Friday, October 14, 2011

Other things near Philly

There was lots of other things to do in the area as well. We traveled out to Valley Forge, we found out how to twist pretzels, and we toured the oldest, continuously operated brewery in America.

This was Washington's headquarters while his army camped at Valley Forge for the winter. There were no battles at Valley Forge, but it still played an important part of history, since it kept an eye on the British, who controlled Philadelphia.

The museum at Valley Forge was one of the best I have seen for the Revolutionary War. It had a timeline of all the major events which occurred during the 8 years. It was interesting to see how many of those places I have visited this summer.

These were the log cabins built for their winter encampment. Twelve men lived in each of these cabins. The men built their own cabins, including cutting down the trees for the logs. Some cabins were built in just a few days, but by the end of the month their were over 1000 of these cabins dotting the countryside in and around Valley Forge.

We also visited Sturgis Preztel Factory in Lititz, PA. He opened the first pretzel factory in America. His innovation of baking the pretzels a second time to make them crisp, gave them a longer life, and they could be shipped to further locations than soft pretzels. Although today they have a separate, modern facility, they maintain the original so they can show you how it was done.

Pretzel bakers even have their own coat of arms.

Now that is one big pretzel I'm standing next to.

The original brick ovens. They are no longer allowed to be used since there are living quarters above on the 2nd floor. There were living quarters above 150 years ago too, but they didn't have the fire marshall and fire codes to follow. Only hand made soft pretzels are made at this facility, and they are baked in an electric oven.

Everyone on the tour got a piece of dough. We would then roll in out like a long, fat piece of spaghetti.

Then they showed us how to twist the dough into the pretzel shape.

And everyone got a certificate too. Back when all pretzels were hand made, a pretzel twister was one of the highest paying jobs around, and he could twist 40 pretzels per minute.

They eventually went to this automated machine, but even then, someone had to constantly watch it, because dough would get caught in the machinery and it would have to be stopped and cleaned out before it could be started again.

At one time they had about 20 of these machines and they could put out thousands of pretzels a day. Today, pretzels are fully automated using a die cut system, and now thousands of pretzels per minute can be produced.

This is Linden Hall, the oldest girls resident school in the U.S., founded in 1746 by the Moravian Church. It is still in operation today.

The Moravian Church on the grounds of Linden Hall.

We also traveled to Pottsville, PA, where the oldest brewery in America is located. Along the street are some of the oldest homes in the area, dating to the 1830s. Pottsville was once known for all of its anthricite mines. It made many men very rich and these large mansions show off their wealth.

I especially liked this old home. I felt like it ought to be in a haunted house movie.

I loved these life like murals on the side of the brewery.

See the Ice Cream sign on the side of the building? During prohibition, although they were allowed to make a Porter, which had a high enough alcohol content it was considered medicinal, they started making ice cream as their main cash retail item until prohibition was over.

They like to tell the story that on the day prohibition was repealed there was a wagon load of beer on its way to the White House as a thank you. Think about that one. (Remember, beer takes about a month to produce)

Yuengling Brewery, founded by David G. Yuengling, has been operating continuously on this site since 1831. They still brew beer here, but because they cannot expand in this location, they have built a newer, larger brewery outside of town. Also, in recent years they obtained the Schultz Brewery in Tampa, FL, and now produce Yuengling beer in Florida as well. They are still considered a small brewery and only ship to selected states. Surprisingly most New England states still do not get Yuengling, while most of the coastal states between PA and FL do.

No comments: