Sunday, August 9, 2009

King of Prussia and Valley Forge

Today to get out of the house, we took a ride to the King of Prussia Mall and on the way home, since I was the driver, I decided to take a "detour" through Valley Forge National Park. We also took a quick drive through the neighborhood in which my family lived when I was born, although I don't remember living there at all, we left when I was not yet 1 year old! During my career with AT&T (Bell of Pa too), I also worked in this general area on more than one occasion.

For those of you who have never heard of King of Prussia Mall, it is the largest shopping mall on the east coast, and over the years has become very "upscale". Tara has a motive of looking for a Webkinz, so my goal was to get us near a Hallmark store. We wandered around a bit, and I was feeling TOTALLY overwhelmed. I have come to the conclusion that mall's are really no longer a place I like to be! We did find the Hallmark store, Tara got a Webkinz (Lil Kinz Mouse), I got a pair of clearance Vera Bradley Flip Flops, and we picked up a couple birthday cards. After that we decided it was time to go!

I decided to go home a different route than we traveled to get there. Where ever we go, when ever I can, I try to not drive the same route twice. This route took us toward Valley Forge National Park which is just a short drive from the mall. There are many things to stop and look at along the way, and walking paths as well, but my intention was just to drive thru as a "preview" for Tara. Valley Forge is one of the places on my radar to spend a day with Tara, as they have learned very little about American History. In the car, I had to give her a brief synopsis of the Revolutionary War. The park is beautiful, and from what I remember of the open fields, in a much more natural state (aka not mowed) than years past. Valley Forge NHP is one of the largest open spaces in southeastern Pennsylvania with 3,500 acres containing habitats for hundreds of plants and animals including 200 species of birds.

Here are a few things we saw on our driving tour:
National Memorial Arch - dedicated 1917

Baron von Steuben - statue unveiled 1915

Washington Memorial Chapel/Washington Memorial Carillon - I hope next week to be able to go to a free carillon concert.

There were several different fields in which we saw deer grazing, these were to two that I could get closest too from the car.

Kennedy Supplee Mansion - this is an old building that I drove past many many times, and at one time while it was a restaurant, I had always hoped I would have a chance to dine there, but that never happened. I took this opportunity to drive into the driveway and up to the front of the now vacant building. The pictures aren't great. Next time I will be more adventerous and get OUT of the car. While there were no signs, I felt like I was trespassing. I noticed on the way home, across the Betzwood Bridge, that you can barely see the building now with the trees grown up around it.
The Kennedy Supplee Mansion was constructed in 1852 by John Kennedy who was in the limestone business. The Victorian structure was done in the Italian villa style. The Kennedy family retained the residence until 1911 when the Supplees, a well-known local family, bought it. It was later turned into apartments and subsequent to that, vacant. It became part of the park in 1976, when Valley Forge went from a state park to a national one. In 1983, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This little excursion was a real trip down memory lane for me, and has peaked an interested in Tara to learn more about Valley Forge!


James said...

I'm glad that you are out and about getting these nice pictures.
I try to stay in when the temp gets above 82F. I just don't like heat and humidity.

Rebecca said...

Hmmm I never saw that house before and haven't been to VF in decades. I think its time to go again.