Let’s take a walk! Imagine for a moment you’re a homeowner in the one of these top 5 walkable communities in Wilmington. Imagine a life where your commute no longer starts with an ignition...
Face it, the suburbs are great for having a large house in a nice neighborhood, but it comes with some costs, mainly in the automobile form. When you live miles away from the closest store, you have to drive everywhere. You can’t get to work without a car; you’d be lost without one. You have to plan out your every move in accordance to the vicious tide of traffic. Meeting new people is an intentional act; social life in a suburb often feels forced and unnatural because we rarely have the opportunity to meet people outside our bubble of necessity. In managing our heap of responsibilities, the endless struggle of driving everywhere becomes ingrained in us. We become so used to the fatigue it generates that we forget there’s another option.
More and more, suburbanites fed up with daily highway warfare have taken a new (or old) approach. It’s an approach many Americans have never known; a stark contrast to their grandparents, who could recount endless stories of meeting new friends on their walk to buy bread and butter.
The walkability of Trolley Square offers a small-town atmosphere coupled with a lifestyle of convenience that is unmatched by the suburbs. A series of village-style shops make it possible to do all your shopping in one place.
After a hard day’s work, there’s nothing worse than waiting in traffic just to grab a gallon of milk or a quick bite to eat. That’s why Trolley is popular for so many homebuyers seeking to live a healthier, more convenient lifestyle. You’re walking to a friend’s house for dinner and you forgot a loaf of french bread and a bottle of wine! After a short detour to Acme and Moore Brothers, you’ve saved the night in ten minutes or less.
Brandywine Park’s beautiful waterfront view allows you to admire the Brandywine creek as it meanders under a footbridge and splashes over moss covered rocks. You enjoy the scene for a moment, watching ducks wade between fish as the sun begins to set. As you make your way home over an endless lattice of old brick sidewalks, you catch sight of friends on their way to a local restaurant. You’re only a few minutes walk from home. Still time to freshen up and head over to Kid Shelleen’s for gourmet burgers and beers! Full and satisfied, you walk home under ample lights, passing friendly faces along the way.
Walking north on Delaware Avenue, you’ll notice walkups giving way to the single houses and pleasant row homes of Forty Acres. Old sycamores lean over familiar brick sidewalks, roots gently push against and spill over the worn red blocks. Here, you see more welcoming scenes as you pass on your walk to the grocery store. A labrador lazily watches passersby from behind a large bay window. Children and adults alike ride their bikes through quiet streets.
The predominantly brick houses are woven together in Forty Acres, creating a special sense of community. An air of peace along its avenues makes a pleasant walk to the corner beauty salon or to De La Coeur for unparalleled French cuisine. A unique feature of Forty Acres is the feeling one would expect of a European neighborhood - where quiet restaurants, diners, and boutiques nestle in between houses. No expansive parking lots, no rumble of impatient traffic. Just the ambiance of a cheery town going about its day.
A short stroll down Kentmere Parkway sits the Delaware Art Museum. You meander through the museum’s garden, observing the eclectic sculptures throughout, and end at a labyrinth in the hull of an old reservoir. Just outside the museum stretches Rockford dog park, a perfect place to give your canine some running room while you socialize with a neighbor. As you wind up the hill to Rockford Tower you observe a tranquil setting: picnics on park benches, children play baseball at the diamond, bicycles whiz by, and hawks float lazily above. You realize with a smile that this is your backyard, where everything you could hope to do in a single day is just outside your door.
Bordering Rockford Park, the Highlands neighborhood is close enough to Trolley Square and Forty Acres to enjoy all of their social perks while delivering a family-centered atmosphere removed from the nightlife. Free-standing homes, each displaying a garden or lawn, abound down every tree-lined street. Families walk just a few blocks to Brew HaHa or Scrumptious for a delicious frozen yogurt. Kids play with their dogs in front of yards hedged with picket fences. You admire these scenes, wondering if Norman Rockwell drew his inspiration from a stroll on Seventeenth Street. .
You’re out for your nightly jog under tree canopies lit by street lamps. The neighborhood is quiet and every house glows warmly from within. Darkened picket fences and “Children at Play” signs zip past. The air is utterly calm. Your only company is the fellow runner or an occasional passing car. The Highlands is the choice community for night runners due to its safe and pleasant evening atmosphere.
Your home in the Highlands is also central to a variety of events and other culture-filled locations. Brandywine park begins within the neighborhood and stretches for miles of scenic paved and wooded trails along Brandywine Creek. Rockford park, home to the annual Flower Market in May and a series of concerts all through the summer, is just a few minutes walk away. But on a whim, you gather a few sandwiches and a frisbee or a chessboard and walk over to the Marian Coffin Gardens, hidden behind a massive stone wall. The historic gardens surrounding the old Gibraltar estate, located just on the edge of the Highlands, are maintained year round by a local preservation group. You meander through green paths flanked by blooms of every color, past weathered statues, and reflect for a moment at the gorgeous lotus pond, around which a courtyard of flagstones and elegant trees soothe every nerve. You finally arrive at the gazebo where an ornate picnic area lies framed under which a colonnade of arches. You really can’t imagine a better setting for your perfect picnic with someone special.
The neighborhood of Rockford, which borders the park of the same name, amplifies the aesthetic of the woods and wildlife with its elegant sprawling homes of brick and creeping ivy, brilliant green lawns, and high, windowed gables. The wide streets and pristine sidewalks skirt the boundary of Rockford Park, its large canine recreation area and the remainder of the nature trails beyond. All of Rockford benefits from the walkability and convenience of the Highlands and 40 Acres, and comforts you, the avid walker with safe, well-lit avenues by which to reach all the amenities and comforts the surrounding neighborhoods provide.
You’ll find a more reserved atmosphere among the ornamental gardens and short stone walls of Rockford’s home fronts. Every passerby is held rapt by its charm. Amid the beautiful architecture lies a peaceful haven under tall tree canopies, removed from the bustle of Trolley Square, but not too far away to enjoy it regularly.
Mid-Town Brandywine combines the accessibility of the central business district with the safety of small town insulation as it borders Trolley Square, Brandywine Park, and Wilmington’s cultural center on Market Street. On your way from lunch at El Diablo in Trolley, you walk through serene Brandywine Park as it winds along the creek. You head home on sidewalks that adhere the quiet village of Mid-Town Brandywine to its shaded streets, lined with protective sycamores over dual-family and rowhouses.
You wave a friendly greeting to your neighbors as you pass. In Mid-Town Brandywine, the community here feels like a rebirth of an old idea: a tight knit tapestry of eclectic peoples from all walks of life. You connect to this big-family feel of the neighborhood and embrace the peace and sense of community it affords you. This is a place where it’s easy to feel welcomed.
It’s nearly evening, and the sun is setting behind the impressive skyscrapers that share the skyline above you. You take a group of friends just a few minutes’ walk downtown to Market Street and Rodney Square, where the city offers its best dining and entertainment. You catch a stunning Broadway-style show at the Grand Opera House, and afterwards enter one of many upscale restaurants just a few minutes away such as La Fia Bistro, The Merchant Bar, or Chelsea Tavern. An endless sea of taphouses, gastropubs, and eclectic dining await you and your friends in Wilmington. The sun has long since set and the streetlights hum next to stoic trees as you jostle down the safe avenues back to your home in Mid-Town Brandywine, where the sidewalks embrace your search for a fulfilling life.
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