Sunday, January 24, 2016

Valley Green

My favorite place to go for a walk is along the Wissahickon Creek in Chestnut Hill.  A snow storm cancelled plans for heading any further south for the winter and made for a few unplanned days in Philadelphia.  The feel of snow was in the air, bitter cold, but not breezy. Bundled up, it was a perfect time to head to Valley Green with my Daisy-Dog.

Driving down the steep incline to the Valley, I  passed stone walls covered with ice,

wooden bridges and hillside paths.

  After crossing over an old stone bridge, I arrived.

I heard the sound of water splashing over the stones,  the quack of ducks, the clip-clop and neighing of horses. 

All I could think was 'what is better than this?'  Then, I thought, 'I must get back to writing my blog. This beauty must be shared!'

Valley Green is part of the Philadelphia Park system and a section of Fairmont Park.  Where I like to wander, was first home to the Lenape Indians.  The land had been given to William Penn by King Charles II of England and the first settlers to arrive along the Wissahickon were from Germany and were a community known as 'Hermits or Mystics of the Wissahickon',.  As a little girl, I remember pretending to be an Indian, running and hiding along the hills or looking for the caves where the 'Hermit' lived.  Of course, my friend, Linda, nieces and I had no idea that we were reenacting history and those people actually lived along this creek hundreds of years ago.

As I strolled along the bridle path following the creek, I thought of the Indian statue hidden high in the hills.  His name is Tedyuscung where the Lenapes were supposed to have held their pow-wows.  Many times I have tried to find him but never have.

  I did spot remnants of ancient stone walls where                   more than 50 watermills once stood.

Some milled grains or gunpowder, others cloth or paper. As I walked along, I could not imagine that ever occurring in this  tranquil setting.

I had read that Benjamin Franklin talked about the clear fresh water from the Wissahickon.  In his will, he had made suggestions that the creek be the source of drinking water for the town of Philadelphia and left money for this to be done. Eventually, the mills were torn down and the pure water returned. 

I can still see my children running along the path, stepping along the stones at the water's edge and drinking from the rock springs along the way.

The Valley Green Inn

seems like home to me.  Special occasions have been celebrated there with my family.  Whether it was  homecomings, 

weddings, rehearsal dinners, brunches, lunches 

or just a quiet dinner with my parents, it was a special place to go. One where I would end my meal with a slice of warm blueberry pie and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Comfort food and sitting by a fire, what is better?

Some would say that feeding the ducks is.  And, a trip to Valley Green must include a stop for a feeding.

When I was there, a lady had come with a large container of cereal grains.  She said with the upcoming storm, she wanted to make sure the ducks and geese had plenty of food. She made sure they did!

 No matter what season of the year, I happen to go there, I am moved by its' beauty, its' peacefulness,  it's sounds and smells.  Artists try to capture it with paint,

                    And writers try with words...

 Edgar Allan Poe wrote an essay titled "Morning on the Wissahiccon".  It begins, "Now the Wissahiccon is of so remarkable a loveliness that, were it flowing in England, it would be the theme of every bard, and the common topic of every tongue…"  

It is a scenic wonder, and a place I want to share. 

No comments:

Post a Comment