Ironton Rail-Trail

What a great ride!  A trail that loops!   Historical sights to see along the way! Beautiful scenery!  This trail has it all!  Once again Traillink  (and the bikers who contribute reviews) guided us to an amazing trail – The Ironton Rail Trail.

We began our journey at Hokendauqua Park – easy to find and provides easy access to the trail.   You wind through the playground and then connect with the trail.  The trail is paved at this point and is for the most part flat with just a slight incline.

The highlight to the first part of this loop (in addition to the great scenery and the Lehigh river!) are the large cement kilns at Saylor Park.  This is a great place to stop and take a break and explore the history of these kilns.   These are the only vertical Portland cement Kilns in existence! They were only used for this purpose for a short period of time – 1893-1904 – but during that time Lehigh Valley produced 3/4 of the cement in the United States! (Apparently at one time there was a museum interconnecting the kilns but that is no longer accessible. There is a large fence around the nine kilns).    Really neat!  And the trail continues with historical markers, remains of the old railroad, and even a caboose that once road on this railroad!Kilns

We decided to take the spur – adding on another 6 miles roundtrip – another beautiful ride past cement historical buildings.  Highlight for me was one of the old structures that was turned into a beautiful bird blind (picture up top).

We joined back up with the loop and continued on the loop to our starting point.  This is a beautiful ride to take right now as the leaves are changing.    The entire trail is well maintained and combined with the amazing scenery and historical sights,  one does not even realize they have already completed a 12 mile journey.


Biking the Perkiomen to the Schuylkill and Beyond

There are so many great trials to bike ride on in my area.   This past weekend we took an incredible bike ride – flat but very scenic.  We started the ride on the Perkiomen Trail at Lower Perkiomen Valley Park.  This part of the trail is flat. (We have now pretty much ridden the entire trail at different times – some of it contains hills).  We connected with the Schuylkill Trail- well obviously right at the Schuylkill River. – and went east towards the city.  We road the trail straight through Valley Forge National Park.   On most trails you need to be cautious of going around those walking.  However on this trip we were the ones people were speeding and trying to get around.   There are some serious rides on the trail.  We had an entire family team zoom by us all in a row.  (I was in a bit of a panic as I tried to continue riding straight as they zoomed past.  Not sure I would take younger kids out on this trail for a leisure ride.)

After Riverside Cemetery we turned around and at the Betzwood Picnic Area diverted off the trail to a nonpaved bike trail (River Trail) through the park.  (With our comfort cross trek bikes we can do this..)  The park on this side of the river is not as developed but there were several interesting stops along the way.  This required some backtracking when we reached the end to get back to ths Schuylkill Trail but in return we got to pass the most amazing old barn at Pawling Farm.   Check out this person’s site for pictures (did not have camera on me that day).   

This was a bit of a drive from home but well worth it.  We ended the day by having a beer at Iron Hill Brewery in Phoenixville where they just happened to be serving 8 pumpkin beers! What  way to end a great ride!

Doylestown Arts Festival

This is my most favorite event in Doylestown.  If you’ve never been to Doylestown, it is a great small town located in Bucks County.  It is about an hour outside of Center City Philadelphia.   There are great shops, restaurants, and bars.  There are wonderful musuems and parks too.  I will need to write another post about all my favorite things . — True old charm.   For the Arts Festival the streets are closed down  in the center of town and filled with artists, food, and music.  What makes this art festival VERY unique is the Pro Cycling.  Saturday is a race through Bucks County and Sunday is the Thompson Criterium of Doylestown – 60 miles of incredible bike riding down hills and steep curves encircling the Arts Festival. We make sure to watch this every year – stationing at a few key exciting spots and also wandering around. Whether you come with family or as a couple (and enjoy a few of my favorite spots in town… soon to be posted) this is a great day to visit Doylestown!  (The date changes each year but it is sometime in the first few weeks of September). 

Back in my own Backyard

The apples are ripening and the pumpkins are growing.  The weather begins to get cooler and the humidity at last will disappear.  The leaves have already begun  to change and the mums are starting to open again.  Oh….we are just a few days away  from the official start to my most favorite season in Pennsylvania – Autumn!  Over the next few months I will journey across my countryside and visit the festivals, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches.  I will ride the rail trails, kayak the lakes, and hike the trails all over Easter Pennsylvania.  Menus will change to roasted butternut squash, apple crisps, and of course our favorite pumpkin beers.  A visit to our favorite brewery, Weyerbacher, will most certainly be on the list of things to do to pick up some of our favorite Imperial Pumpkin Ale… This in my opinion is the best season in Pennsylvania and a great time to visit if you are thinking of taking a weekend trip to visit the countryside surrounding Philadelphia!  

Post Post about our trip to South Carolina

As I finish up sharing my journey to South Carolina,  I am sure it is apparent I am writing this after the fact.  I have not yet mastered the technique of setting aside time to write my blog as I do it.  Our days were filled with morning adventures, many already listed, but also a bike ride that was rerouted due to a bridge painting (Waccamaw Neck Bikeway),  swimming in the ocean and the two pools, and walking down to the crabbing dock to read.  Evenings were filled with great dinners eating in with fresh seafood from Murells Inlet and out – Bistro 217 to celebrate a birthday and River Room for our final night out –  (We arrived too late to fully explore Georgetown but did get to witness a marriage proposal on the dock while we dined.)   Our daughter suggested puzzles and so much to all of our surprise (I had never done a puzzle and was leery of the idea) we spent late nights working on the 1000 piece puzzle (we finished only one completely).  This trip was about downtime, relaxation, but still was filled with adventure, history, and good local beer and food.  Any why the delay from my return until now in finishing this?  Well… summer 2015 vacation is already in the works….

Riding the D&H Rail Trail

After a long day of driving in the car and visiting breweries, we decided to go for a bike ride. We chose the northern end of the Delaware and Hudson Rail-Trail from Castelton to Poultney.   I find great trails to explore in whatever state I am in on Trailink.  It was nice to ride through the countryside without having to worry about cars.  For the most part it is a pretty flat ride with gradual grades but it is not a paved trail – instead a mix of stone and sometimes due to overgrown grass it becomes a single track dirt trail.  I believe it gets far more usage by snowmobiles in the winter!  We saw one other person on the trail.

There is not much to see besides fields and woodlands and cows. This is nice for the first few miles but then begins to get repetitious.  There are not any amazing water features or bridges or small towns to stop and take a break.  However we were determined to make it to Poutlney for our daughter was attending a camp at Green Mountain College and thought it would be nice to see the town.  This trail would be a good workout on a daily basis or for a family wanting to go a short distance – perhaps for a mile or two.