Favorite Spot: Gate Lane
Neighborhood: W. Mt. Airy
Address: Gate Lane runs parallel to Allens Lane, between Elbow Lane and Emlen St. The turnoff is hard to see save for the stone arches on either end.
My love note: I spent my childhood summers attending a small camp run out of a friend’s house that was nestled at the end of W. Mt. Airy Ave and surrounded by Wissahickon Park. We spent our days running around the 200-year old property, swimming, hiking to Devils Pool and catching sunfish out of the creek. It was my dream, starting at seven years old, to one day live in Mt. Airy. I achieved that goal six years ago.
Mt. Airy was as beautiful as I remembered, and I continued to do the things that I had done there as a kid, with the addition of owning a home, going out to eat and drink, and running errands. On my days off, I wandered the streets and trails from Germantown to Chestnut Hill, absorbing the beauty of the neighborhoods.
On one such walk, I happened upon this lane tucked away behind overgrown trees and huge stones arches. Its discrete location and rutted road makes driving down it nearly impossible, so a stroll is uninterrupted by cars. The houses line one side of the street, connected by a low stonewall behind which lies a small grassy valley and stream. While each house is distinct, there are shared characteristics that make the houses flow into one another. They were designed with a French village in mind, and walking down this lane is like being transported to another country. Once I pass under the arch and leave Gate Lane behind, I realize that there are many more of these hidden places waiting to be discovered in the city.