July 21, 2015
We just returned from Pennsylvania where we were attending the wedding of our son to his wonderful fiancée. Obviously the point of the trip was to spend time with family and attend the ceremony and reception, but we planned a few extra days so that we could relax as well. Since the wedding was taking place near Valley Forge National Historical Park, we felt it was only fitting that we should take a day and revisit the park. Shortly after we were married, we had moved to Exton Pennsylvania and on our first wedding anniversary we had gone horse back riding in the park, so naturally since we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, it came as a nice surprise to be able to revisit a location that held dear memories in our hearts. If it wasn’t enough that we had the opportunity to recapture memories of our first year of marriage while enjoying our son’s wedding, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the town of Phoenixville, where the wedding was being held, was celebrating Blobfest while we were in town. It was truly a unique experience and something that we didn’t know anything about until we arrived in town. There was one thing, however, that we were definitely planning on and that was getting a cheesesteak and a hoagie, two things that we either can’t get, or at least can’t get the same, in Colorado as they are in Pennsylvania.
It is hard to express how wonderfully romantic it was to walk through Valley Forge National Park, hand in hand, and reminisce about the early years of our marriage. Although we only lived in Exton for two years before work moved us halfway across the country to Colorado, it has always held a dear place in our hearts. Even seeing the sign for Chester County brought back memories as that is where our youngest daughter was born. The fact that the park doesn’t charge an entrance fee should certainly help entice anyone who is visiting the area to make the park a stop on their trip, but the historical significance alone should make it a must to visit. We highly recommend that if you travel inside the United States frequently or have any national parks near where you live, that you buy an annual pass for the national parks, it pays for itself within a couple of visits. Lucky for us, the weather for July in Pennsylvania couldn’t have been more beautiful, the humidity had decided to give us a break and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We chose to walk the loop through all of the sites of the park rather than drive so that we could enjoy the historical markers, monuments, and buildings as well as take advantage of being outside in a truly gorgeous park with rolling hills and lush trees. After enjoying a wonderful day in the park, we went into Phoenixville for a couple of glasses of beer and wine as well as an appetizer and a burger at the Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant. Whenever we travel, we always like to find places that serve local beers, perhaps because we come from the home of a thousand craft beers, and Iron Hill definitely fit the bill, their Vienna Red Lager was the perfect pairing to our spicy burger.
While we were in Phoenixville, we learned about Blobfest, an annual celebration that occurs every July to commemorate the filming of original version of the horror movie classic, “The Blob“. The festival lasts three days and the headline event is the reenactment of the scene in the movie where the blob attacks patrons of the Colonial Theatre, located in downtown Phoenixville, and festival goers participate in the “run out”. We would return to see the festivities the following day, but not until we had found a place to get an authentic hoagie and cheesesteak. Although some people think that they are the same, there is a difference between subs, grinders, and hoagies. Specifically, hoagies are made in a deli where the meat is sliced as the sandwiches are made and the bread is baked fresh daily. The bread is traditionally softer than that of a sub, but there is something about getting everything fresh that makes all of the difference. We were fortunate to find a wonderful deli, with a line that wrapped around the store, called the Collegeville Italian Bakery and Deli that made us the perfect cheesesteak and Italian hoagie.
Stomachs full, it was back to Phoenixville to enjoy the walking dead, costume and store front decorating contests, and a variety of street vendors selling horror memorabilia and more. The streets were lined with vintage cars from the 1950’s and there was even a fire truck that we believe was used in the original filming of “The Blob”. Although we didn’t know anything about the festival before we arrived, anyone who is in the area in early July should make an attempt to enjoy the festival, especially if you are into horror movies as we are. It was truly a treat. With that said, we were off to the main event of the weekend, the wedding. The bride and groom were glowing and the ceremony and reception were absolutely perfect. It was the perfect ending to a long weekend that was full of new memories, old memories, and pleasant surprises.