Washington Crossing State Park
355 Washington Crossing-Pennington Rd.
Yummygal’s Top Things To See In The Philadelphia Area.
Around 1700, this area was a happening place. It transported folks back and forth on the river via a ferry for commerce and trade. Fast forward to December 25th 1776, this was about the only passable place for General Washington’s Continental Army to travel across. Plus, this site was very strategic on his part. It was a blistering cold month. Most of the Delaware River was frozen solid. The soldiers froze and starved to death.
Washington was able to get his posse to New Jersey safely. This “infamous” crossing was the beginning of a 10 day struggle. These 10 days were climatic. It led to the Battles of Trenton and Princeton. These wars were instrumental victories for Washington’s troops against the Hessians and British soldiers. These “wins” were a defining moment for the American Revolution.
During these battles, Washington and his minions set up shop in The Johnson Ferry House about a 1/4 a mile from the banks of the Delaware River. This house served as the vital headquarters.
The name, Johnson Ferry is derived from the area known as the Johnson plantation. Johnson (Jansen) owned and operated the ferry that crossed the river. As you see, Johnson (the name) plus the ferry he owned and voila….The Johnson Ferry House. However, Johnson had perished years earlier and his heirs inherited the property. His sons were forced to sell their inheritance due to bad debt they both accumulated.
The farm was sold to a man named Abraham Harvey. He in turn rented it to a man named, James Slack. Slack continued with the operations of the ferry and the farm. He saw 2 weeks of soldiers coming and going on the premises.
Fast forward 130+ years later, an agglomeration has ensued. In 1912, Washington Crossing State Park was secured at 100 acres. It now encompasses 1,399 acres. Way to go!! Seriously this park is awesome.
The park boasts a Visitor Center Museum and has artifacts of the Continental and Hessian soldiers. Including various weapons, apothecary, uniforms, traditional clothing of the time, and hand-written letters and publications. This center does not allow photography. Sorry folks. This is a “WOW” place to go and see even if you don’t enjoy nature and the park. You will appreciate the affectation.
Washington Crossing State Park possesses a great view of the Delaware River and the canal. If you are hungry and didn’t bring a picnic lunch, there’s a quaint little bar with pub fare. It has a deck that overlooks the river for your eating delectation. (It’s not in the park, but across a little street from it.)
Also suited at the park, is a Nature Center and natural area. This section suits 140 acres within the Park. Offering Excellent educational displays for the kids and for us well-to-do adults. The Center has a few animals for the children’s merriment, computers, interactive displays, and books. Plus, Ranger Warren. He is quick-witted and will answer any questions you have. The Ranger is very informative about the area and the wildlife in the park.
The most attractive feature at the nature center is the honey beehive. My golly, very cool. The bees come inside via a plastic tube from the outside. You will see an actual working beehive covered in glass with bees producing honey. Just rad!
There are many other facilities on the grounds. An outdoor amphitheater that sits up to 800 people. They put out some major acts from time to time. It’s in a very natural hillside setting and the acoustics I hear are awesome.
Other offerings include; Picnic pavilions, 13 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding trails, fishing, the Nelson house, camping, bike riding, bird-watching, etc etc. The list is limitless.
I truly enjoyed my day here at the park. They had an encampment going on with various folks dressed in colonial garb. They were offering oratory history lessons and kid activities.
The mature trees, the friendly staff, the Delaware River, and everything else above make this an ideal place to visit.
Every Christmas, the famous crossing is reenacted and thousands come out to watch.
Enjoy this gracious park my friends. You will enjoy all the FREE accoutrements.