Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row
The rowing clubs on Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row comprise “the oldest athletic amateur governing body” in the U.S., said Dave Caldwell in The New York Times. The first clubs were built along the tree-lined Schuykill River in the early 1800s. After the Civil War, rowing enthusiasts built “handsome Victorian-era boathouses, trimmed in club colors.” Today these houses are colorful enough by day, but at night are outlined in lights and twinkle like “a gingerbread fairyland.” On racing days, the air is full of suspense. The mile-and-a-quarter-long racing course is six lanes wide “and edged by short gray stone walls.” Admission is free, and thousands of spectators can watch from either bank. There is also plenty to do when the boats aren’t racing. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a short walk away, as is the Fairmount Water Works, which includes “a museum about, yes, water.”
An Appalachian driving tour
A new 13-state driving-tour map that “stretches from southern New York to northern Mississippi” has just been released, said Michael Felberbaum in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The map, created by National Geographic in cooperation with the Appalachian Regional Commission, features 28 suggested routes. The most celebrated is the Blue Ridge Parkway through North Carolina and Virginia. But many other scenic routes follow back roads and artisan trails through less well-known historic towns. In Virginia, the state’s musical heritage can be savored along the three-day, 253-mile trail that takes visitors to such popular venues for traditional mountain music as Floyd’s Country Store and the Rex Theater. On a tour through northern Alabama visitors will find 50 roadside stops on a 22-mile birding trail from which “to spot eastern woodland birds and waterfowl.” Barns painted with quilt patterns are featured on a tour of southeast Ohio.