Friday, April 7, 2017

Sojourn Weekend Days Fill Up Fast! Sign Up for an Amazing Mid-Week Day

It's happened again. Only hours after we opened up registration for individual days on the annual Schuylkill River Sojourn the first three days of the seven-day guided canoe/kayak tour (June 3-9) are sold out. Sure, everybody wants to paddle on the weekend. But, to keep things safe we allow only about 100-110 boats per day. That means we wind up turning people away on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, while Tuesday through Friday fill up more slowly--or sometimes don't fill up at all.

If you are one of those who hesitated a bit too long to get on the sojourn's weekend days, don't despair! Here's a day-by-day guide to the sojourn's mid-week days. All have openings so you can sign up for one or all four! As always the sojourn will begin in Schuylkill Haven and end at Philadelphia's Boathouse Row with participants paddling 14-18 miles per day. This year's sojourn theme is "I Protect the Schuylkill River," with all presentations focusing on river conservation.
Tuesday launch
 Tuesday June 6 (13.9 miles: Gibraltar to Pottstown)
This is a great day for Sojourn newcomers!  It's an easy, scenic paddle where past sojourners have spotted interesting wildlife (including eagles!). The lunch stop is at Historic Morlatton Village, one of our region's best kept historic secrets. There, we'll have a presentation about everyday sustainability efforts that everyone can make to protect our watersheds. And the evening stop, at Riverfront Park in Pottstown, includes arguably the best dinner on the trip, catered by Bause Catering. We're teaming up with Pottstown Borough again this year for an entertaining evening featuring the band de Tierra Caliente.

Coming through Lock 60
Wednesday June 7. (17.8 miles: Pottstown to Mont Clare Lock 60) 
One of the highlights of the week-long sojourn happens on this day. Sojourners end the day by "locking through" the restored Lock 60 on the former Schuylkill Canal (see photo above). But, there's also some pretty scenery and an enjoyable lunch setting  at Victory Park, in Royersford, where the Borough officials welcome sojourners with a delicious cake.  In the evening, paddlers can camp out near the canal, eat spaghetti dinner at nearby St. Micheal's Pavilion, and meet some live birds during a presentation about bird species found along the river by John James Audubon at Mill Grove educator.

Thursday June 8 (14 miles: Mont Clare to West Conshohocken)
The dam portage in Norristown
 Paddlers begin the day in the canal and make their way into the river and through some wooded areas. The sojourn lunch will be at Valley Forge National Historic Park where a Philadelphia Water Dept. representative will discuss initiatives that improve water quality in the river.  This stop always features an entertaining free raffle by Stony Creek Anglers. Later in the day sojourners encounter some interesting bridges and urban settings. At dinner, in West Conshohocken, they'll eat an amazing barbecue dinner served up by the Rib House.

Friday June 9 (16 miles: West Conshohocken to Philadelphia).
Passing through Manayunk
This may be the final day, but it's also one of the best days of the sojourn! Sojourners love having the opportunity to paddle with the Philadelphia skyline as their backdrop and alongside the iconic Boathouse Row. If you need another reason to paddle on Friday, lunch is at the historic Philadelphia Canoe Club, where you eat surrounded by some amazing antique boats. The final takeout is Lloyd Hall on Boathouse Row.

Monday, March 20, 2017

An Evening for the Schuylkill River

Whew! We are still reeling from all the excitement of our 2nd Annual Evening for the Schuylkill River, which was held on Saturday March 18. We couldn't have asked for a better evening to celebrate the river and to acknowledge the work of some of our key supporters with Schuylkill River Legacy Awards. Our award winners, pictured above, (l to r) were John Giannopoulos, managing partner for Sly Fox Brewing Co.; Leslie Richards, Secretary of PennDOT, and Brian Swisher, author/designer of "A Paddler's Guide to the Schuylkill River Water Trail."

Here are a few things that made the event so much fun:

1. We had terrific raffle and silent auction items. Included among the over 30 donations were pieces of original art, baskets of local beer and wines, tickets to area attractions, restaurant gift cards and more. Possibly the most coveted item of all was a beautiful Fusion kayak:

2. The venue was amazing! The historic Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Reading is a hidden treasure in downtown Reading, with a striking ballroom that lent an air of history and elegance to the evening.

3. The food was delicious. From the veggie and fruit trays to the hearty dinner and the plentiful desserts, it was a pleasing and enjoyable meal.

4. Cocktails were on the house! We and our guests were grateful to JP Mascaro and Sons, who sponsored the cocktail hour, and to Sly Fox Brewing Co., who provided us with two beer selections at a discounted price. What's more, the cocktails were poured behind the Abraham Lincoln Hotel's impressively beautiful bar.

 5. We brought back the Rob Haffley Band. Last year, during our first Evening for the Schuylkill River, we were pleased to feature Rob Haffley and his jazz trio. This year, he came as a duo with his keyboard player. They are both incredibly talented musicians whose music added to the evening's overall pleasant atmosphere.

6. It gave us a chance to honor friends of the Schuylkill River. What makes any event special? It is always the people who you spend it with. At the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, the annual dinner is an opportunity for us to spend time with our members, partners and others who share our love of the river. While the event serves to raise money for our projects and programs, it also allows us to celebrate the work we do with the people who care about it most. We are grateful to everyone who attended or otherwise contributed to make our event special.

Reading the article about our award winners in The Reading Eagle