On this Saturday afternoon, the volunteers at the visitor center were very eager to give everyone a tour of the mansion built by Albert Gallatin, a Swiss immigrant and the US treasury secretary,who arranged the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis & Clark Expedition. He chose this corner of Pennsylvania on the Monongahela River because he believed its direct river access to Pittsburgh would lead to business success in the nearby town he founded - New Geneva.
At this time (mid-2011), the house has furniture that otherwise fills the home of Robert E. Lee (which is being renovated). That offers an extra bonus, the table where Lee collapsed after his last dinner, and more. If you can, see the home with furniture.
This National Historic Site has more than 10 miles of hiking trails, and I took the trail that led past the supposed location of the first Mrs. Gallatin's unmarked grave, then down wooden steps from the cliff to a thickly forested riverfront . Portions of the lower parts of the trail were muddy (they've had lots of rain lately) and I didn't try to get through the brush to the river itself, but it was a cool walk on a hot day and it was fun to watch the sports boats and barges on the river. I walked a loop of about 2 miles.
Bottom line, this is a nice combo of history and outdoor opportunities. And the volunteers in the visitor's center couldn't have been nicer. I recommend it.
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