Humble Contributions to the Peoples' History

Swan Pond

Swan Pond

For over a year, I’d been planning an outing to the Morris Arboretum, and finally after a late start, drove down PA 476 to the northwest corner of Philadelphia to the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of the 92-acre garden. Ignoring the heat at around 90 degrees, the high humidity and thunder clouds threatening in the distance, I considered these positive circumstances–no crowds!

The gardens were set high on a hilltop, providing lovely views of the surrounding forest landscape. The gardens, modeled after the English park style, featured wide paths that wound past a swan pond, rustic cabin, stone buildings and sculpture exhibit. Sounds of water trickling along the creek offered a soothing and cooling atmosphere in the summer heat.

Much of the park is shaded, and I kept to those paths that offered relief from the direct sun. I strolled along the 450-foot raised walkway, built from recycled metal and wood, and which soars to 50 feet at the highest point through the treetops. Rope netting hung like hammocks where visitors could just lay back and gaze at canopy overhead. A gigantic bird nest made from tree branches provided benches to sit and ponder the three large blue “eggs” resting in the center.

The Garden Railway

My fascination with trains is what really brought me to this garden. G-scale trains and trolley cars run along a quarter-mile of track through a magical garden setting. The entire display, including all the buildings, are constructed from natural materials, everything from bark to seeds. Rivers and waterfalls flow through the miniature town, which includes replicas of famous Philadelphia landmarks such as Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House. Each building was a masterpiece, with intricate detailing in the doors and windows. The whimsical chicken train glided along to accompanying music, what else but the chicken song, and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile even carried a bottle of mustard. I lingered for quite a while in the railroad garden, as the miniature recreation offered so much to enjoy.

A thunder-storm rumbled through the hills, driving me back to my car. With many other gardens to visit–the rock wall, rose and water gardens and Japanese Overlook–I know I will return, perhaps during the holidays, when evergreens, holly boughs and twinkle lights decorate the train scape.

Comments on: "Morris Arboretum and the Summer Garden Railroad" (3)

  1. generalreb@comcast.net said:

    Hey Kae,           Hello, and thanks for the latest blog.  I have enjoyed all of the ones you have sent since we met.  We are fast approaching our train raid at the W & W RR.  It is the 13 & 14 of this month and as I promised I have set aside tickets for you and Richard for another ride into history.  We have quite a large bunch of re-enactors coming to this years event, so it should be a larger battle this year.  I hope the two of you can make it and come a little early this year and visit the camps.  I will take you around and introduce you to the groups that will be there.  E-Mail or call 410-459-4280 and let me know.  Hope to see you soon.   John (Your Favorite Confederate Soldier)

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  2. […] months ago I visited Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, where G-scale model trains and trolley cars ran along a […]

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  3. […] by the beautiful gardens of the Morris Arboretum on a early September afternoon a year ago, I returned to visit again, this time on spring day in April. This weekend the […]

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