Favorite Spot: Kelly Drive
Neighborhood: Art Museum
I am: a transplanted suburbanite
Years in Philly: 4
Current Home: Northern Liberties
Favorite Spot: Laurel Hill Cemetery
Address: 3822 Ridge Ave Philadelphia, PA 19132
Neighborhood: North Philly
I am: A bird building her nest in the burbs.
Years in Philly: On and off Philly girl for decades; I wander away, but seem to always return.
Current Home: East Norriton
Thank you for the water fountains every two miles, (but not really for that one fountain at mile four that always tastes like rust, but yes, even thank you for that one, because it’s bonded me with plenty of others like me when we exchange knowing looks and shake our heads, grateful at least for the breather), and for your luscious shade on the MLK side
Favorite Spot: Riding my bike along the Schuylkill River Trail
Neighborhood: Along the east side of the Schuylkill into Wissahickon Park
Address: The trail
I am: A performing artist who enjoys ringing the squirrel bell on my bicycle.
Years in Philly: 5 years
Current Home: South Philly (6th and Dickinson)
My love note: Outside of work and sleep I am one of two places. At Grindcore House to get my neighborhood coffee fix or riding my bike. Once caffeinated there are times that I have crashed and bled on your roads (many times, actually). There are also calmer moments of riding on the trail or on holidays (Philly becomes a ghost town on Thanksgiving — great for riding). It is more chaotic through Boathouse Row, and mazing through the summer rowing race fans, but finally passing under the towering highways near Conshohocken is always a visual treat. I have often photographed up, looking at the roads above with the blue/cloudy skies in the back. Then you pedal further reaching the Wissahickon. There, riding, you can become one with the trees and shade. I am also waiting for the day when the trail connects further south. The hidden gem of the Schuylkill Banks is south of Gray’s Ferry. There the trail “continues”, and hopefully one day will fully connect with the northern part of the trail. Which ever way you ride, pack a picnic. There are plenty of great spots to stop and take in the shade.
Favorite Spot: Lemon Hill
Neighborhood: Fairmount / Fairmount Park
Address: Lemon Hill Drive
I am: A twenty-something transplant who lives and works in Philly.
Years in Philly: 6
Current Home: Fairmount
My love note: You’re ambling down Kelly Drive. You hit the boat houses, and decide to cut off into Fairmount Park. Old, twisting steps peek out from the brush and trees. Winding and turning, they carry you up to a dirt footpath worn into the grass. You turn around, and over the treetops is the Schuylkill, the Art Museum, and the Philly skyline. Behind you is Lemon Hill Mansion, once home to one of the premier public gardens in the world. This spot is quiet and calm, allowing you to hide from Philadelphia’s gaze while peering out at it.
Philly is filled with spots like this, whether they are grandiose and world-renowned (Art Museum steps, I’m looking at you) or way-stations that let you take in a great view before diving back into the city’s tunnels (Spring Garden El stop, next up). If you want to see a familiar sight from an unfamiliar perspective, try standing at the top of the Art Museum steps at night, when it’s raining or snowing. During a night rainstorm, Center City’s lights cast a glow unto the clouds, creating a skyline that is both eerie and serene at the same time. Nighttime during snowfall creates some visibility problems, but Philly has never looked so majestic.