Brandywine & Valley Forge in the Countryside of Philadelphia: A Shared History
Both Brandywine and Valley Forge played noteworthy roles in the American Revolutionary War: The former saw victory go to British General Howe, while the latter was the site of the 1777–1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army, from which emerged a spirited and rededicated fighting force. Living history villages include a revolutionary war hospital and soldier’s orphan school. Sites welcome visitors to experience stories brought to life in lively and informative ways, including historical interpreters, hands-on demonstrations and multimedia presentations.
A Gardener’s Paradise
The greater Philadelphia region abounds in horticultural assets, earning the moniker “America’s Garden Capital.” Brandywine’s world-renowned Longwood Gardens combines the best of Italian, French and English traditions to create one of America’s most memorable gardens. Longwood encompasses 1,050 acres, offering 40 indoor/outdoor gardens and a breathtaking conservatory.
Morris Arboretum, in the Valley Forge area, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Founded in 1933, Morris Arboretum has over 12,000 plants from North America, Europe, the Mediterranean, China, Japan and Korea with a focus on Asian temperate species. Some of them are among the largest of their kind in North America while others are exceedingly rare.
A Shopping Haven
Bargains are just as plentiful as blooms, as fabulous shopping, including tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes, can be found throughout the countryside. King of Prussia Mall—the largest retail complex on the U.S. East Coast – features over 400 stores that include Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales and Macy’s and an impressive collection of luxury retailers (Cartier, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Williams-Sonoma, for example). Nearby Philadelphia Premium Outlets offers 150 name brand outlet stores offering 25 to 65 percent savings everyday from brands including Ann Taylor, Coach, Abercrombie and Fitch, Brooks Brothers and Nike.
Electronic shopping takes center stage at QVC. The QVC Studio Tour allows you to experience a live television broadcast, where you can see for yourself how products are brought to life on air and delivered to millions of customers. Afterward, the studio store is available for shopping. Unique shopping options can also be found throughout the small towns and villages that populate the countryside, as well as at the gift shops in the world-class museums and attractions.
The region also has museums to appeal to all tastes, from high art to lowbrow comedy. The Brandywine River Museum displays an unparalleled collection of illustrations, still lifes and landscapes by three generations of the Wyeth family. The Wharton Esherick Museum celebrates the “Dean of American Craftsmen” and his unique and fanciful woodcarvings. The John James Audubon Center contains a copy of his “Birds of America”, printed and hand colored from copper plate engravings.
At the other end of the spectrum, The Stoogeum stands as tribute to the comic artistry of The Three Stooges. Inside, a steady stream of their shorts plays out in an 85-seat theater, where visitors are free to sit back and giggle after viewing some 3,000 pieces of Stooge memorabilia.