Campus Philly Love Notes: To the Schuylkill River Trail

Editor’s note: The interns of Campus Philly share their most loved Philly spots and experiences as students in the City of Brotherly Love.

Rebecca Hannaford, Arcadia University
Favorite Spot: Schuylkill River Trail

I am: A full time student at Arcadia University, and full time dog lover.
Years In Philly: 2 and a half.
Current Home: Split between Glenside, PA and Newark, DE.
Rebecca-Hannaford-schuylkill-river-trail
(Photo by Rebecca Hannaford)
My Love Note:

I have a truly abominable sense of direction. I come from a long line of people who couldn’t find their way out a paper bag. So even when people try and kindly give me directions, most of the time I end up getting more lost! It’s just the way I am, and even after spending my life in and out of Philly I continue to have some problems.

When I found my way from Suburban Station to this year’s College Day on the Parkway, I felt pretty confident. But it was precisely this confidence that got me into trouble on my way back to the train station.

After an extremely fun, but exhausting day, the thought of hoofing it up the Parkway to Suburban Station seemed a bit torturous, and I figured that as a seasoned Philly girl I could go ahead and find a better way. After some consideration, I was happily on my way to 30th Street Station from the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, swagging it out towards the glassy structure of the Amtrak building behind the station.

However, in a moment of spectacular false confidence, I decided not to follow the sidewalk, but instead to literally walk straight towards the building. I ended up taking a mini detour onto the entry of an on ramp to the highway before realizing that that route was not going to work. I climbed over a strip of grass running along the ramp, up a steep hill that made me feel like I was entering Neverland, and then back down the other way.

At least I think that’s how it happened. The memory of exactly how I got anywhere that day is a bit foggy, tinged by a calm certainty that I would have to walk all the way back to Glenside. But what I do remember was at some point, I found water and stumbled onto the winding walking/biking trail along the Schuylkill. I figured, “This looks gorgeous and is flat. If I follow along this river long enough I’ll find something familiar.”

As it turns out, walking along that trail got me close enough to the Amtrak building that I was able to find my way to 30th Street Station. It got me close enough to where the helpful street signs pointed me in the right direction.

The Schuylkill River Trail, I later learned, actually spans much of the city, extending into multiple counties. What I love most about Philly is its unexpectedness. To me, the Schuylkill River is an unexpected gem in the middle of the urbanity. I know it’s there. I do. But the sheer beauty of it and its location, weaving through the very heart of the city feels like a secret that Philadelphians learn after a while — that there’s something special about the Schuylkill.

You can contact Rebecca Hannaford at rhannaford@arcadia.edu

Rebecca Hannaford

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