The Mansions of Fairmount Park

Fairmount Park hills are sneaky. Like all hills, they lure your in with their trees and their soft trails and their nice views, but forget to tell you about the steep inclines, the quad-busting descents. I’m on to you, Fairmount Park hills with your mansions overlooking the Schuylkill River steeped in the grandeur of colonial America. I’m on to you.

I’ll admire the restoration of your mansions amidst decay, spying down on me from the hill above the wooded Boxer’s trail as I trudge along with screaming legs. Your vantage point is commanding with the higher ground, ignoring the city skyscrapers in your peripheral vision because you want to gaze at the river in winter, the cherry blossoms in the spring, the cyclists and runners in summer, and red leaves in the fall. No, I can’t blame you for wanting time to stand still in this idyllic setting like the time in which you were constructed.

I’ll keep one eye on you, Strawberry Mansion, Mount Pleasant, and Laurel Hill, and one eye on the trail. You know, I’ll be back on the ups and downs of the trails in spring to discover more of your contemporaries, fifteen in all. And when I return, my legs will be stronger from the hills of Fairmount Park and from the trails that encircle you.

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