Friday, April 10, 2015


That's Not Totally True -

Green Lane is AWESOME:>)

I went looking for something green - we are "Green" Lane, after all! - something to say "Spring is here".  There isn't much yet, but every day another little tidbit, another tease appears:>)

The moss is getting greener and the ice and snow are gone.  That's a great start:>)

This was alongside the driveway - it is green and that's good.

Now on to Philadelphia!

Although I live a bit more than an hour outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA), I don't get into the city much.  Most visits happen in the second half of May when springtime is in full swing, flowers are blooming in a riot of color, and leaves are out on the trees.  You can walk around in a sweater and be comfortable.  

My sister and brother-in-law live in Phillie; they are magnificent hosts and always plan a beautiful walk along the Schuylkill River, through the various alleyways and community "malls" - malls are courtyards shared by a number of neighbors.  There are little parks and BIG buildings.  I'm always impressed with the beautiful gardens and lovely houses.

This blog post is a rundown of some of my favorite things in Philadelphia that are not the usual tourist stuff.  This is just stuff we saw and did on walks.

Here is a bit of the city skyline as seen from the Schuylkill River Walk.  There is always building going on and cranes seem just part of the skyline.

When I get off the train at 30th Street Station, there is a beautiful and HUGE relief carving that graces one wall.  It was done by Karl Theodore Francis Bitter (December 6, 1867 – April 9, 1915), and is titled "The Spirit of Transportation"  I can't do the work justice, but it is worth going to see if you are in the vicinity.

As we leave the station, weaving our way through city traffic, going over to the walkway down to river level, we see this beautiful mural.  The Wyland Foundation is dedicated to preserving our seas and oceans and the animals that live therein.  This is a quote from their web site.  I encourage you to visit them here:

"About The Wyland Foundation

The Wyland Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, was founded in 1993 by marine life artist Wyland to promote, protect, and preserve the world's oceans, waterways, and marine life. The foundation encourages environmental awareness through education programs, life-size public arts projects, and community events. Since its inception, Wyland and the Wyland Foundation have painted 100 life-size marine murals known as the Whaling Walls and brought environmental art and education events to over one million kids in all 50 states, the White House, and countries across the globe."


On one visit we went into center city to the Academy Of Natural Sciences to see their butterfly exhibit.  It was a stunning experience - all those lovey, tropical butterfly species I've never seen.  Of course the camera lens fogged up immediately in the humidity and warmth, and a charming young assistant loaned me a microcloth.  There won't be butterfly pictures here today, but take a look at a few things we saw as we entered the Academy.

Well, maybe one butterfly:>)  This sculpture was immediately outside the exhibit room.

When we left the Academy we walked through some of the center city streets.  This is right in the middle of everything - such a surprise to see the plane like this.

The arts are represented everywhere!  I love shapes and textures, too, so here are a couple examples of what caught my eye.  One is a wall and one a bench. The bench is not only handsome but comfortable.

On our way home, we passed so many incredible gardens - all lovely whether large or small - each celebrating the change of seasons.  I love the cobblestone alleyways and the tiny courtyards; not a one was without an exuberant garden.

The gates to a community garden

Although security is always something to be respected, many folks use a creative way to be safe yet not look industrial or sterile while doing so.

Closer to home we cut through Fitler Square.  This is homey, half-acre, neighborhood park where people come to sit and read or bring the kids to place on the statuary.  There are benches, gardens, and statues (by Eric Berg), to please everyone.  In the midst of the city, this is an island of serenity.,_Philadelphia#Sculptures

There are a number of excellent restaurants and cafes to stop at and grab a cup of coffee, tea, and a pastry - even a meal.  We are especially fond of Cafe Lutecia.

My family is wonderful and I love them to pieces.  Whenever I visit, they have something magical and fun planned.  Another visit gave them the opportunity to introduce me and another visiting friend to the Isaiah Zagar Sculpture Garden.  We spent HOURS!  It isn't just a small display; the garden is an indoor/outdoor continuing project that expanded into the whole block and more.  Residents love the garden and have had the artist work his mosaic magic on their properties.  I think some of the works may be the creation of the residents, themselves.  All is done with "found" materials.  It is AWESOME and something everyone should see if possible.

This was a pretty window near the Zagar Garden.

Walking from the house to the Water Works, Art Museum, and Boathouse Row is a wonderful stroll along the Schuylkill River.  Now they even have a boardwalk but I haven't seen it yet.  As we walk along we are passed by joggers, Moms and Dads with kids on bikes, skateboarders, you name it.  People lay on the grass and nap or read; others enjoy looking at the various plants, birds, bugs.  Here are a few snapshots of what we see as we walk.

American Robin

Canada Goose and goslings

Canada Geese begging a meal 

Canada Goose saying "Stay away from my babies!".

Graffiti across the river

Paulownia -  Empress Trees growing at the Schuylkill River's very edge under the Schuylkill Expressway

Paulownia -  Empress Trees growing at the Schuylkill River's very edge under the Schuylkill Expressway

I loved how the building reflected the clouds and sky

This Great Blue Heron was fishing in the river.  There was a small island and this bird was on the shore side near us.

Approaching the Water Works, Art Museum, and Boathouse Row

To see this you need to have the Water Works on your left and the Art Museum behind you.  Boathouse Row is on the right.

This is a view of the gazebo and boathouse row.

Philadelphia Art Museum above River Walk (see joggers).

In close proximity to all this is the Fairmount Park Azalea Garden - it's a true garden of delight in late May with all the azaleas blooming.  Some pictures of the garden are below.  As we walked along the paths we could hardly hear the city noise:>)

Then, after a fabulous day walking through all these sights, we go home.  

Abstract Philadelphia Skyline At Night

Walking through an underpass

If you go to Philadelphia there is something to see and appreciate on  just about every corner.  I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the "not-so-famous" things I love about Philadelphia.

Thanks for making time to visit and read the blog!  I see some spacing issues with some of the pictures and text but I can't seem to make them right; You'll forgive me:>)