Washington Crossing Historic Park is divided into two parts. In order to really understand it you need to go to the Visitor Center which is down the road in the lower part of the park. If you get to the bridge that goes to Hiway 532 you have gone too far. The sign is on the left for the Visitor Center but the parking lot is on the right. The park attendant sitting behind the desk in the Visitor Center can explain to you how to get around the park and where to find interesting sites.
There is a website for them at but beware when you actually come to the area and start exploring it gets a little confusing because the signs are not that good and there are these large expanses of park areas. It is big and has many areas to it so if you are looking for history you need to stop and get oriented first. The Visitor Center has books about the Revolution, the Crossing and more and other items for sale. Yeah, I bought three one on the Continental Line and the other on Militia for Pennsylvania.
They have a 15 minute film about the big event of the crossing of the Delaware by Washington and his troops. There are tours of at the Visitor Center that describe the crossing and then take you through the remaining houses from Taylorsville and give you the history of that thriving town and the colorful people that lived in it. You do get to go inside a couple of the houses and see what life was like in the early 1800’s. They also have more detailed information about the different sites in the park in brochures that you can pick up at the Visitor Center.
There is the upper area where Washington stayed and the lower area where they actually crossed the Delaware and were the town of Taylorville grew up after the Revolution and was the economic hub of the area. On the upper part of the park you will find the Bowman’s Tower, Thompson-Neely House, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, and the Thompson-Neely Gristmill and there are picnic areas and more.
I went down to the Visitor Center in the lower part of the park and looked around. I saw a little bit of the film explaining the crossing and the events that lead to it. There was a tour at 2 p.m. so I took that and learned that Washington crossed and then engaged the enemy and then he returned. He did that all in a snow blizzard, at night on Christmas Day and the day after. The Delaware River can be treacherous and they lost the first boat upon the crossing. They had Durham Boats in the barn that were like the actual boats used in the crossing. The painting that is so famous is not historically accurate. These boats were a good size and the oars were very long. We toured Taylorsville and were able to go inside of several of the houses. It was a very pleasant an interesting tour.
Hours are Tuesday thru Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday is Noon to 5 p.m. There is an admission fee. Website: www.ushhistory.org/washingtoncrossing Call them if you have questions they are helpful and friendly (215) 493-4076.
I chose to stay at the Pineapple Bed and Breakfast Lodging located in Makefield about 4.5 miles south of New Hope on the left. It is located right before Stoney Brook Road and the Taylorsville Road. You can look for the Pineapple Flags. This house was built in 1790. My room was the John Scott and it was very comfortable. Take it easy driving into their driveway for it is narrow and a little steep but there is a great parking area which makes it nice. I was great to be able to stay in this circa 1790 house because when I visited the Nathan Denison house in Forty-Fort, PA. I was unable to go inside. My breakfast was delicious both days and the coffee was good and strong. The proprietors are friendly, helpful, welcoming and will answer your many questions and give some good advice. They also have Sherry to sip. They have wireless in their dining room area. The other good thing about the Pineapple Bed and Breakfast is the location is right in the middle of all the action. New Hope is just up the highway. There is a big binder in the dining room filled with suggestions for restaurants. This B&B is between the two parts of the Washington Crossing Park and they are mostly importantly just about 1 mile north from the Washington’s Crossing Visitor Center and less than that to the David Library of the American Revolution where you can go and research from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
I would be ready to deal with the tailgating impatient locals. I was advised to turn up my mirror ignore them. Also be aware that the road is only two lane and narrow and it is hard to find a place to turn out to retrace or get out of the way. I also noticed that there were not a lot of street lights so if you drive at night please be careful.
It is lovely country with beautiful big and old houses and lovely estates and parks to explore. There were lots of houses for sale? Anyone got a $1 million plus? It is really tough for a photographer to not want to jump out and take a shot here and there but there are not too many areas to do that so you have to do a little reconnaissance and planning. This is an area to come relax, have fun bring your spouse, your significant other and just explore enjoying the sites. You can even explore the other side of the Delaware River by crossing the bridges into New Jersey.
I spotted several signs about wineries in the area. Hmmm, a little wine tasting sure sounded good.