Sunday, September 28, 2008

Forbidden Drive







Fairmount Park in Philadelphia is one of the largest urban parks in the country. A creek called Wissahickon runs through it. The Wissahickon Valley is forested, with bike paths, walking paths, bridle paths and stables. It's beautiful in every season, and you would never, ever guess you were in a big city. When I walk on it, I imagine being in a land created by Tolkien... there is something very "Middle-Earthian" about it.

Forbidden Drive is a stretch of unpaved road (more like a wide path) that meanders alongside the Wissahickon Creek, among huge old trees, with nature all around. It bends around so that you're never sure what you will see along the next curve. We always walked the four-mile stretch beginning at Bells Mill Road. No weekend was complete without a walk on Forbidden Drive.

Along the way there is a covered bridge, an old stone bridge, and a little stone house that used to be a toll booth when horse-drawn carriages used the road. If you know where to look, about two miles into the walk, there is a large stone statue way up on a hill... an Indian chief, with full headdress, crouching to look over the land. I always had to find the Indian, every time we walked. It was easy to miss him, up in the trees, and you really have to remember where to look.

At the end of the four-mile stretch we walked, you come to the Valley Green Inn. It's a pretty, historic old inn that used to serve the carriage trade. There are benches where you can sit and have a drink and feed the ducks, and there is a restaurant and snack bar. It's a lovely place, and a wonderful incentive to walk the four miles to get there.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you why it's called "forbidden"... it's because cars are forbidden to drive on it!
(Also, I still haven't figured out how to mingle my photos into the appropriate places in the text.)
If you click on the photo with the bench, you will get an idea of what it's like to walk there!

9 comments:

Valerie said...

MMMM... Heaven...

Bearette24 said...

Wow...I never thought of Philly as beautiful before, but you've convinced me :)

Bearette24 said...

I've only seen the more urban parts of it, but now I want to walk in that park!

anya said...

Hi Kathy...I read through your Philadelphia posts today and thoroughly enjoyed the tour. My son travels from Nashville where he lives to Philadelphia often for work. He frequently says how much he loves Philadelphia. I didn't really get it until reading your posts.

I especially enjoyed the post about people on the street with whom you cross paths, eventually establishing some kind of little acknowledgement between yourselves, and then anticipating and enjoying the ritual each day. About seven years ago I lived in Mexico for two years....right in the town. There were people with whom I had the same type of encounters each day along my stroll to town. It is those little daily salutations between strangers that enrich our lives and make us feel connected to and at home in a place, don't you think.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. Here is a place your grand kids might enjoy on the web:

htp://askkids.com/

anya said...

Got that address a bit wrong:

http://askkids.com/


2 "t's"!

judy in ky said...

Anya, your son is right... Philadelphia is a great city.
I looked up askkids.com. The girls will like it a lot.

Bearette24 said...

Well, I'm going to Fairmount Park...D has some family in Philadelphia, and Valley Green Inn is where our next gathering will be...

Jenny Jill said...

Glorious shots, so glad you shared. I am REALLY glad you explained the name!! :-)

judy in ky said...

Bearette, let me know when you go to the Valley Green Inn... it should be pretty in autumn.
They used to have a little colony of cats that lived there... not sure if they are still there.
Judy