In keeping with the theme of great places to visit when it's so darn hot in Philly, I'd like to share my fondness for the Wissahickon Valley Park. Since it's basically located in our backyard, there's no need for me to buckle my son, Elliott, into his car seat and drive to get there—I just ask him to climb into our jogging stroller and we're on our way.
In case it's unknown to some, there's an entrance just a couple blocks from the Acme on Ridge Ave in Roxborough. You can take either Green Lane, or Monastery Ave with a right onto Janette Street, which will bring you to a path just across from horse stables. Once you've located this path, you will see a sign that indicates that you are now entering the Wissahickon Valley Park and you will begin your short (but rather steep, especially on the way back up) descent to the Forbidden Drive trail.
We love running and walking on the Forbidden Drive—a 5.42 mile gravel trail that allowed the passage of cars until the 1920s—mainly because the temperature drops significantly as you set foot into the park and shield yourself from the sun. When a pregnant girlfriend recently asked if we knew of any local hiking trails, I told her about Wissahickon. A couple of days later, we brought our toddler boys for a lengthy stroll and the kids loved it as much as we did. They saw butterflies and blue colored bugs (still unknown to me), played on the rocks near the water's edge and even got their little toes all wet and muddy.
Approximately two miles into our walk, we came across the Valley Green Inn. Had I realized this was to be our half-way point, I definitely would have brought my wallet. I cannot wait to go back to this charming restaurant, which was built in 1850 and has a wonderful view of the Wissahickon Creek. I have a feeling that I've only just begun to scratch the surface of everything this park has to offer…