Tiny Travelogue

I don’t go far from home. I don’t travel much. I like being home. And lucky for me there is a seemingly endless supply of things to explore right under my (geographic) nose.

Today we decided to explore the Morris Arboretum. It was established on the grounds of Compton, the summer home owned by the wealthy Morris family starting in 1887, who collected plants and were interested in furthering horticultural education; it is now part of the University of Pennsylvania. Not located near the main campus, though – it is only about 15 minutes from my house.

We became members not too long ago – I thought it might be a good place for walking, especially for my husband, as he continues to gain strength after his knee injury. Believe it or not, in almost 40 years of living close by, I had never visited the site, though I had often thought of doing so in recent times, because I drive past it on my way to Chestnut Hill College (of poetry marathon fame!) all the time.

It is expensive for a single visit, but a membership could pay off for the two of us after three visits – and being members makes a quick stop just for a walk much more likely. I signed us up.  Today was a reconnaissance mission.

It was a stunning day – sunny, warm, and low humidity. We parked in the lower lot – other people had the same idea as us to visit the gardens on such a nice day – and walked up the hill to the main building. I noticed I could see the roofs of Chestnut Hill College across the way – it is next door.

We walked around the upper areas following paved paths past manicured lawns and many trees. I found some details interesting:

Small structures dotted the area as well as sculptures:

There were other attractions, such as a garden railway exhibit and a treehouse/walkway structure; fernery; rose garden. Today, these areas were crowded with families; even if they hadn’t been, they didn’t much appeal to me. If this had been all there was to the place, I would have been lukewarm on it. I will say, though, the level paths would make a nice circuit for an easy walk (or run, if you came on a non-crowded day).

We made our way back down the hill to the wetlands area. This section was deserted and quiet. Just birds, insects, trees…

Now I was interested. Look at this milkweed.

A bee was working very industriously at this flower head.

This dead tree’s stark appearance amid all the greenery made it a landmark.

Mowed paths guided us through this section. There was so much to look at.

My assessment of the arboretum: I thought the main area tame and uninteresting. The wetlands, fantastic. I could see visiting that section often just to see the changes in the landscape. I much prefer walking on grass to asphalt. Wilder to manicured. Full of detail to edited. I’ll come back and concentrate my attention on this area, I think.

It would be a great spot for a walk after a poetry marathon session or for my husband to visit during lunchtime. I’m glad we checked out the arboretum.


About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

5 responses to “Tiny Travelogue

  1. Lots of new trees to inspire your artwork! I’ve been to Morris Arboretum to accompany my 10 year old on a school trip. That was two years ago and I’ve not been back yet and no one else in the family has been. I can imagine it’s the perfect spot for your husband to walk around in as he can take things at his own pace and pause when he needs to and always have something of interest to see. I still think his recovery is remarkable. Modern medicine is amazing.

    • Thank you, he is really getting along great and can walk almost anywhere, though paying close attention and compensating. Running is still more of a future thing though he has done some on easy surfaces. It’s a matter of keeping on trying. As for the arboretum, I would skip it with the kids. I think it is too tame for them, though attractive; and if you want a walk, plenty of places for free rather than this. They do have a nice community garden across the street which is free to look at though you can’t go in the fence, I think.

      • Yes. We took our kids to the Tyler Arboretum back in 2015, a place that’s arguably more child friendly, and their were moans and gripes throughout our time there. My 10 year old liked the Morris Arboretum when we were on the school trip but that’s likely more because he was having an entire school day outside with friends than anything to do with the Arboretum itself. We are much more into visiting state parks so they can be a bit more wild.

        • I did a great trail run event at Tyler Ar. some years ago but to me, that was about the extent of it – I would not go there just to walk around with kids, for sure. I agree with the state park idea – there tends to be more scope for adventure.

  2. Pingback: Seeds of the Present | Sometimes You Get So Confused

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