If you’re looking to work off some of Thursday’s turkey and pumpkin pie with a nice walk, you might consider adding in a healthy dose of history as well. Historic Harmony is offering a series of hikes along the Connoquenessing Creek Saturday with none other than George Washington leading the way.
The focus of the hike will be to commemorate the 260th anniversary of Major Washington’s mission to Fort Duquesne to ask the French to leave the area. It comes on the exact date that the 21-year-old George Washington stayed on the north shore of the creek at a Delaware Indian Village.
The trip was ultimately unsuccessful, and it was not long before the conflict that we now know as the French and Indian war erupted.
“No good reason for the French to stop building forts along the Allegheny and Ohio rivers and go away,” said John Ruch, president of Historic Harmony. “So it was pretty much an expected result probably.”
The program begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Harmony Museum’s Stewart Hall (218 Mercer Street, Harmony, PA) and the first hike steps off at 10 a.m. Trips will leave roughly every 45 minutes until 1 p.m. Reservations for the $3 hike are suggested but not required.
Re-enactors dressed as Washington and his guide Christopher Gist will provide a running commentary along the trail, pausing now and again for a few re-enactments including a key moment in the mission.
“An Indian took a shot at George Washington and missed," Ruch said. "Had he not missed there’s a whole bunch of American history that never would have happened. We consider that the first shot in the French and Indian War.”
The hike is less than a mile, but Ruch thinks it’s important to get out of the museum and make the history come alive.
“We just thought having something else going on beyond just a presentation made it a lot more interesting for people who were interested in commemorating this event and participating in it,” Ruch said. “And it lets the public participate. They become participants in it and experience a lot of this.”