local ambassador favorite

Hopewell Furnace

2 Mark Bird Lane Elverson, PA 19520

Wednesday-Sunday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM; Closed Monday and Tuesday

$

outdoor-adventures, parks

Hopewell Furnace is a National Historic Site located next to French Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, about an hour northwest of Philadelphia. The park is the site of Hopewell Furnace, an iron furnace and company town, that operated from 1771-1883.

The historical site includes many well-preserved buildings original to the town, including the furnace, sheds, housing, a company store, blacksmith, and the Iron Master’s mansion. Visitors can also see the barn and a few animals that would have been kept on the land when it was in use, including sheep and a horse! Each of the buildings includes period items that would have been present during the town’s operational years.

Our group visited during the Coronavirus pandemic and buildings were closed. At that time, we were able to peek through the windows to see inside. Under normal circumstances, the buildings are open to the public to explore. A visitor’s center where you can learn more about the furnace and its history is also normally available. Additionally, Hopewell Furnace offers a Junior Ranger book and badge for little ones that are interested in learning more about the site and becoming Junior Rangers.

If you’re looking for recreation, the site is also home to several trails. The Horseshoe Trail is a flat, packed gravel trail that is perfect for an easy walk or bike ride through the woods. (Please Note: Bikes are not allowed to be ridden through the village, so you’ll need to push your bike a short way, down a hill, in order to access the trail head.)

While my kids don’t normally love historic sites, the care and detail that was taken to make visitors feel as though they have stepped back in time made this spot a hit with my little ones. Park Rangers were also stationed throughout and happily answered any questions that the kids had.

Hopewell is a great size for families with children. There is just enough to see to keep kids entertained, but not so much that it’s overwhelming. Families should plan to spend about an hour, give or take, to explore the site.

The park does have bathrooms that are open to the public, but no food is available. Visitors are welcome to pack a snack from home. While the walking trails are easily navigable by foot, there are some steps and/or steep hills that must be traversed. Families with pre-walkers will be better off babywearing than using a stroller.

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Thoughtfully captured by:
Katie Raspa
Our work in Baltimore is truly a family affair. Husband and wife, Matt and Katie, work together to head up our ambassador team in Charm City. Katie is a Maryland native and has lived in the state her whole life. She moved to Baltimore in 2007 after graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. She has been working in the field of early childhood education as a teacher and family coach for the past 12 years. Katie also holds a Masters of Education in Literacy from Loyola University. She is passionate about giving kids and families the knowledge and tools that they need to thrive. Matt grew up in the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore. As a city native, Matt is a great resource on all that the city has to offer. After months of helping Katie explore the city for her role at a Happy Active Family, he decided to put his love of writing to use and officially come on board as an ambassador. Matt and Katie have two girls, ages 5 and 7. They spend their weekends camping, hiking, or exploring other hidden gems in their area. Tap into their insider knowledge by downloading the app today!
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