Monday, April 13, 2009

The Jones Falls Trail

Another journey, and it all started with a walk. I wasn’t sure where I would go. My journey took me through several neighborhoods. My final destination was the Jones Falls Trail. I decided to walk along the completed portion of the North trail, which began at Druid Hill Park and ended in Woodberry near Hampden.

The Jones Falls Trail is a hiking, biking, walking and wheelchair-accessible trail that runs along the Jones Falls Valley. Part of the trail closely parallels the Jones Falls, a stream that begins in Greenspring Valley, joins other tributaries at Robert E. Lee Park and Lake Roland, and continues south to the Inner Harbor. The trail, as planned, will extend from Baltimore City to Lake Roland. At its closest point to the Jones Falls waterway, the trail passes by a number of historic mills, the scenic overlook at Round Falls and the Baltimore Street Car Museum. There are many attractions and points of interests to enjoy in the area of the trail, including The Conservatory at Druid Hill Park, The Maryland Zoo and Clipper Mill. Cylburn Arboretum, historic Mount Washington and several other destinations await us when the path is extended.

The trail is as varied as Baltimore itself. Phase I and Phase II of the trail pass through the city, from Penn Station to Woodberry, and are adjacent to city roads. Phase II will eventually extend to the city’s Cylburn Park and Lake Roland in Baltimore County, winding through densely wooded areas that seem to be miles removed from civilization.

It’s a very tranquil setting, which allows for meditation and reflection, and that’s just what I did. The plant life is extraordinary, with beautiful oak and pine trees racing towards the sky. The wildlife is awesome too. I could hear woodpeckers in the distance drilling out their holes in trees. I saw a beautiful falcon soaring through the sky effortlessly. Butterflies danced in midair searching for flowers to pollinate. I got to see the penguins playing behind the Zoo’s fence. I feasted my eyes on the beautiful purple tulips at the restored Conservatory. Everywhere I looked there was something catching my eye and bringing a serene feeling to my mind, body, soul and spirit. It was an escape I needed.

Unfortunately, some of the trail signs were not placed in the appropriate location, leading to confusion. The signage was hard to see because the colors used blended in with the environment. The powers that be with the Watershed Association and the City need to do some work on the navigation of the trail. It should be smooth, especially for new visitors to our city. Adding full maps of the trail would also help.

After my long and relaxing walk I decided to get a bite to eat at the Rocket To Venus restaurant in Hampden. It’s an interesting place with an artsy flare. The service was great and the food, not the best I’ve had, but definitely eatable. The brussel sprouts are a must. These are not your mother’s sprouts. They were marinated in a tangy pickled marinade and grilled to perfection. I’m definitely going back again soon.

It really was a nice way to spend a Friday afternoon. The weather was perfect. I almost forgot, a friend of mine joined me in my adventure. The company and conversation added to an already beautiful afternoon.


I can’t say it enough, if pays to enjoy the simple things in life. It’s the simple pleasures that bring the most joy. Check out my pictures from my walk: The Jones Falls Trail, Another Walk Of Discovery, Spring In Hampden (Group I), Spring In Hampden (Group 2) and Yellow. Enjoy! - paerki

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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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