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Six Spots for Short Stops

Story and Photos by Bill Uhrich

Jul 15, 2020

As Berks County has moved into the Green Phase of reopening, we find ourselves slowly changing routines.

We’re becoming more focused on returning to pre-lockdown work, school and other activities.  The days of long walks in the outdoors are slowly receding.

But we can still get our fix of green in the Green Phase by taking shorter walks at convenient spots in the greater Reading area.

Here are six nearby stops out in nature where we can take a quick lunch break or an after-work stroll to help relieve the stress of a pandemic lifestyle.  Feel free to add some of your own favorites in the comments section below.

Angelica Creek Park

Located at Morgantown Road and Bernardine Street just inside the Reading city limits, Angelica Creek Park has a number of trail loops that run through different habitats over its 90 acres. Visitors can find a variety of bird, insect and aquatic life along the pristine Angelica Creek.  Berks Nature, which anchors the park, maintains boardwalks and trails through the wetlands.  One current outstanding feature is a pollinator garden, which will soon be in bloom, attracting a number of butterfly species.

Angora Fruit Farm

Surrounded by Antietam Lake Park and the Mount Penn Preserve with their miles of trails for hikers and bikers, Angora Fruit Farm at 502 Angora Road in Lower Alsace Township provides a more intimate walking experience with trails that skirt fields, ponds and woodlands.  This recent addition to the Berks County Parks system contains a remnant of its namesake former orchard, offering a shaded walk along stone fence lines.  The trails also connect to the larger networks at Antietam and Mount Penn.

Charles Evans Cemetery

Covering 127 acres in Reading’s northwest section at 1112 Centre Avenue, Charles Evans Cemetery is the final resting place for over 62,000 souls.   Founded in 1846, the cemetery offers a thoughtful walk along its seven miles of winding roads that reveal unique memorials to past and present generations.  Visitors can stroll among the over 2,200 trees in the arboretum that provide homes to a number of bird species.  Binoculars are a must, not only for watching birds but for reading tombstones.  Many names from Reading and Berks history appear such as Thun, Nolde, Barbey, Luden, Yatron and Shirk.  The Civil War Memorial offers a stark reminder of the cost of that conflict in Berks County lives.

Labyrinth Garden

Built as a replica of the labyrinth at the Nortre Dame de Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France, the labyrinth at the Janssen Center at Penn State Berks offers a quiet and contemplative walking experience not far from the more bustling trails across Tulpehocken Road at the Union Canal Towpath and Gring’s Mill.  After experiencing the labyrinth, visitors can sit quietly and take in the Herb Study Garden at the nearby Janssen Conference Center, which contain six raised-bed gardens with individual themes of apothecary, native plants, culinary, silver, knot and fragrance.

North Pond Loop

Many visitors to the Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center in Cumru Township overlook the North Pond Loop in favor of the much more extensive trail system that traverses the center’s 725 acres.  But the North Pond Loop is perfect for a quick shot of green nature, as it circles the North Pond for .3 of a mile.  A stop at the pond’s dock can reveal dragonflies and damselflies along with turtles and a variety of bird species.  Access the North Pond from Route 625, the New Holland Road, by turning onto Church Road.  The pond parking area is a short distance on the left.

Seidel Road Trailhead

Another offshoot of Antietam Lake Park, the Seidel Road Trailhead is a short loop that runs along the Stone Wall Creek, up to the former Hinnershitz Dam and through a small woodland.  Benches along the creek offer a place to listen to the early evening choruses of wood thrushes and veeries.

 

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