Favorite Spot: Wissahickon Valley Park
I am: a newlywed, Temple-grad, who works at Tree House Books
Years in Philly: 6.5
Current Home: South Philadelphia
My Love Note:
Before the Wissahickon became a source of water, power, and industry to colonists in the mid-1600s it was home to the Lenni-Lenape Indian tribe, which is why you can find a 15-foot statue commemorating the tribe on the east side of the park. Centuries later, and the 1,800 acre park still houses many of the natural resources and wildlife that most likely attracted both the Indians and our founding fathers. The park is home to numerous types of native plants, aquatic creatures, and mammals that are fast-moving and seldom seen, making it all the more special when one is spotted. The park is known for its challenging walking and biking trails, its wide and fast-moving creek, and its immense size. Philadelphians can be found using the park for everything from mountain biking to Ultimate frisbee, to dog walking and family picnics.
Truth is, none of these things are what attract me to the park. My experience with the Wissahickon began with a bike ride from the Art Museum steps with my then-boyfriend, now husband, Cory Popp. I never knew such a beautiful place could be biking distance from where I lived, and even without a bike it is still accessible. Personally, biking down Kelly Drive, passing Boathouse Row, and riding alongside the Schuylkill River is my favorite route, but the possibilities are endless. Using City Hall as a starting point, the southernmost end of the park is 6.5 miles away, just a 16-minute scenic drive on Kelly Drive. The park is also accessible by multiple buses. Or, if you’re really adventurous, you can rent a tandem bike or a modern surrey to peddle your way there.
No matter how you arrive at the park, there’s no contest–it is the quietest place in all of Philadelphia. It may be the perfect place for outdoor activities, but it is also ideal for journaling, taking photos, resting, or just thinking. Much more my speed. I love walking deep into the woods and convincing myself that no one else knows about a certain trail, and resting beside the babbling creek. The sounds of Wissahickon Valley Park are tranquil enough to drown out the noise of city life, leaving anyone with just enough room to process the beauty all around.
Check out their amazingly beautiful video of the park:
All photos by Cory Popp