Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

The National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge National Historic Park stands as a testament to the fortitude and perseverance of George Washington and the soldiers of the Continental Army during the winter of 1777-1778.  That winter was a deadly but pivotal time for the men of The Revolution.  Even in the midst of bitter cold and near starvation, they were able to rally under the passionate direction of Baron Otto von Steuben.  Because of the time spent at Valley Forge, the Continental Army ultimately defeated one of the most powerful forces in the world and finally gained the freedom they suffered and fought so long and hard for.

The Memorial was designed by Paul Phillipe Cret to resemble the Triumphal Arch of Titus in Rome (81 AD).  Originally, arches were planned for von Steuben and Washington, but lack of funding kept von Steuben’s memorial on the drawing board.   The remaining arch that honors Washington and his army is an impressive monument on its own.  It’s made all the more imposing by it’s situation on a hill and the open fields, gentle woods and tiny huts that surround it.  We visited the park on one of the hottest, most humid days of last summer so the irony of our situation was almost too much too bear.  We were actually praying for just a flake or two of the snow those soldiers endured for months so long ago!







For more information about the National Memorial Arch or Valley Forge National Historic Park, wander over here.

And, if you would like to see other impressive monuments, wander over here.

Happy browsing!

Lancaster’s Central Market: A World Class Ranking


I love where I live.  It is so rich in history and quiet beauty. For instance, the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the oldest inland city in the United States.  It should come as no surprise, then, that its best known farmers’ market is also the oldest of its kind in the country.  Central Market has been around since the 1730’s – a very long time in the short life of America – and was actually granted permanent status by none other than King George II in 1742.  Today, the market is housed in a beautiful old building that was designed by James Warner and built in 1889.  On Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, locals and visitors alike wander the aisles filled with fresh produce and flowers, baked goods, meats, seafood, ethnic foods, and souvenirs.  It is nothing short of a festival for the senses.  Whenever I visit, I end up with a basketful of gorgeous fruits and veggies, a bouquet of flowers, and a goodie (or two).  Perhaps part of the draw for visitors is the fact that many of the stands are operated by Amish, pronounced Ah-mish (like a contented sigh), or Mennonite families.

I don’t really need reinforcement to support my belief that Lancaster County is the bomb.  Even so, it’s always a pleasant surprise when the powers that be take notice of my home town.  That’s why I was delighted to read this link my sister-in-law posted on her Facebook wall which listed Lancaster’s Central Market in the top ten fresh markets of the world.  Allow me to repeat: Top ten of the world!  Among cities like Tokyo, Barcelona, New York City, and Hong Kong, humble little Lancaster holds its own.  I am so proud! – not that I have anything at all to do with it.  I do live here, though, and I do visit the market, so I’m happy to bask in this recognition simply by association.

As a grown-up Fun Friday just for me, I made a visit to the market today.  Instead of shopping, I took my camera, thinking I would have some fun capturing the hustle and bustle.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I felt self-conscious, the lighting was difficult, and I didn’t want to offend anyone who might not want to be photographed.  Even with these limitations, I hope I was able to capture at least a bit of the vibe that makes our little Central Market unique and world-class.

Central Market is truly a festival for the senses.

Old Glory

Francis Scott Key asks this famous question at the end of the first stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner:

“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

My response?  Why yes, yes it does…

[ Spring Talent Show, LeTort Elementary, Washington Boro, Pennsylvania ]

[ Rockford Plantation, Lancaster, Pennsylvania ]

[ Lancaster, Pennsylvania ]

[ Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania ]

[ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ]

 [ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ]

[ Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania ]

[ Baltimore Inner Harbor, Maryland ]

[ Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland ]

[ Air Show, Ocean City, Maryland ]

[ Washington, D.C. ]

[ Bar Harbor, Maine ]

[ Bar Harbor, Maine ]

[ Tampa, Florida ]

[ Little Palm Island, Florida ]

[ Key West, Florida ]

[ Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California ]

[ Julian, California ]

[ Julian, California ]

[ Mount Soladad, La Jolla, California ]

[ Coronado, California ]

[ Coronado, California ]

[ Coronado, California ]

A little FYI: Colors for the American flag were taken from the official seal of the United States (which was designed and approved before the flag).  Colors for the seal were chosen for the qualities they represented – white for purity, red for valor and hardiness, and blue for perseverance, justice, and vigilance.  The flag contains thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies or states: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.  The fifty white stars are representative of the fifty states that create the United States of America we recognize today.

Long may it wave….

Happy 4th of July!