Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pedaling Through Our National Parks Ride

Ready to Ride at Hopewell Furnace National Historical Site

Well, we did it. Our two-day, Pedaling through Our National Parks Ride has come and gone and, in the words of our event organizer, Seth Gernot from Events Unlimited, it was awesome!  With almost100 cyclists participating, we visited three National Park Sites and pedaled nearly 60 miles along the Schuylkill River Trail and on-road on September 20 & 21. Our cyclists encountered some challenging hills, learned a thing or two about local history, and, best of all, spent a beautiful September weekend outside on their bikes.

Pedaling through our National Parks is the third ride in our Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour Series. We designed the series to promote the fact that many visitor sites can be accessed directly from the trail. This year, we also got to promote three National Historical Parks: Hopewell Furnace, Valley Forge and Independence.

Day 1: Hopewell Furnace to Valley Forge

The event featured about 30 miles of cycling per day (a bit more on  the first day (Hopewell to Valley Forge) and a bit less on the second day (Valley Forge to Independence). The ride began on Saturday Sept. 21 at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, where participants had the opportunity to tour the park before hopping onto their bikes.
Morning tours at Hopewell Furnace

Riding into Riverfront Park in Pottstown
Following the tours, riders took off on a 10-mile pedal from Hopewell to Pottstown, where they had a catered lunch outside the Schuylkill River Heritage Area offices and toured our River of Revolutions Interpretive Center.

Then, they headed off for a 21-mile ride to Valley Forge, along some scenic back roads and through a wooded section of the Schuylkill River Trail.  The day was capped off by a program at Valley Forge by Park Ranger Marc Brier. Afterwards, cyclists and their bikes were shuttled back to their cars at Hopewell.

Program at Valley Forge
Musket Demonstration at Valley Forge

Day 2: Valley Forge to Independence

The second day began at Valley Forge, where cyclists immediately made their way onto the Schuylkill River Trail and followed it 22 miles to Philadelphia's beautiful Schuylkill Banks.We heard a brief but interesting presentation about the Washington Rochambeau National Historic Route from Superintendent Joe DiBello. Then we made our way to Independence National Historical Park, along some of Philadelphia's terrific bike lanes. We took a tour of Independence Hall, then the cyclists were shuttled back to Valley Forge.
Before the ride at Valley Forge
Arriving at Schuylkill Banks

Bikes lined up at Schuylkill Banks
Lunch along the trail in Philadelphia

View from Schuylkill Banks

Group shot at Independence National Historical Park

 Overall it was a fun weekend with a lot of great riding, and we heard plenty of enthusiastic comments from participants.

 We are grateful to our volunteers, our partners at Schuylkill Banks and the National Park Service, Events Unlimited who managed the ride, and our sponsors: Exelon Nuclear ~ Brentwood Industries ~ Cast-Rite Metal Company ~ Translogistics, Inc. ~ My Print Shop ~ Pottstown Memorial Medical Center ~ Barwis Construction, LLC ~ Campbell Thomas & Company ~ Traffic Planning & Design ~ 422 Commercial Realty ~ Montgomery County Community College ~

Thursday, September 11, 2014

11th Annual Scenes of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area

Lisa Tremper Hanover
For the past 11 years, we have celebrated the beauty of the Schuylkill River region through an art event that has evolved and grown into the annual Scenes of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area exhibit we hold each fall. So, it's always an exciting day for our staff when the art work arrives and the judge selects the winners.

On Sept. 2, a total of 112 pieces of art and photography were delivered to the Montgomery County Community College West Campus Gallery in Pottstown.  Dozens of talented artists came from all across the Schuylkill River Corridor to submit original pieces in a wide range of mediums and styles.

The following day, the show was juried by this year's judge Lisa Tremper Hanover, Director & CEO, of the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown. She selected 82 works to remain in the show, and chose three winning entries and two honorable mentions. A staff choice award was also determined by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area staff for a work that represented the Schuylkill River, in honor of the Schuylkill as PA's 2014 River of the Year. Visit our website to learn more about the art show.

2014 Scenes of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area winners:

Best of Show: Haying Day, Pastel, by Susan Williamson
2nd Place: Blue Barrow Against a White Barn, watercolor, Nancy Durkin Green

3rd Place: Allegheny Aqueduct, photograph by David Thomas

Honorable Mention: Dawn on Lauer's Run, oil, by Russell Slocum

Honorable Mention: Window Light at Hopewell Furnace, photograph, by Ginnie Lodge

Staff Choice: Fog in Woods, Riverfront Park, by Mary Kosar

Visit the 11th Annual Scenes of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area Art Show & Sale from September 16 through October 17 at the Montgomery County Community College West Campus Gallery, 16 W. High St., Pottstown. Gallery Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.