May weather is just about as perfect as anyone could want. The last few days have been gorgeous with clear skies, warm temperatures, calm winds, and low humidity. This is also the time of year when a lot of outdoor activities are planned and it is impossible to do everything. We thought we had our plans made for today but changed our minds last evening. We decided to go on a local walking tour of historical sites which was part of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town of Womelsdorf, Pa. This is the little town about 3.5 south of where we live.
The walk began in the parking lot of the local grocery store and took us over the Tulpehocken Trail once used by all the common and famous people who traveled through the area. It is a known fact that Benjamin Franklin and George Washington traveled this road. Of course, it is now paved and new highways have made it a "back road." Our guide was Conrad Weiser himself (sort of).
Conrad Weiser (1696-1760) lived on the eastern edge of Womelsdorf and was a person of many talents. He was a pioneer farmer, tanner, and judge. In addition to German and English, he spoke the language of the Indians. He was an interpreter and effective diplomat between the government of Pennsylvania and the Native Americans.
Our guide led us across old stone-arch bridges, along the ditch that was once the Union Canal, into a cemetery that dates back to the 1720s, past old stone and log houses built in the 1700s, and much more. It was very interesting and I got some of my local history straightened out. I had some of the residences confused. For example, I thought this was the home of Leonard Reith (Reed), the leader of the group of Germans who were the first settlers in the area in 1723. No. This was the summer home of Casper Wistar, Philadelphia Quaker who was a doctor and colleague of Dr. Benjamin Rush. Leonard Reed lived nearby and operated a mill across the road from this house.
Leonard Reed's son lived nearby in this log house built in 1739.
We walked by another house with a date stone which says it was built by Johann Jacob Losch in 1753. This farm was sold to a Kurtz and stayed in the Kurtz family for 200 years until 2000.
I enjoyed the walking tour and am glad we went, but I was also very glad to reach the end of the trail three hours after we started out. A trolley was there to bring us back to the starting place.
I think my hind leg will be complaining for a few days after pulling this stunt. I knew a four mile walk would be a bit much for an old lady with rheumatoid arthritis but I did it anyway on the "go now pay later" plan. It was worth the time and effort.