Nature has a way of making everything feel better
The results below are unscientific, but all the data I needed to draw a conclusion.
Last week, as I was struggling to comprehend the Covid-19 Crisis and assess what I needed to survive for my family and my business—an exercise every one of you were doing somewhere else—I took a 20-mile bike ride to get some exercise. (OK, relieve some stress.)
During my ride, I passed more than a dozen people doing the same thing. Some were riding, some were running, some were walking—many with a dog. And every single person I passed gave me a smile. Not a perfunctory smile, but one of those heartfelt smiles, soothing in its sincerity. A smile that stays with you the entire ride home.
I also passed many more people driving cars. A few made eye contact with me as they hurried past. None were smiling. In fact, two looked annoyed that my bike was nearing their path. Made sense to me. A half-hour earlier, I was in my car with the same forlorn expression.
So, get outside, in whatever capacity you can. Nature provides solace for the soul. And even though we’ve disrespected her of late, like a loving parent she will always take us in.
— Jerry duPhily
Here are a few area suggestions:
Visit A Delaware State Park
The First State offers 19 parks statewide. During the COVID-19 Crisis, most are open through April 30 with no admission fee. Get ahead of the game and purchase a pass that gives you access to all Delaware parks for a discounted price. Visit DeStateParks.com.
Eagles at the Conowingo Dam
Take a day trip to the Conowingo Dam to watch the eagles soar. More than 300 eagles and 100 species of birds were spotted there last year. The dam, on Route 1 over the Susquehanna River, is a mecca for true bird watching. It’s just a short drive from Newark and Wilmington and has plenty of parking. VisitMaryland.org.
Trailblazing in Newark
Check out the new Tri-Valley Trail just outside of Newark. In the works for years, this paved trail links Newark and Pike Creek and is the first continuous trail that allows visitors with mobility challenges to enjoy all it has to offer. At 2.8 miles, it runs between Thompson Station Road and Smith Mill road, with an additional spur going to the intersection of Paper Mill and Polly Drummond roads. It offers connections to Newark’s Redd Park and New Castle County’s Paper Mill Park and Middle Run Valley Natural Area Park. A parking area and rest rooms are located off Smith Mill Road. Visit DeStateParks.com/Trails.
Walk Old New Castle
Step back in time, to the 17th and 18th centuries, when walking was the primary mode of moving around, and savor the well-preserved wonders of historic New Castle. You can walk for an hour—or several hours—enjoying fresh air while absorbing volumes of the First State’s history. During your walk you’ll discover: the historic marker designating William Penn’s first landing in North America; colonial homes that are among the first built in the U.S.; Immanuel Episcopal Church (316 years old) and Old Town Hall (built in 1820). Visit NPS.gov/frst.
Wildlife In The City
Wilmington’s Riverfront has become a well-known destination, but many have yet to discover this 212-acre wildlife center and its accompanying DuPont Environmental Education Center. The facility is free and open year-round, offering a beautiful 10-acre garden and a quarter-mile pond loop that weaves through the marsh. It’s an intriguing sanctuary that peacefully sits between hectic I-95 and the ever-expanding Wilmington Riverfront. Visit RiverfrontWilm.com.
Discover Northern Delaware
This 7.2-mile trail provides a unique and spectacular view of some of New Castle County’s recreational treasures, including Alapocas Run State Park, Bellevue State Park, Rockwood Park and Bringhurst Woods Park. Walk, run or ride it. Visit DelawareGreenways.org.
Hike White Clay Creek State Park
It’s tucked away as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of New Castle County, and even though it’s not exactly Yellowstone, you can get exercise while enjoying nature at White Clay Creek Park. There are nine trails, totaling 37 miles, that range from easy to moderate. Visit destateparks.com/FieldsStreams/WhiteClayCreek.
Two Car-Free Rides
U.S. participation in bicycling has increased by nearly 10 million over the past decade. That number would no doubt increase by millions more if not for one barrier: being on roads with cars. That is why the proliferation of dedicated bike/pedestrian trails in New Castle County is such a positive development for those of us who like a good (and safe) bike ride. We highly recommend two trails in particular: the Markell Trail (7.9 miles from Wilmington’s Riverfront to Historic New Castle) and the Mike Castle Trail (12 miles from Delaware City to the Delaware-Maryland state line; 14 miles if you add Maryland’s Ben Cardin Trail, which takes you to Chesapeake City). For a complete list of trails, visit DelawareGreenways.org.