Battle of Germantown Revolutionary War Reenactment

If you like the sound the sound of fireworks and the pulse of a great historical story, I’ve got something for you to do near Norristown that you might enjoy.

 

Have you ever been to a battle reenactment? You know, where people dress up in historical uniforms and act out a famous battle complete with (almost) real gunfire, heroic charges, famous last stands and all that?  If this sounds like something you’d like to do, each October there is one held in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, right on Germantown Avenue.

 

About The Battle of Germantown

 

The battle of Germantown is a cool piece of Revolutionary War history that I never heard of.  I’ll give you the gist of it here.  During the Revolutionary War Philadelphia was our nations capital.  The British took it over and George Washington, if you ever heard of him was the General of the American army, decided he was going to take Philly back by mounting a huge assault.

 

As Washington marched his army toward Philadelphia he came upon a town called Germantown.  There he skirmished with some small British forces.  Washington only had limited ammunition and rations to conquer Philly so he decided, “Eh, let’s skip Germantown and continue on to Philly so we don’t run out of supplies.”

 

One of Washington’s subordinate Generals though, disagreed stating, “Sup George? Dude, if we leave this British force here, we’re just gonna have to fight these muthas on the way back from Philly when we are weak an tired.”

 

Or something like that the exchange went.

 

Taking his General’s advice, Washington decided to fight the Brits in Germantown first.  It didn’t go well.  About 100 British troops packed themselves into this small house called “Cliveden”   You’d think that a bunch of guys throwing themselves into a house surrounded by thousands of troops that want to eat them for lunch is a bad idea. It wasn’t. Unbeknownst to anyone this house was strong enough to survive a comet hitting the Earth.   Washington attacked this house with 9,000 men and many cannons.  He tried shooting it down, burning it down and charging the house.  The home was so indestructable and the British so resolved to fight that Washington could not capture the grounds.  When the battle was over something like 2 British troops where killed and Washington lost hundreds of men.  Even worse for George, he expelled so much ammunition and other resources that he was left unable to attack Philadelphia.  That’s pretty much why he had to go back to Valley Forge, PA and lick his wounds for the winter.

 

Want to Visit Valley Forge Close By? Here’s My Review 

 

Cool story right?

 

Tour The Cliveden House

 

Before watching the battle I highly suggest paying the couple dollars to tour the Cliveden House.  This is the home the British packed into to make their stand against Washington’s overwhelming forces.  The guides will tell you all about how it was built, the owners of the house, the attitudes of the time and how the home related to the battle.  Some of the bullet holes in the walls still exist to this day. Be sure to look out for them.

 

Touring the house from the inside will help you to better appreciate the battle reenactment from the outside.

Checking Out The Reenactment

 

Prior to the battles there are tons of reenactors mulling around the Cliveden grounds.  Actually, the reenactors almost outnumber the amount of visitors.  Their uniforms look great. There are British redcoats, Continental blue coats as well as Hessian (Germans allied with British) forces, women dressed in period piece clothing etc.  Most reenactors are generally accessible for conversation and ready to lend a history lesson of their own.

 

The Course of the Battle

 

The battle reenactment basically fights its way up Germantown Avenue, through the Cliveden Gates and up the Cliveden front lawn where the British then retreat into the house where they duke it out with Washington’s forces.  I want to say the whole thing lasts 45 minutes but I can’t say for sure. I lost track of time.

 

Here’s a video of the Battle on the Front Lawn (Keep Scrolling Down after the Video for More on This Event) 

The History Lesson

 

While the battle rages on, there is a really interesting history lesson that takes place.  A history teacher stands between the spectators and the battle. He lectures the whole time and gives a very clear picture of the purpose of the battle, the strategies used, the conditions the soldiers faced, how it affected the surrounding areas and the aftermath of the battle.

 

Here’s Another Video of The Battle - The British Are In The House!! 

Overall I Liked It

 

The reenactment was a lot of fun.   If you like history and the sound of musket fire, you’ll like it. Even if this isn’t your favorite thing to do, if you haven’t checked it out before I recommend it.  For someone who hasn’t seen history reenactors, this really is a great way to see folks who are passionate about a hobby that is so unique and engaging.

 

Their Website

Cliveden’s Website is Here

Where is It


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If you have a minute, please go back to the home page of this website and read some other great posts. If you live near Norristown, Blue Bell, Collegville, Conshohocken, etc there are plenty of fun and unique things to spend you day doing.  This site will provide you recommendations of unique things to do that we have actually experienced and want to share.

 

Thanks again for checking out thingstodoinnorristown.com.    Be sure to get out there and experience some really neat stuff in the community

 

 

Other Great Posts

 

 

Ever been to Wayne, Pennsylvania?  This is a nice, small town that packs a punch.  A great place for a date or just meeting up with friends. Heck, I’ve even gone there alone.  Check out my post  Wayne, PA Review and let us know what you think

 

 

Do you want to learn more about history?  How about learn more about anything and have some fun too while you are at it.  When was the last time you went to the library?  There are plenty of them in the Montgomery County, PA area.  I did a quick review on the Norristown Free Library, check out my post and hopefully you’ll get time to take advantage of all the free things they have to offer.

Find The Norristown Library – Free Books and Fun

Picture Norristown Free LibraryWhen I was a kid I would go to the library all the time. Then the cool big box bookstores came along and I gave up the library. After all, at those giant B&N or Borders you might not be able to check out a book, but you can still sit and read a brand new, untouched book in those stores all day. Even better yet, you can buy yourself a fancy coffee and sit in a billowy chair to boot.

 

When I became more Internet savvy, spending countless hours reading free material on the web, the library was pushed even further from my mind.  Of course, other things continued to bury the library in my conscience such as when I discovered some hip used bookstores and learned you can buy books dirt-cheap on sites like Amazon and Ebay.

 

It wasn’t until years later that I gave the library another shot.  I started to realize that the big box stores, the used book stores, and other so-called-cool places to read for ‘free’ like coffee shops start to cost a lot of money over time.  Half the time I go into any of those kinds of stores I wind up spending something on coffee, new books, a magazine or maybe a snack to eat.  Ever go to a Starbucks to read and wind up spending money on a latte and one of their pathetic little snacks? It costs a fortune. The military makes tanks for less.  Buyone 400 page paperback at the local Barnes and Noble and it can run you $25-$30 bucks. That’s a lot of loot for something you’ll read once or twice and put on a shelf to collect dust forever.

 

Anyway, you can save a ton of money and have a little fun too by going to the free public library. Since this site is all about cool things to do near Norristown, PA, I’ll focus on the Norristown Free Library.

 

The Setting

The Norristown Free library I admit is not in the best of neighborhoods but I’ve never had a problem.  If you feel funny about going into downtown Norristown, check out there website and you’ll find other local libraries also afflilated with Norristown’s in other locations.  Like I said, I never had a problem and there are security officers on the library grounds at all times.  It is located on 1001 Powell Street, Norristown, PA.

 

The Inside

 

The inside of the free library is pretty spacious and there is no problem getting an available seat among the rows of books and magazines.Norristown Library Inside photo

 

OK What’s In it For Me When I Visit The Library?

 

The library in Norristown offers a ton of cool things for free.  If you are an avid reader who generally just reads a book once this might be the place for you.  Seriously, add up all the books on your shelf and multiply it by $10 or $20 bucks.  Adds up right?   What are they sitting there for anyway?  Trophies? Do you put books on your shelf like  hunters put rhino heads on the wall?  Borrow books (no rhino’s available) at no charge from the library, turn them in on time so you don’t get hit with any late charges, and you’ve saved yourself a ton of loot.

Magazine subscriptions?  The library might just be carrying your favorite magazines as well. Save loot on subscriptions and check out some mags.

 

Are movies your thing?  Depending on how you watch your movies, you might be able to save some money here.  DVD movie rentals typically run $1.  Is that a good deal for you?  Hmmmm….. I’m not sure you’d have to figure that out.  If your local cable bill covers all your movie costs maybe you can skip the DVD from the Norristown free library.  If you have no cable or find yourself renting from a more expensive place check out what the library has to offer.

 

Video games…. same thing. $1 to rent.  Is this a savings for you?  Again, you’ll need to determine this but the library does have video games available.

 

Ebooks…. yes you can borrow ebooks as well.

 

Library Programs at No Charge

 

Keep checking the library website for new, free programs offered to the public.  At the time I wrote this post there is a program offered where you will write a 50,000 word novel.  Do you feel like the next Melville or Hemingway? That might be the motivation you need.

 

There are also programs on long term care planning for yourself and loved ones.

Programs on how to how to borrow eBook on Kindle, etc.

Book discussion groups and whatever else the library has on their events calendar.

 

The Montgomery County / Norristown Library Website

 

Here is the site for the library. Also links out to other libraries in their system Click Here For Website

How Do I Get there?


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Visit Wayne Pa Dating Food Fun Near Norristown

Sometimes I simply can not make up my mind on a place to eat or drink.  I want to meet friends out somewhere or plan a date with someone special but I’m worried when we get there it’ll feel more crowded than an elevator during a fat convention.  Then what? Then you have to pack everything back into the car, the bus, the subway, family blimp, whatever and go somewhere else.   Wouldn’t it be easier if you had a ton of restaurant and bar options all in the span of one block?  Is there such a place?

 

Downtown Wayne, Pennsylvania might just be the answer.   In Wayne there is a place to quench your thirst or fill your belly for just about any taste.  If you like Irish pubs, they’ve got it! If you prefer a more trendy scene, they’ve got it. A Spanish-look, got it!  Woody and cozy… got it too.

 

Good ‘ol pizza parlors… yeah… Wayne.

 

I recently did a review on a cool little coffee shop, guess where that place is? Wayne!

 

How about if you don’t like all the calories or nightlife?  How about a great little movie theater? Yep, Wayne has you covered. The Anthony Wayne is a bit of an icon and has been managed to perfection for years (yes, I know some folks that work there and they are awesome)

 

OK, what else does Wayne have?  Well, let me think, have you achieved a level of intelligence above the Cro-Magnom man? That is to say, can you read? The Readers Forum is a very cool little independent book store packed with reading material (lots of stuff with pictures as well in case you can’t spell kat either)

 

Is your hair longer than David Lee Roth’s in the nineteen seventies?  How about Rapunzel?  There’s a very traditional looking, one chair Barber Shop right on the main drag. Don’t be bashful though when you get your cut. There’s a giant window where passer-bys can gaze at your while the barber shears the wool from your scalp.

 

Having a baby? I’m not saying right this second. If you already pulled the stirrups from the footlocker you might want to finish this article later. Better put, are you expecting? Is there a gestation period going on?  The whole fetus embryo thing rockin’ inside you? If so, any you need a cradle, there’s a place for that too in Wayne.

Getting to downtown Wayne, PA

 

Wayne is just minutes off the Blue Route, not far from Villanova University, Valley Forge Military Academy and, of course, is a relatively close thing to do near Norristown, PA.

 

 It is completely accessible by train for those of your SEPTA-savvy folks out there.

 

If you want directions to downtown Wayne, PA by car…..

 


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Overall, Wayne won’t take up a lot of your time learning the town but it is definitely a place you can enjoy yourself for hours on end.

More Pictures of Downtown, Wayne PA… enjoy!

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Gryphon Cafe in Wayne – Great Coffee Shop No Too Far From Norristown

There was a time when coffee was just a rite of passage to waking up in the morning.  The alarm went off and you chugged down some hot brown caffeinated swill to get your batteries charged.  Coffee was about as pleasurable as changing a fluorescent bulb. You went through the motions, your senses lit up for a while, then the whole experience just burned out.

 

Now coffee seems so cool. There are tons of ‘regular’ coffees from more nations than the U.N. to choose from. In addition to your ‘normal’ cup o’ Joe, you’ve go plenty of specialties like mochas, lattes, macchiatos, espressos, etc.   There are so many coffee options that I usually have to medicate against attention deficit disorder just so I can make a decision before the store closes.

Gryphon Cafe on Urbanspoon

So, let’s reminisce. Back in the day I used to watch the show “Friends” You know, Jennifer Aniston and all that hubbub.   From time to time the characters would meet in this coffee shop called something like Urban Perk or Cafe Perk, or Perk Up My Ears, or Perk The Car Please or Let’s Go to The Perk or My God, I Got a Perking Ticket or something with “Perk” in it… the name eludes me but it but the cafe looked so cozy and fun.  They had giant cups and saucers that reminded me of something from Alice and Wonderland or Paul Bunyan or something that could hold an orca. There was also billowy, cozy couches and chairs to sit in while chatting and slamming down java.    It was way cooler looking than the Starbucks I have near me in Norristown.  Now, I have nothing against Starbucks but their stores really aren’t much fun.  Hospital hallways are more comfortable looking that most Starbucks.  Ever go over to Suburban Mercy hospital in East Norriton to relax? I didn’t think so.   Anyway, so where is there a place reasonably near Norristown that is a cool, cozy coffee shop?  Well, there are actually a few of then but I’ll just focus on Gryphon’s Cafe in Wayne, PA for this post.

 

 Art at Gryphons Cafe WayneThe Look

 

I love all the wood they use in this place. The furniture, while wooden, is quite comfortable. The wooden floors and colors of the walls makes the place feel cozy. The pictures on the walls by local artists (and for sale) give the place some pizzaz.

 

 The Food

 

I’m not a world class food reviewer so I won’t get too crazy on this but the sandwiches are pretty good and they have some decent salads. Be sure to ask about the soups too.  As I walked out recently I noticed some great looking bean dish and a bisque that a couple was eating.  Since I didn’t have any, I can’t say for sure if it tasted good but it looked good and they looked happy. I almost threw my head in that guys bowl and started slurping, that’s how appetizing (and cute) the scene looked.

 

The Coffee

 

I enjoyed my coffee.  Full bodied and strong.   It was cool too that most of their cups and saucers look very unique and don’t match.  Each cup has a whole new visual thing going on, if you’re into aesthetics and coffee that is :-)

 Entertainment

 

They  have some live music and open mic nights so check out their website.

 

Free Wifi

 

Yep free Wifi internet

 

The Location

 

105 West Lancaster Ave Wayne, PA 19087

 

 


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Visit Downtown Lansdale PA Main Street

I’ll be upfront, downtown Lansdale, PA isn’t quite up to par with Skippack Village, downtown Ambler, Chestnut Hill, or New Hope but it is improving and trying to resemble these areas more and more.

 

There seems to be a formula to creating an area that becomes a hot spot for tourists to visit, couples to stroll, and shoppers to spend. Not that I’m an urban developer or expert on romanic places (I still get hate mail from my ex :-) but take any street with multiple blocks lined with commercial property, open up a coffee house, a theater, a gallery, a couple of restaurants and bars, and some of those goofy specialty shops that that sell crystals, ambient music and items you’d normally see at a gypsy concert event and you wind up with a new, cool trendy area.

 

Downtown Lansdale, PA along mainstreet is not quite on the trendy scale it yet. It is still a little rough around the edges but I’m thinking this is still a town that you’d want to visit sometime. This town is going places and someday you might be able to say, “I was freakin’ there man!” before it goes all out trendy-hip-and cool.

 

The Look

 

The area I am talking about consist of about 5 blocks.  Stores stand side by side in a kinda, strip-mall, row home style.  The streets are very clean but the overall look of the area isn’t particularly flashy or polished.  Some stores are vacant and will look much better when they are occupied.

 

The Vibe

 

Right now Main Stret Lansdale doesn’t quite have a hot vibe, at least not yet.  The street is pretty quiet. You won’t find throngs of people filling the sidewalks of downtown Lansdale but there are things to do and see.

What is There to Do in Downtown Lansdale?

 

Here are some ideas if you planning a trip, particularly during the day.   If you like bargain shopping or finding that hidden treasure that won’t pound your wallet into the ground, there is a good sized thrift store down there that will be glad to satisfy or rummaging needs.

 

Feeling hungry? Feel like packing that hole in your head with calories? There are a number of places to get food. Anything from restaurant food to sandwiches to baked goods.  One of my favorites is the Tabora Orchard bakery coffeehouse, which is reason enough to visit downtown Lansdale.  There are also a number of restaurant bars and what looks to be a pretty cool brew pub which I haven’t been to.

 

There is also a multicultural barbershop, a place to buy and trade collectibles, and a cool comic book / gaming shop.

 

By the way, do you feel like drilling a hole….. into your body?  Want to collect some art…. on your skin?  There is a tattoo and piercing place as well. Even if you don’t want to add some pictures and hardware to your carcass, be sure to check out some of the pics in the window.

 

What Else Am I Missing?

 

I admit, part of the fun of going to Main Street Lansdale is finding what I haven’t checked out yet.  Walk around a bit and get off the beaten path and you’ll find other shops and eaterys on the side streets.

 

For those of your who are hardcore train fans (as in choo-choo trains) there is also a small freight train yard you might want to check out. This would be for the hard-core railroad nuts though. There isn’t much to see but it does have some of the big locomotives. There’s also a sizable SEPTA station, see below.

 

Overall, Will I Like it?

 

If you are looking for all the pomp and popularity of established touristy sites, you might want to save Lansdale for a day your are looking for a more blue-collar feel that hasn’t quite hit the trendy-charts yet.  If you like checking out areas that are comers and could be something real cool one day, take an hour out of your time and check it out.

 

Getting There

 

For those of you who are all SEPTA savvy, there is a big train station just a block from all the things to do I mentioned above. Completely accessable by train.

 

Or By Map….. 

 

 


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Norristown Farm Park – Free and Fun For Active People

Norristown-Farm-Park PondI’m throwing out the gauntlet here.  The challenge is to find someone who hates everything and I mean everything the Norristown Farm Park has to offer.  Ready?  OK, read this list…. walking, running, hiking, rollerblading, sledding,bicycling, fishing, bird watching, enjoying nature, exploring the great outdoors, walking the dog (or iguana), picnicing, skiing, sledding…. whew enough….

 

OK, from that list, is there one thing, just one, that you like to do?  If there isn’t one thing that you enjoy from that list you might want to stop reading because the rest of this post will just depress you to no end.   That said, if you liked one or more ideas on that list, I think I’ve found something for you to do.

 

The Norristown farm park has all those things to do and more. It is a pretty cool place for people who like to stay active and be outdoors. Even better yet, if your cheap, like me, the cost to go there is completely free. The Norristown Farm Park has lot of open spaces and paved trails.  It’s actually more like Valley Forge Park, flat and rolling, than say Fort Washington State park,  if you are familiar with those cool place.  Norristown farm park is more grass and meadows rather than thick clusters of trees.  Cool place. Let’s look at some stuff to do….

 

The Paved Trails

There are over eight mileNorristown Farm Park Paths of paved trails at the Norristown Farm park.  The trails are easy to walk on but expansive enough to give you a good work out.   If running and hiking are not your thing, you are more than welcome to ride your bike or rollerblade on these trails.

 

The trails also provide a way to get out and see the great outdoors.  The park is diverse with rolling grassy plain, cornfields, meadows, stream, forest and even a trout hatchery and pond to boot.

 

 

 

Horseback Riding! Eh, No…

 

Whoa Tonto!  No, No, No horseback riding is allowed.  I mean, you can try it, but the park patrol is on the look out for this sort of activity and will glady turn your horse into dog food if they catch you.  I hear they make you eat the dog food too but I’m not sure if that is just a rumor…

Kidding…. Unless your horse is on a vicious rampage, no park ranger will shoot the beast and make you eat equine steak. That said, if you are riding in the park there is likely a big fine and possible incarceration. Leave Man O’ War at home, in the living room.

 

Fishing

 

Fishing is allowed. There are stocked streams and a trout pond (which I included some pictures of)    Fishing is permitted with a PA fishing license and trout stamp. Be sure to check the park rules and website for more information regarding park regulations.

 

Bird Watching

 

I don’t see many ornithologists hanging out at the park but this is definitely a good place to do some birding.  There are bird houses all along the trails and there is a pretty cool bird blind (a hut you can sit in and watch the birds without them noticing you) in a scenic spot near the trout pond.

 

The Trout Pond

Bird Blind near trout pond

I hear this is fun when they stock it with trout. The hatchery is close by.  The pond isn’t easy to find. There is no paved trail that leads to it. It is visible from the trout hatchery and the  Stoney Anglers club. If I park off Sterigere Road and walk along the path that runs between the state hospital and the hatchery, just as I pass the small wooded patch that has the hatchery and Stoney Anglers, you can see the pond way, way, way, way, down to your left.

 

Cross Country Skiing and Sledding

 

When the snow falls, get out the cross country skis or, more my speed, the sled and start taking advantage of the snow.  The park allows sledding and skiing under the assumption that you accept all the risks of your activities (isn’t that what everyone says…. including me….. like if your eyes burn out reading this article, you accept all responsibility… right? Right?)

 

Getting There

 

The farm park is easy to get to.  It is located on West Germantown pike just one mile west of Dekalb Pike.

 

Park Link

 

To go to the park website click here

Other Things to Do Near Norristown…..

 

Tired of the Great Outdoors? How About Nearby Philly in Chestnut Hill? Only Minutes Away 

Valley Forge National Park – Somthing For Everyone Near Norristown

 

Valley Forge Park Fun For Everyone

 

Valley Forge Hut Near Norristown PA

Troops Quarters

 Remember George Washington and that whole Revolutionary War-thing?  Well, the war wasn’t going so great for him and the continental army. The British were pounding us into the ground every chance they got. We had some minor victories but we really needed the big one so Washington marched his army to attack British occupied Philadelphia but got stopped at Germantown.

 

Washington got so beat up at the Battle of Germantown and prior engagments that he took his army to camp for the winter in Valley Forge, PA.  It was late in the fighting season anyway and he needed to regroup his forces. That camp is now called Valley Forge National Park.

 

Ever visit Valley Forge? There was no battle ever fought there so if you are expecting to see Mel Gibson gallavanting across some glorious battlefield like he did in “The Patriot”, you’ll be sorely sorry….. though Jason Isaacs (aka Col. William Tavington), the British-dude he kills in the flick, won’t miss him at all.

 

That said, Valley Forge National park is still a neat place to visit.  All kidding aside it really is a place that people with very different motivations and interests will enjoy.  Let’s look at some cool stuff:

 

Miles of paved trails

 

 

While Valley Forge park consists of mostly moderately rolling grassland and paved trails. If you love to walk or jog, this is a great place to do it. The paved surface makes is comfortable and the surroundings make it scenic.

 

If you enjoy biking, you can bike on approved trails. Check the visitor center or their website for more info (I’ll include the link below).

 

If you enjoy rollerblading or skateboarding you’d better save that for somewhere else. Seriously, Valley Forge Park and skating/blading mix about as well as rattlesnakes and small defenseless creatures.  The park rangers also have full police powers so please obey park rules, state and federal laws.  The rangers are very nice and I’d prefer to keep it that way.

 

History Along The Trails

 

Be sure to check out the troops quarters (pictured at top of this post) and the cannons along the trails.  You’ll see only a fraction of the housing and ordinance at Valley Forge Park that existed while Washington’s troops stayed here but what still stands is in great shape.  Be sure to leave the trail and step into one of the huts to experience how the army lived.  Do the same when you see the cannons. Experience some of the history here up close.

 

Hint:  Look for smoke coming out of any hut chimney.  I saw this once, walked in and there were a couple of rangers stoking a fire and giving a history lesson. Very interesting.

 

The Visitor Center

 

 

Tired from a day of checking out the trails?  Just want to skip the trails?  Do you hate trails? Go to the visitor center and check out the history inside. There is also a pretty interesting short film they run at nearby building where you can better understand the tactics behind Valley Forge, how it impacted the British and Americans in surrounding regions and what happened when Washington left the encampment (I hope I’m not spoiling anything by saying the Americans won the war).

 

 

Driving Tour

 

For sake of honesty, I’ll disclose that I have not done this but it sounds interesting. There is a 10 mile self-guided driving tour that you can do on your own for free. Check out their site for details as I don’t have any (yet) from direct experience.

 

Who Will Like It?

 

I think this is more of an adult oriented trip than one for kids but by all means take the little ones, there’s plenty of space outside for them to run around and you won’t likely lose track of them.

 

People who enjoy visiting national parks without crowds will like this park as well.  I’ve never seen a big crowd.

 

History lovers will enjoy this place as it is an important piece of the continental army’s history.

 

If you are into excersizing, you’ll love the trails for biking and hiking.

 

If you are a hard-core hiker this probably isn’t your place for a real challenge. The trails are rated about a “1″ in difficulty. Not hard at all but if you live close by it is a nice place to dust off your outdoor gear and get in some practice.

 

Their  Website

 

Valley Forge National Park Website Is Right Here

 

Getting There

 

Valley Forge Park is located not far from Norristown PA and is real close to the King of Prussia Mall. The park address is 1400 North Outerline Drive in King of Prussia, 19406   
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Harry Potter Weekend Chestnut Hill

Harry Potter Weekend Chestnut Hill

Each Store Window Was Potter Themed

Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia holds some great events that serve not only those in Northwest Philly but also residents of Bucks and Montgomery Counties as well.  One very Halloween appropriate event was held late October called “Harry Potter Weekend”

I admit, I have yet to read a Harry Potter book or one of the movies.  It isn’t that I have any problem with the Potter series. I don’t believe that JK Rowling is trying to influence the occult onto our children. Heck, even if she is, I’m just so glad they shut up long enough to read 500 pages I don’t care if they turn me into a toad one day.  In spite of my ignorance of the story, I had no doubt the rest of the patrons of this even were well rehearsed in Rowling’s wizardry.  A significant percentage of the people on hand were dressed up in Harry Potter costumes.  I’m talking grown ups and children here people. It was really fun to watch.  I saw more witches in one day than I have my entire life o

f reading Broom Hilda cartoons….. if anyone gets that of course.  There were also, of course, many Harry Potters, plenty of Wizards, even a werewolf among many assorted costumes.

All of the shops along Germantown Avenue in Chesnut Hill were open during this weekend afternoon event.  There was not a lot of activities set up but there were some tables set up by shop owners to encourage Harry Potter themed games and even a little face painting to boot.

Here are some of the details

Where?

Covers about 8 blocks along Germantown Avenue right smack on the main drag of Chestnut Hill.

Parking

I was able to park no problem at the Train Station.  There is a small fee normally but the kiosk was broken so I slummed it and didn’t pay anything.  Ever see my car?  Parking attendants usually think it is abandoned and take pitty on it anyway…. kidding….. they tow it typically

The Shops

Classic, quaint stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, etc all opened and welcoming along the cobble stoned Germantown Avenue.

Activities

Not a ton of activities but both kids and adults sure seemed to be having fun.  I was too but can’t think of one decisive reason why. Everyone was very pleasant and those who dressed in Potter costumes seem to transform from audience to entertainer during their trip to Chestnut Hill.

Cost

Unless you paid for parking, it doesn’t cost a thing.  This event near Norristown is free. Figure lunch and all that might run you something but there is no ticket needed for the event.

Harry Potter near Norristown

A Restaurant View of Potter Fans

The Norristown Zoo – Elmwood Park

Hey, I’ll admit,  Norristown’s Zoo, The Elmwood Park zoo is not nearly as sophisticated as the Philadelphia Zoo.  Not even close.  If the zoo in Norristown and the zoo in Philadelphia decided to step into a wrestling ring, Philly would resemble Hulk Hogan and Norristown would look more like a kid swinging outside pre-school class. I don’t watch much wrestling, but in terms of size and talent, my money would be on the Hulkster.

Unlike Philly, Norristown has no lions to get eaten by, no giraffes climb up high on, no bears to eat your picnic basket and no elephants to trample you.  That said, Norristown’s zoo has plenty of animals, is easy to get to,has free parking and other cool stuff.

Let’s run through what they’ve got at Norristowns Zoo

The Area

The Norristown Zoo is situated in a nice area on the outskirts of Norristown not far from Swede Road and 202 (Markley)

The Parking

Parking lot parking is ample and free. It is also close by so it doesn’t feel like you have to walk across barren desert or frozen tundra to reach the zoo. No shuttle or survival rations needed to go from lot to entrance gate. It’s literally a minute walk for the average person who doesn’t walk on all fours.

 

Getting In

There’s never a big line to get into the Elmwood Park Zoo.  It’ll just take a minute

As of the date this post was written figure about $12 to get in as a grown up and $8 as a child.  Since I’m cheap and ugly (according to my mother anyway), I’ve tried to sneak in with only paying the $8 kid-price but my beard gives it away everytime.  I guess children don’t grow beards anymore?

The Animals

For such a small, local zoo they do have a lot of different animals and some nice surprises.  I very much enjoyed the bobcat and the panther exhibits.  The bison were pretty cool too. Bald eagles, snakes, bats and other neat animals

There’s plenty of others as well. I don’t want to spoil it but some cool stuff.

The Layout

The park is easy to get around and all of the paths are paved for easy access whether on foot, stroller or wheelchair.

On thing that is nice too is the paths are laid out so you can get pretty close to the animals in their pens and view them from all different angles for a nice close up.

Food

Small concession area where you can get a hot dog, burger, sodas or other snacks.

What Did I Think?

I wouldn’t travel long distances to visit the Elmwood Park Zoo but for anyone who lives in the Norristown, Landsdale, Conshohocken, Collegeville, etc etc areas nearby, if you haven’t been there, definitely make a visit sometime. The zoo is small enough to not be intimidating or take up a lot of your time, but it is big enough to spend a couple hours in the afternoon and really learn a thing or two.

Who Will Like it?

Children will like it. There is a petting zoo, fun demonstrations throughout the day and even the little ones will be able to see the animals clearly and easily from many angles.

Grown-ups, if you are not expecting a full blown African safari complete with a wildebeast trying to gore your guts out, you’ll enjoy Elmwood Park for what it is. It is a small, locally run, clean zoo, that does a nice job giving you some lessons on these animals you may or may not see everyday.

For More Information Click Here For Elmwood Park’s Website

Where is The Zoo?


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Fun Things to Do In Near and (not too) Far From Norristown

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