School has started and the summer is behind us with memories of vacations, beaches, and sunshine. You are back in the concrete jungle of Philadelphia once again, enjoying homework, and the monotony of classes. Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here, and with it will come the chill of winter. So, if you are looking for a place to soak up some sun and get some good outdoor recreation in before the chill falls on the city, check out Kelly Drive and the Free Schuylkill River Park.
The city of Philadelphia and the Schuylkill River Development Council have spent $130 million over the past 12 years to redevelop the Schuylkill River Park and to clean up the river seeking to beautify the city and attract tourism. The city and several non-profits, SRDC being the leader, teamed up to eliminate pollution in the river and build a new park. The park also represents a regional landmark. One of last year’s finished projects includes a 26-mile-long trail from Valley Forge to Delaware. The plan is to eventually extend this trail so that it will connect Boston and Washington, D.C., but those plans are many years from fruition.
In the meantime, the park is a great hangout. If you are of the athletic persuasion, check out The Hut next to Lloyd Hall where they offer inline skate and bike rentals. Mike Robison, a senior at Temple University recommends the place, but warns of limited hours. “They’re open mostly on the weekends during the summer,” Robison said, “but they are one of a few places in the city that will actually rent you a bike.”
Not in the mood to spend the afternoon on a bike? Take a walk down the bank and see if you can figure out what the quote says along the shore. (I’ll give you a hint: It came from a poem.) Take a football to toss around; there’s plenty of room. Or, perhaps you can join in on one of the many ultimate Frisbee games that go on throughout the weekend. “We come out here almost every weekend that it doesn’t rain,” said John Pascal, a local resident of the Museum District. “It’s a great place to relax and toss around a Frisbee. What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?” he said.
Take a picnic with you. The downside to the drive is that there aren’t any places around to buy food unless you have the luxury of a vehicle. Picnic tables are available throughout the park, all with a great view. If you do have the luxury of a vehicle, I highly recommend Johnny Manana’s, a Mexican Restaurant just up the street at 4201 Ridge Ave. They have an amazing chimichanga.
So if you are looking for a place to chill out this weekend and get a little bit of sun while you are in the city, check out Schuylkill Park and Kelly Drive. An icon of Philadelphia, the Schuylkill offers scenic views of the city, an oasis of greenery and foliage. It’s always nice to watch the crew teams, too.
Directions to the park via SEPTA from Temple main campus:
Cecil B. Moore subway station to City Hall.
Route 38 from JFK Boulevard to Art Museum.
Cheryl Ellis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.