Tuesday, July 29, 2014

National Parks = Historical Treasures - Washington's Headquarters

I LOVE visiting historical sites.  I stand and just imagine what life was like there during the time period being highlighted.  And the next place we visited on our recent East Coast trip had me thinking a lot.

We had the opportunity to visit Washington's Headquarters/Ford's House in Morristown, NJ.  Washington and his army camped here during the Winter of 1779 to June 1780.  Fighting usually stopped during the winter time.  And this winter happened to be unusually cold, as it the strangest and coldest winter that any of them had ever lived through.  The temps were so cold, men were freezing to death.

Ford's House is the actual original structure on this property.  Mrs. Ford (a widow) allowed Washington to use her home as his headquarters during his stay.  In the 1930s, the National Park Service built a building on as a Museum to display artifacts from both the home and this time period.  It was modeled after Washington's Mount Vernon home.

 This museum area was full of historical items.  It had everything from military items to everyday clothing and entertainment of that time period.

Then we were able to take a tour of Ford's House.  Mrs. Ford was generous and gave her entire home over to Washington and his staff.  She and her children stayed in just two rooms of the home.  Martha even joined General Washington during this stay.

 The guide let Caty use the HUGE skeleton key to open the house door.  She thought that was cool!
 The room used for Washington's strategy room.

 A room used by Mrs. Ford's sons.

The ceilings were beautiful.
 The room shared by Mrs. Ford and her daughter.
 The sitting room area of that room.
 The kitchen and hearth.

 The pantry

 Rooms upstairs used by the soldiers and Washington's military advisors.

 Spiral staircase....
 His writing secretaries shared this room

 The room used by George and Martha.  The furniture is original to the home.

 The day before we had went to the Edison National Park and they worked on the Junior Ranger Badge activity.  Lydia and Caty did the Junior Ranger program for Ford's House.  They earned their Super Ranger Badge for completing both badge programs.  They were very excited and proud.

This was a very neat visit.  The Museum was full of neat exhibits and the gentleman who did our tour was full of stories and historical information.  He did a great job and answered all our questions well.  The price is reasonable for a visit here.  Ages 16 and up are $7.00 per ticket.  They do have a small gift shop with books and Colonial time period replica items.

There is an extension to this park, that we did not get to visit.  Jockey Hollow is a nature area nearby where the soldiers camped.  They have a visitor center also and an encampment set up so that you can see how the solider's lived that winter.  Due to attitudes and emotional states, I decided it was too much to take on in one day.  They have seen a Continental encampment at Valley Forge, so I figured they had already experienced something similar to Jockey Hollow.  If you can though, make sure to include it in your visit.  It sounded amazing.

I would recommend a visit to this wonderfully put together piece of Revolutionary War history.

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