Saturday, August 19, 2017

Visit to Valley Forge National Historic park

When my sister told me that we could visit somewhere near King of Prussia, I wrote down some of the places near King of Prussia, and one of the place was Valley Forge National Historic park. When we reached there we realized the vastness of the place, and understood that it could be difficult see all the places situated only inside the valley, other places were out of question.


 Anyway, we went inside the Visitor’s Center , and one of the forest officers let us know how we could go around the mountain to see the places. Also, he told us to go the Washington’s quarter quickly, as it would be closed at 6 in the evening.Anyway, Valley Forge is quite rich with history. 

Cannon used at that time


During late 18th century, America was fighting with British for independence when some of the colonies wanted to leave British rule. The colonists lost few of the major battles against British under the leadership of Washington, they reached snow covered Valley Forge in the cold month of December hungry and tired. At that time, few of the generals joined with Washington in the valley Forge.

Soldiers  barrack


 After 6 months of encampment in the valley the army successfully battled with British, which was the turning point of the war.Currently this Valley Forge is well maintained and turned into a Historic park to commemorate the first success to the independence. There were 9 places inside the vibrant green hilly park to visit and to know the history of what happened in those days during the war. We took the map from the visitor’s center, and took narrow hilly car road to visit the points. First, we reached the Memorial arch. However, we first wanted to visit Washington’s headquarter first. So, didn’t got down there, and that was a big mistake. It was a one-way path, and there was no way to come back to the same point.

One of the officer's quarters


 Anyway, we tried to follow the map, but we made some mistake, and we found the we were out of the park. Luckily that road was both way, so we could again go back inside the park. Again, we started for Washington’s headquarter. Suddenly, we found an old white house on a flushing green land through the trees. We thought that was the house we had been searching. We parked the car, ran towards the house. However, the house was closed. We tried in vain to find out a door to go inside. 


Then we found a barn. Then we found the little river, over the river there was a little bridge, again we found another two houses. One of the house was occupied by the wedding party. 


We were totally confused. Then on the we found out the plaque, and where we read none of the house was occupied by George Washington. The four houses are Lord Stirling’s quarter, William Maxwell’s quarter, Henry Konx quarter, and Lafayette’s quarter.


 Anyway, from there again we started driving in search of Washington’s quarter. Then we saw the landmark for Washington’s memorial chapel. We drove, and found a parking lot. We parked our car, walked down the winding walkway and landed on a green field. It was almost 6 o’clock, and Washington’s quarter about to be closed.

Washington's quarter 


 I sent my son to one of the forest rangers who were talking there, to know which one was the Washington’s quarter among the four buildings there. They pointed out the exact house. We ran there, and one of the forest ranger was almost closing down the house. We requested him to keep open for five minutes. We ran inside the house, and saw the entire house, and understood a little about his life in the encampment. The rail station which was already closed at the time we reached couldn’t know the history of it. Only thing I found that the railway station was built in early 19th century , and currently not functioning. 

Interior of Washington's quarter


 Other two houses I don’t know about them, as they were already closed. In our agenda, the last one was Washington’ s memorial chapel. 

The Chapel


Again, we asked another ranger the way, and he told us. We almost rushed there. Still we were late, when we reached the chapel, that was already closed, and also the gift shop closed down 0jst in front of us to my son’s disappointment.  Though the it was closed, we walked around the beautifully built chapel for some time. Then we decided to go back.

The Justice Bell

  


Monday, August 14, 2017

Mom's garden- A memoir

The garden is still there, though it has lost its old glory. Sitting on the seal of the backyard door in my parents’ house where I grew up, I had been thinking about the garden which used to see as a child. Many memories started flooding my mind. When we shifted to that very house, the place was still developing, and we sisters were little. The soil was very fertile.

The house where I grew up

 Whatever vegetables mom used to plant we harvest in abundance. The only plant mom never succeeded is pumpkin. I can remember that, only once mom got one small pumpkin.

Orange jasmine in the front yard

 
Small garden in the box window

Arabian Jasmine




Once a guava plant grew in our garden out of no where. Our gardener told my mom to keep that very plant. According to him, the seed came from bird’s dropping. The birds always eat the best fruits . So, the quality of the guavas would be excellent. And, he was absolutely right. We tasted many guavas from the market, but none of the guava tasted not even a little bit of the guavas from our trees. The tree used to produce so many guavas, that the whole neighborhood used to feast with our guavas. There were two children in our neighborhood, they loved those guavas so much , they always took guavas in buckets. However, after many years the tree became sick, and the quality of the fruits deteriorated. After much thought, mom decided to cut down the tree, and that made me sad.


We also had many papaya trees in the backyard. All the papaya trees used to give so many fruits, we again used to distribute among our neighbors. Being in a tropical country, we got so many tropical fruits from our back yard. Even my mom had banana plants also. Sadly I don’t have any pictures of those plant. That was the era before smart phones. 

Jatropha



Jungle geranium


Night Jasmine


In the front yard mom used to plant flowers. Every season we had different colors of annuals in our front yard. During the rainy season mom always planted Impatiens balsamic (local name Dopati), and those plants bloomed to their fullest. Still mom is known as the green thumb in the neighborhood. We had as many as six or seven hibiscus plant of different colors in our garden. The neighborhood people used to exchange plants. The funniest past was that, all the plants always thrived in our garden rather than in others’ garden. Mom’s garden was truly neighbor’s envy, owner’s pride. Once up on a time mom planted many annuals in pots and kept them on the wall of the roof. From the street our home used to looks different and colorful. 



Now as she is aging , she has no stamina or energy to work in the garden, though she does a little bit till now. However, that memories of mom’s garden still vivid in my mind.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Walking in Bellvue state park

It was another lazy afternoon, we were sitting on the couch and planning to go somewhere. However, whatever places we wanted to go, all of them were on the verge of closing for the day, even the mall.

 

At last we decided to walk somewhere is some state parks. Philadelphia is very green due to rain through the year unlike California, and full of beautiful state parks.Anyway, my sister decided to go to Bellevue state park which was near her home, and very serene place for evening or morning walk. 


Till now the day time is long, so reaching at 6 in the evening didn't make much difference. We had enough sunlight to walk for an hour. 
Going to the parking was a nice and serene experience. The narrow jungle road suddenly opened to a vast green meadow.  After parking our car, we took a path not knowing where to go. The path led to picturesque little lake with a beautiful wooden bridge made it looked a like fairy tale village. People had been fishing on the little lake.


 After crossing the fairy tale wooden bridge, we started walking on a path. We started our leisurely evening walk just to freshen up the mind. We just walked around the little lake enjoying the lush greenery around, and our children enjoyed the little activities which are kept beside the path. We only saw a very little part of that vast park. It was actually, Mr. William du Pont’s, property which was acquired by State of Delaware, and converted into a state park. 


Though I read about the mansion, one possessed by Mr. du Pont, but I couldn’t locate it. I read that the mansion was equipped with all the finest facilities, but I didn’t see it. Maybe it was on other part of the huge state park.


 Anyway, it was a very enjoyable walk amid bright green trees, and huge sweet green grasslands. Inside the grassland we saw little rabbits hopping here and there. The deer were seemed unfazed by the presence of human in their habitat. Humans were also respectful to them. I can say both of them were unfazed by the presences of each other.
  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Visit to Bushkill Falls

It was totally an unplanned visit to my sister’s place in Philadelphia. So, I didn’t have time to research about the places to visit in Philadelphia. Though I’ve found about Pocono Mountains, but, neither I researched in detail nor I took much interest in it.


However, my brother-in-law wanted to visit Pocono mountains. Anyway, one fine Sunday morning we planned to go to Pocono. But we didn’t know where to go. So, we decided to go to Pocono Mountains visitor center, because from there we could get some brochures to get the list of places to visit. When, we reached there we found that the visitor center was closed for renovations, but we got some brochures, where we found some places to visit.

However, we didn’t want to go those places. We wanted to visit the mountain, the falls, and forest. My sister told that we left behind the Bushkill falls. So, we again drove back, and reached the forest where to wanted to go. I always love the drive in the forest. Unlike the west coast, the east coast forests are much denser, and vibrant green. Anyway, we drove through the forest, and reached the crowded trailhead of Bushkill falls.

We didn’t have any plan to hike, but, just to visit the falls there. Anyway, after standing behind the long queue, we got the entry ticket of the wooden walkway of the falls. There are eight falls altogether, though I could see only three falls distinctly. The wooden walkway was itself a marvellous structure to see. Anyway, the roaring main falls, we could see from the bottom of the walkway. In the vast lush greenery, the roaring falls was looking gorgeous in the bright golden sunlight of the middle of the day. In the beginning of the walkway, it was broad, and moderate, and was easy to climb. Hiking rough steep paths are much easier than climbing the steps. After climbing the easy steps, we reached one point from where we had to climb down the very narrow and steep continuation of the walkway. Keeping the roaring falls on the front of our eyes, we slowly walkdown the path. From there the landing we could see the bottom of the mail falls.

Though the falls is known as Niagara of Pennsylvania, there is no similarity between two falls. These falls are much smaller than Niagara. However, it is beautiful and majestic in their own way. Nature created these falls amid dense forest, making it majestic and lovable to the nature lovers.

 Though walked down the flights, but climbing up the flights was really difficult task. After climbing up from the foot of the main falls no one was ready to go Bridal veil falls, I also didn’t pursue others to go to the Bridal veil falls. After climbing up we reached the Pennel Falls. Pennel Falls was much flatter, but we could reach very near to the falls. Again, through flat walkway we reached the Laurel Glen Falls. Then the path was much more easier to walk, and we reached the starting point again.