Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board Tells 18th-Century Story Using 21st-Century Technology

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VFTCB’s Patriot Trails Offers New Way to Experience Revolutionary War History throughout Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

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Most people recognize the role that Valley Forge National Historical Park played during those crucial years of 1777 and 1778. What visitors – and even locals – may not know is that the encampment that was housed there is just one aspect of a larger story.

The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) will use the backdrop of the Presidents’ Day celebration at Valley Forge National Historical Park to introduce Patriot Trails, its comprehensive touring adventure designed to illustrate the dramatic struggle for independence for modern visitors.

Patriot Trails is a self-guided Revolutionary War journey that uses web-based, mobile technology to tell the richly detailed story of the Revolutionary War as it unfolded throughout Montgomery County, Pa. Best of all, the transportable information can be accessed while visitors are onsite at the significant locations – or even en route. The stories are available 24/7.

“Most people recognize the role that Valley Forge National Historical Park played during those crucial years of 1777 and 1778. What visitors – and even locals – may not know is that the encampment that was housed there is just one aspect of a much larger story,” explains VFTCB President Bill Fitzgerald. “What we are doing is telling that tale by showcasing other significant historic sites throughout Montgomery County.”

The customized itineraries highlight 16 historic sites in all areas of the county. Notable destinations include Peter Wentz Farmstead in Lansdale, which twice served as Washington’s temporary headquarters, and Hope Lodge in Fort Washington, the site of a six-week encampment prior to the winter in Valley Forge.

“The information for our trails is formatted for mobile devices. Our website’s responsive technology enables history buffs, families, students and groups can to access information on the go, adds VFTCB’s Vice President of marketing and communications, Edward Harris.

The VFTCB also assists visitors with recommended lodging and places to eat, all nearby each of the itinerary stops. Many of these have historic connections as well.

“Pennypacker Mills, the site of a temporary encampment, is a three-minute drive to Woodside Lodge in Schwenksville,” Fitzgerald notes. “Visitors can take part in the numerous programs at Pennypacker, enjoy a fantastic meal at Woodside and check into one of the great suites for a night, resting up for more Montco exploration the following day.” luxurious

The Patriot Trails website breaks the exploration down into manageable options, depending on how much time a history buff has. Designed for all ages, the itineraries range from half-day to multi-day, and can be customized. The website also highlights the men and women who committed themselves fully to oppose the British crown, offering mini-biographies.

The accent is on engagement and interest. Patriot Trails is being marketed with a [video that depicts two boys on a pathway to discovery. Through the course of their weekend in Montgomery County, Pa., they eventually awaken to the excitement and appeal of history – to the point that their video games are soon abandoned. The video is also hosted on the Patriot Trails website.

“We are very excited to launch this tour,” adds Harris. “Its success can be replicated to enable visitors to experience our great county in a whole host of ways, from military history beyond the Revolution to arts and culture destinations to retro theaters and brewpubs. It fits perfectly with our branding effort to highlight Montgomery County as a whole and instill a sense of pride through the use of the MakeItMontco hashtag on social media.”

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Dan Weckerly
Visit Valley Forge
since: 05/2009
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