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Valley Forge: Winter touring

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Valley Forge National Park’s holiday trolley tours will end Monday December 30th, however, there are other options to connect to the winter of 1777-78 and General Washington’s Continental Army. The trolley tours offer a 90 minute guided tour exploring historically significant areas of the 3500 acre park. It then discontinues until March 29th but there are other winter tour options that you may equally enjoy.

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Self-touring options

Touring Valley Forge, and staying warm while doing so, might include following a CD audio tour that is available for purchase at the Encampment store of the Visitor Center. For under $15, the tour directs you along the 10 mile encampment route to remains, replicas and monuments. This self-driving tour route will take you from 20 minutes to 2 hours, dependent on your preference for delving into the historic details. Another approach to consider is the cell phone tour option. Using your own phone and minutes, the prompts are free. Guided by prompts you download on your phone, you may imagine General Washington’s soldiers’ camp where they developed into a professional force under General Steuben’s Prussian training program. It is much easier to envisioning the soldier’s world during the winter months as depicted on the visitor and education centers. The park has painstakingly maintained or replicated some of the 2000 odd huts, forts and trenches the soldiers built during their six month encampment. And now, more than 235 years later, this picturesque park continues to sustain encampment-era Sycamore trees and support diverse wildlife.

Valley Forge National Park may be delightful for warm weather recreation but it also delivers a sense of reality when you visit in winter. Open daily from dawn to dusk with exception of New Year’s Day, the park offers access to important history. Monuments, statues, restructured buildings and and miles of multi-use trails, Valley Forge is great to tour by car or foot and connect to a time when Philadelphia was the patriot capital of our newly forming country.

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