Calling all City Kids…Time to Head to the Country

Rebecca Morley, Devine + Powers

It’s amazing what getting out of downtown Philadelphia for a day can do for the soul. A couple weeks ago I took a day trip out to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site for a day of hiking and apple-picking, and within just a few short minutes of being out in the open space I felt refreshed. Perhaps it was the absence of pavement and tall buildings that made me feel like I had a little more room to breathe, or the lack of people and cars rushing around that instantly made me exhale.

I think we city kids think anything not within walking distance, or in between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, feels like a world away. Well good news – lots of great day trips are closer than you might think. When I first started on my venture out to Hopewell Furnace I was not exactly sure how long it was going to take, and was amazed that from door to door it only took me about 45 minutes (this included going to pick up a PhillyCarShare car I rented to get out there). Getting there was much faster than I anticipated and it was also extremely easy to find.

I was there on National Public Lands Day to help with event planning for a day of activities sponsored by Hopewell Furnace and AMC to honor National Public Lands Day and to launch AMC’s new Pennsylvania Highlands Recreation Map & Guide. In addition to the people coming to our event, I was impressed to see so many other families and groups of friends there on their own walking on the trails, apple-picking and biking. If you aren’t up for one of the many activities available, the surroundings are gorgeous and alone are worth the trip – so maybe opt for bringing a picnic lunch and a book instead.

While downtown Philadelphia certainly has nice outdoor spaces such as Rittenhouse Square and Kelly Drive, it was a nice change of pace to get out of the city for a day and do something outside of my ordinary routine. I had never gone apple-picking before, and although I only found about a dozen apples, it was a ton of fun. Although I did not have time to do all of the activities, now I have the perfect excuse to go back!

So for those of you who have yet to make it beyond the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, grab some of your friends and head out to Hopewell Furnace. It’s the perfect day trip -- close, convenient, and a calming change of pace from the city.

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