Washington Crossing, History Vacation, Delaware River
How to Reach Washington Crossing PA:
By Auto: From the south take Route 95 to Baltimore, Stay on route 95 as it turns into 295 past Philadelphia. Find the turn off near the New Jersey State line, the last exit on 95 before crossing the Delaware River. Head north on Route 32, River Road.
From the north, Route 95 to the Delaware River, the first exit in Pa on I-95. Head north on River Road.
By air: Philadelphia airport and rental car
When to Go To Washington Crossing: April is a good month to visit because you might combine your visit to Washington Crossing with a visit to Longwood Gardens where on the second or third week in April the tulip gardens are in full bloom. Otherwise May until October are good months to visit and enjoy outdoor activities.
Christmas Eve commemorates the crossing with a costumed reenactment.
At Pennsylvania's Washington Crossing State Park you can see the McConkey Tavern that provided shelter for Washington as he prepared his army for the Delaware River Crossing
- Delaware River Crossing, McConkey Tavern
George Washington fought battles along the old post road that runs through the brandywine River Valley north of Philadelphia. You can visit those sites on what Pennsylvania calls its "Trail of History."
- Trail Of History Battle Sites
These historic sites are not far from Route One and the high-speed interstate, Route I-95.
The museum commemorating Washington's crossing of the Delaware and the Brandywine Battlefield Park, where Washington lost the battle that led to the fall of Philadelphia, can be historic bookends for a tour of Pennsylvania's Delaware River Valley and its Revolutionary War history.
- Brandywine Battlefield Park, Battlefield Museums
The Delaware also offers steam train rides in New Hope, the Franklin Mint on Route One, upscale shopping at Kennett Square, three generations of Wyeth family art at the Brandywine River Museum, the Winterthur Estate in nearby Delaware, and one thousand acres of formal gardens with 3,000 types of orchids at Longwood Gardens.
- Delaware Valley Sightseeing
In the center of all this history, you can tour of the City of Philadelphia with its Liberty Bell, historic Colonial buildings, the Franklin Institute's science exhibits, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art with its rooms full of sculpture by Rodin.
Washington Crossing State Park, thirty miles north of Philadelphia, is a 500-acre preserve that commemorates the crossing of the Delaware River by the Colonial Army on a stormy Christmas night in 1776. The Thomas-Neely House, a farm used as a hospital for Washington's army still stands as does the 1752 McConkey Ferry Inn and Tavern building where Washington reportedly dined with his commanders before the crossing. Washington loaded his 2,400 troops aboard 40 open boats normally used to carry pig iron and, with the help of New England fishermen skilled with open boats, he moved them across the ice-choked river in the middle of a blizzard. You can still see where they landed on the New Jersey side at Johnson's Ferry and the trail were they started an eight-mile march to fight the Battle of Trenton.
- Washington Crossing State Park
The rutted trail taken by the Colonial soldiers leaves the river beside the 1740s Johnson Ferry House and heads through the woods towards Trenton were Washington's army surprised the mercenary army of British-led Hessians soldiers and won the battle, a turning point for the Colonial army.
After the battle in which the colonial troops captured 900 Hessians and killed or wounded over 100 to just a few casualties for Washington, the colonials returned across the river to the McConkey Tavern where they held the captured Hessian officers briefly in a second floor room.
The McConkey Tavern at Washington Crossing State Park served as an inn on the stagecoach line between New York and Philadelphia and served as George Washington's Headquarters during the planning of the Battle of Trenton.
The walkway over the steel bridge beside the tavern leads to a bike and walking trail beside the river on the New Jersey side where loop trails range from seven to seventy miles along the Delaware and Raritan Canal.
- Bike Trails On The Delaware River
During December and on holidays throughout the year at Washington's Crossing, costumed guides cook meals over open-hearth colonial-style ovens while soldiers drill and practice for the battle. Each Christmas, a hardy bunch of re-enactors launches replica boats to live again that wintry crossing during the War of Independence.
The tavern is the centerpiece of a cluster of thirteen buildings constructed in the 18th and 19th century where a ferry once transported cargo and passengers across the Delaware River.
A paved walking and biking trail runs between the antique buildings and makes for good handicap access.
Re-enactors take the part of Hessian soldiers
Demonstrations of colonial cooking
Photos Bucks County Tourism
Photos Courtesy Bucks County Tourism
The McConkey Tavern, on the banks of the Delaware River, served as George Washington's Headquarters during the Battle of Trenton
Costumed soldiers drill for the crossing of the Delaware each Christmas