Midsommar, 2014 tripping solo

Um, I’ll finish Chicago soon, I promise.  For now, due to an unfortunate work schedule – but someone has to work around here, right? – Mr. Fantastic and kids are at this very moment at The Clearwater Festival while yours truly is not.  Due to a little quirk in my work schedule, I had today off with the other five Fantastics gone and, friends, this is a rare event!  Did your correspondent do vital chores like laundry and cleaning out the guinea pig cage? Heck, no!

First a word about Clearwater.  It is an organization with a wonderful history.  Beloved musician and activist Pete Seeger, who passed away at 94 this past January, wanted to bring attention to the poor water quality in the Hudson River by building and sailing a majestic replica of a 19th century sloop there.  This was done in 1969 and the organization has grown to include educational sailboat trips and an annual music festival.  Despite Mr Fantastic’s preference to punk over folk music, we went to a couple of these when Fiercely was little.  It is a great place for kids.  The volunteer program is excellent – for 4 hrs/day, you can camp on the festival grounds, all meals are provided, and you even get a t-shirt!  So, that is the scene this weekend with a couple of other local families and without Mrs. Fantastic.  Cue the violins…

Except!  It was a beautiful day today, and with no pressing obligations (I have a remarkable ability to ignore housework), I decided to bike around Philadelphia.  I found myself getting a little taste of Sweden on this Midsummer’s Day, along with the type of freedom usually found among (and wasted by) childless younger folks.

I biked around West Philadelphia and found myself unexpectedly at the Clark Park Festival.  There were vendors and music, and I had an awesome $2 taco and the last-of-the-season organic strawberries while sitting on the orange chairs there.  Then I headed onthe Grey’s Ferry Bridge and checked out the skyline.

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A little bike trail beckoned and I found myself in a hidden park next to the hidden river.

 

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Schuylkill apparently means ‘hidden river’ in Dutch, so named because lush vegetation hid the waterway from early explorers.  Grey’s Ferry Crescent is a park there under the bridge and on the banks of the Schuylkill River. I biked the whole thing and it was cute, surprisingly clean and green near so much urban atmosphere.

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There were people fishing, wildflowers, and a skateboard park (bottom left, under bridge).

I especially liked this graffiti.

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I decided to aim for FDR park in South Philly.  I had been there once many years ago and thought it a worthy destination.  I wasn’t quite sure how to get there, which ma

IMG_2536de for a bit of an adventure.  I found myself on this road right next to the freeway —>!!  I saw a lot of row houses, took a selfie or two, and just kept aiming for Broad Street south of Packard.  I eventually made my way there.

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The park is large and has a golf course, two lakes, and, randomly, the American Swedish Historical Museum.  It was their Midsommar Festival today of course!!  There were many people bustling about, some in costume, as they prepared for the maypole dancing, etc.  I checked out the many exhibits and their splendid building.

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Of course, there were other things to see in the park as well: the lake, a historic gazebo, lots of outdoor parties, two guys with horses, some weird food stands including a bucket of fish, more skateboarders under a graffiti’d bridge.

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Then it was back north through the Point Breeze neighborhood where a friend of mine lives.  Kermit’s Bakery for mushroom hot pockets and Breezy’s cafe (right next to Engine Co. 24) for a milkshake – yes!!  And my bike looked right at home next to Kermit’s delivery bikes.

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What a great day.  Philly block parties were everywhere, the sky was blue, and I rode through a sprinkler, too!  A bunch more photos of a beautiful day:

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