This weekend we ventured north to Chads Ford, Pennsylvania and the Brandywine Battlefield Park. It was here that George Washinton fought William Howe in one of the largest battles of the American Revolutionary War. Some friends were visiting from Virgina, one of them a retired Marine Sargent. He is into all kinds of Military history and my family just loves history in general so this was the perfect outing. The site is nestled among beautiful rolling hills but since the day was very hot and humid we decided not to walk the miles of actual battlefield. Instead we toured the museum/visitors center and the two homes that sit on the property.
We started by watching a short film about the Battle of Brandywine. Although this was not an American victory, it was where the American army first showed itself to be a formidible and capable force. It was also here that a 19 year old French soldier named Lafayette first saw action. After the film we checked out the many artifacts that have been found on the property, everything from cannon balls to personal items. They also had replica uniforms and of course a gift shop!
Next we toured the Benjamin Ring home. This house was used as George Washington’s headquarters for three days prior to the actual battle on September 11, 1777. Mr Ring was a Quaker and had tried to stay out of the conflict but he and his sons eventually sided with the Americans. The home that stands on the property now is a replica that was constructed in the 1940’s after the original was destroyed in a fire.
I love the beautiful stone exteriors so typical of historic homes in this area. We were told that Mr Ring owned several mills along the river and was quite wealthy by Colonial standards. The young man who gave us the tour was very knowledgeable but we all agreed that he spoke much too fast! Maybe it was the heat. 😰 One interesting fact he shared was that the little structure jutting out the back of the house is called a “beehive oven” and it is where Mrs Ring would have spent one day each week baking the 56 loaves of bread required to feed her family! Busy woman! There was also an underground ice house out back where the family would store large blocks of ice hauled from the river each winter. They would pack the ice in hay and use it to keep there foods cool during the warmer months.
Here are some photos of the other homestead on the property which was owned my another Quaker gentleman Gideon Gilpin and his family. We were not able to go inside but even the exterior of the buildings were quite charming.
I was really taken by these little steps that were built into the wall surrounding the property. What a clever chaps those colonial farmers were!
This amazing white oak was growing in the yard next to the Gilpin house. The plaque next to it says that it is believed to be over 200 years old! That’s my Hubby in the photo giving the tree some scale although it looks more like he is giving it a hug! The branches were spread out in a huge canopy above our heads. It was breathtaking!
We enjoyed a nice picnic lunch on the grounds and then rounded out the day with a stop at the Chaddsford Winery where we listened to music and sampled some local wines. All in all it was a lovely day and it was even educational! I highly recommend it. For more information visit here: Brandywine Battlefield Park.