army was transformed from rag-tag militiamen into a well-trained military.
To truly understand the American Revolution, you need to understand Valley Forge, and a guided tour of the park is the best way to learn.
RANGER-LED WALKING TOUR
Learn about the soldiers who once walked the grounds of Valley Forge as your follow in their footsteps for one-quarter mile on a 40-minute, ranger-led walking tour.
If you have a little more time and a little more energy, a guided bicycle tour is a great way to explore the park. The tours follow a five-mile loop that offers a chance to see some of the most important points in the park. Valley Forge Bike Rental provides the tours so be sure to check their website for seasonal hours.
The American Revolution was not only fought on the battlefield, but in Congress. Charles Thomson served 15 years as Secretary of the Continental and Confederation Congresses, helping shape what would become the United States. The Harriton House in Bryn Mawr was Thomson's home for 35 years.
Harriton House is located along Philadelphia's Main Line, a succession of suburbs known for beautiful downtowns. Nearby Ardmore, "The Main Street of the Main Line," is home to Suburban Square, considered one of the earliest shopping centers in the United States.
OLD GUARD HOUSE INN
The Old Guard House Inn in nearby Gladwyne dates to the 1790s, just after the Revolution. The tavern rose to prominence under its second owner, John Rawlins, who was a captain of the volunteer rifle company during the War of 1812. Today, the restaurant serves classic Continental and German cuisine in the rustic setting.
EVANSBURG STATE PARK
Stretch your legs in the morning with a stroll around Evansburg State Park's six miles of scenic hiking trails, most of which are rated for easy walking. Or experience it the way George Washington did: on horseback. Inside the park you will also find Indenhofen Farm, a historic site that witnessed Washington's march (and is open for tours one Sunday each month).
PETER WENTZ FARMSTEAD
Just a few miles east of the park is the Peter Wentz Farmstead, Washington's forgotten headquarters. General Washington set up offices in the farmhouse during the fall of 1777 prior to the Battle of Germantown, more than a month before the Continental Army arrived in Valley Forge. The property is open for tours, with events throughout the year that celebrate early American farm life.
Eight miles east of Peter Wentz Farmstead is where you will find Pennypacker Mills, a historic site that traces its history to the early 18th Century. Before and after the Battle of Germantown, the adjacent property was an encampment site for the Continental Army. The Pennypacker Mansion, which was expanded in 1901, was home to former Pennsylvania Governor Samuel Pennypacker and is now a museum showcasing early 20th Century life. Forty-five minute guided tours are available hourly.
Pennypacker Mills closes at 4 p.m., leaving you an evening to unplug and enjoy. The nearby town of Ambler is home to one of Montgomery County's many vibrant Main Streets. Explore Butler Avenue, home to unique shops and boutiques, independent restaurants, and excellent entertainment. Relax and unwind after a long day by taking in a performance at Act II Playhouse, an intimate venue offering a range of plays and musicals throughout the year.
FORT WASHINGTON STATE PARK
Before Valley Forge, the Continental Army encamped at Whitemarsh, now known as Fort Washington. Much of the area that served as the encampment is now a part of Fort Washington State Park. Fort Hill, now site of the park office, is where the namesake fort once stood, though no trace remains today. Militia Hill to the west was the site where the Pennsylvania Militia was stationed. Also on the property is the Clifton House, a museum and library run by the Fort Washington Historical Society. The park is also features 3.5 miles of trails to explore the forest and fields.
Located adjacent to Fort Washington State Park is Hope Lodge, a historic estate that witnessed the Continental Army's encampment. The home, open for public tours on select Sundays in summer and fall, is home to the annual Whitemarsh Encampment Re-enactment, held annually the first weekend in November to commemorate Washington's encampment that began November 2, 1777.
After a quick lunch, there is time for one more stop. Here are two options, depending on your direction of travel.
If you are south or west, be sure to make a stop at the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park in Malvern, along Route 30 just outside Montgomery County. The park was site of the Paoli Massacre, where British forces ambushed General Wayne's troops, with the Americans suffering significant casualties during the fighting. The battlefield is now preserved as a historical park and open daily from sunrise to sunset.
If you are heading north, Graeme Park is located along the northern border of Montgomery County. Though no battles were fought here, the home that sits on the property played a key role in the fighting. Henry Fergusson, a British loyalist, was married to Elizabeth Graeme, whom he used to pass messages to the Continental Army. One of those messages was to George Washington asking for his surrender. The house and grounds are open for public tours each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.