Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Oh No! The Sojourn Weekend Days are full? Try a Mid-Week Day.

It happens every year, and 2018 is no exception. Only hours after registration opened up for the 20th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn the weekend days (Saturday and Sunday) of the seven-day trip (June 2-8) sold out. Sure, everybody wants to paddle on the weekend. But, to keep things safe we allow only about 100-110 boats per day. Often, we wind up turning people away on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, while Tuesday through Friday fill up more slowly--or sometimes not at all.

Keep this in mind: there are some clear advantages to paddling on Tuesday through Friday. Those days tend to be less crowded, and therefore better for beginners or Sojourn newbies. Wait times at portages and rest stops and shorter. And, there's plenty of good paddling, great food, and fun camaraderie.
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 "Celebrating 20 Years," with presentations focusing on a 20-year perspective on the river, sojourn and trails.
Riverfront Park
 Tuesday June 5 (13.9 miles: Gibraltar to Pottstown)
New to the sojourn? Tuesday is a great day to try it out!  It's an easy, scenic paddle along a stretch of river frequented by eagles. The lunch stop is at Historic Morlatton Village, where you can dine on the lawn beside Berks County's oldest home. The lunch presentation will feature Schuylkill River Greenways Trail Projects Manager Bob Folwell who will give a 20-year perspective of the Schuylkill River Trail. And best of all, Tuesday night will feature a special 20-year anniversary celebration with dinner by Bause Catered Events and music by the river by the band Chestnut Grove.
Lock 60
Wednesday June 6. (17.8 miles: Pottstown to Mont Clare Lock 60) 
Wednesday features one of the Sojourn's most unique highlights: 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 presentation will focus on Royersford's revitalized riverfront.  In the evening, paddlers camp out near the canal, eat spaghetti dinner at nearby St. Micheal's Pavilion, and hear a presentation on the health of the river over 20 years.
Thursday June 7 (14 miles: Mont Clare to West Conshohocken)
 Paddlers begin the day in the canal and make their way into the river, stopping for lunch at Valley Forge National Historic Park where they will learn about the past and future of Schuylkill Banks in Philadelphia. 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). 
The final day of the sojourn is also one of the best. Sojourners love having the opportunity to paddle into the Philadelphia skyline. If you need another reason to kayak on Friday, lunch is at the historic Philadelphia Canoe Club (above), where you eat surrounded by some amazing antique boats. The final takeout is Lloyd Hall on Boathouse Row, a really perfect place to end your journey.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

AmeriCorps Week!

Hello! My name is Le’Santha Naicker I serve at the Schuylkill River Greenways as their AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. If you are wondering what AmeriCorps is and what VISTA means I’m here to give you a background on the program, what a VISTA does, and how you can get involved!
AmeriCorps VISTA stands for Volunteers in Service to America it is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement. The agency engages millions of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation's volunteering and service efforts.   The VISTA program started in 1965 under Linden B Johnson with the mission to strengthen organizations that alleviate poverty through volunteering and the mobilization of resources. There are currently 7,000 VISTA’s serving across the United States in various capacities within state/ local governments and nonprofits.
This year I am serving as the second year VISTA with the SRG and am helping to build capacity with several programs. First, I am continuing the Heritage Conservation Corps which is a youth employment program that focuses on building and expanding the Schuylkill River Trail. Second, I am working with community organizations to help build community gardens in Schuylkill County. Third, I am assisting with Project Schuylkill Outdoor Learning Odyssey our environmental mentoring program to high school students. Lastly, I am working on a pollinator garden that will be planted right here in Pottstown’s Riverfront Park (look out for news about volunteering with us for the garden!). I am grateful to work with the SRG and AmeriCorps during this year and to help the surrounding communities.
AmeriCorps VISTA has had such a great impact on different communities throughout the US and it is one of the many AmeriCorps programs that are offered by Corporation for National Community Service. I have had the pleasure to serve with AmeriCorps for two years now (last year I served in NCCC FEMA Corps) and it is a fulfilling way to give back to your community.
Go to https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps  to find out more ways you can serve! #GetThingsDone

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Heritage & Hops Brew Tour

On Feb. 24, we introduced our Heritage & Hops Brew Tour, a new event that proved to be incredibly popular. With 45 participants, we took a bus to four local breweries from Phoenixville to Reading. At each brewery, we were given two tastings and a presentation about the history of the brewery and/or the importance of clean water for brewing beer.

The beginning

We met up at the Phoenixville Foundry, where we checked in participants and boarded a bus. Each person received a schedule, event bracelet and a silicon pint glass to take home.

First Stop: Oakbrook Brewing Co. in Reading

We began our adventure with a 40-minute bus ride from Phoenixville to West Reading, where we disembarked at the charming Oakbrook Brewing Co, a former fire house in the Oakbrook neighborhood of Reading. The owner gave us two tastings and a terrific presentation on the building's history. He included some interesting Schuylkill River lore as well, providing information about a barge that once offered river excursions in Reading.

2nd Stop: Sly Fox Brewery in Pottstown

Sly Fox Brewing Co. has been a great partner of ours, brewing for the past four years SRT Ale, a summer ale whose proceeds support the Schuylkill River Trail. So, as we toured the facility, we were especially thrilled to see the cans of SRT Ale among the many beers stacked up along the perimeter of the brewery. Also thrilling was the delicious lunch provided and, of course, the two tastings of beer.

3rd Stop: Hidden River Brewing Co.

It's hard to say what was most fun about Hidden River Brewing Co, in Douglassville: the tasty beer, the quirky decor, or the fascinating 300 year-old history of the building which once served as an exclusive gentleman's club. This was a really fun stop, but it was also the location of the only problem on the tour. That is, the bus drive had trouble getting the bus started. As it turned out, that wasn't much of a problem. Everyone went back inside for another beer, and the bus started soon after.

Root Down in Phoenixville

Our final stop was Root Down Brewing Co. in Phoenixville, a brewery that was conveniently located directly across from the Phoenixville Foundry, where we'd all parked our cars.  This was such an intriguing spot to end our tour. A former root beer factory, the building retains its industrial, warehouse feel with wide open spaces that allow for games, a movie, graffiti art, and ample seating for the crowds who were enjoying the food and beer before our tour arrived. In addition to the beer tastings, we were treated to a presentation on Phoenixville's history by local historian Ryan Conroy.
Overall, this was a terrific event that got rave reviews from attendees. We hope to host another Heritage & Hops tour in the future.

Click here for more photos