Calling All Volunteers!‏

Night Hike was awesome!

Nothing but rave reviews for an awesome program planned and carried out by Spark the Wave students! If you missed it be sure to join us next year!

Calling All Volunteers!!

Saturday, October 31st, Sunday, November 1st

Saturday, November 7th & 14th

Come anytime between 10am to 3pm

We’ll be planting lots of trees and shrubs along Penn’s Woods Trail and can use all the help we can get! Bring shovels and other large digging tools if you have them. Hope to see you there!

Pennsylvania Website ‘Fish This’ Is Anglers Best Friend

Website ‘Fish This‘ offers information on the best fishing of Pennsylvania, from fishing guides to hotspots, all in one place.  The site is a great resource for anyone who enjoys fishing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Enjoy your summer and stay safe!

Pottstown Rumble Pictures From Sunday, June 28, 2015

As they say, what a difference a day makes.  Much warmer and the sun was around.  We were actually getting hot sitting in Center Court watching semi-final matches.  The big drawback today was MUD, MUD, MUD.  We endured, despite the mud :).  Great time!

The Pottstown Rumble is a great event.  It showcases what’s best about Pottstown.  It’s well run, people behave themselves, the police were visible, more food than you can shake a stick at (I was told by a player how awesome that is).  Usually the players have to get their own food or maybe there are hot dogs. They felt this was a big plus.  Especially healthy Vegan cuisine courtesy of iCreate Cafe to keep those athletes in tip-top shape!

The Rumble is a great four day event that pumps a lot of money into the local economy and spreads good will about Pottstown.  Can’t put a price tag on good publicity!

Kudos to the Pottstown Parks and Recreation Department for taking great care of one of the best assets in town, Memorial Park!

Pictures From The Pottstown Rumble, June 27, 2015

It was a soggy day but hundreds of volleyball players and spectators jammed into Memorial Park, Pottstown.  The weather tomorrow is supposed to be much better so hopefully it will be a brighter day and no rain!  This was the third day of the Rumble.  Saturday and Sunday are the two biggest days of competition.

Althouse Arboretum In the News

Connecting trail to Sussel Park is done! Now for your walking pleasure you can enjoy not only the Arboretum but Sussel Park too all in one walk. Lovely ponds at Sussel and good exercise walking the hill.

We now have a shed!Thanks to an Eagle Scout project the shed is finished and already being put to good use by our student interns. Lots going on!

Have you seen our ID Garden across from the shed? Created by student interns the garden will give you the names and show you the native plants you may see in the Arboretum.

Plant Sale. Next to the shed you’ll find a plant sale of mostly native, locally grown plants. If you want a quantity of any one plant contact Nancy. Prices are below what you find at the garden center and 100% of the proceeds go towards funding Arboretum projects.

Mark Saturday, September 26th in your calendar now. You’ll be glad you did. It’s the Arboretum’s Grand Opening Celebration and you’ll be amazed as what we have planned!

There’s a classroom in the woods. Can you find it?

Last chance to sign up for June’s Summer Camp! Starts Tomorrow!
Summer Camps 2015

Children grades K through 4th
June 22-26, 9am to 12pmNature Explorers
Learn about nature by exploring it! Campers become detectives looking for clues to reveal each day’s nature mystery and wonder.

July 13-17, 9am to 12pmWildlife Week
Looking closely you can find wildlife everywhere in our nature center! Campers will see, collect and identify familiar and quite strange creatures in our woods, fields and ponds.

(8am arrival available) Click on the picture for more info and registration.

Recycling ScrapMetal & Tires

Saturday, June 27th, 9 am to 1 pm
Have you been meaning to clean out the garage? Get rid of the broken tools? Copper, aluminum, brass, steel and more.
No fee, all donations appreciated
(Please drop off only during recycling hours)

Volunteer Weekend

June 27th & 28th, 2015,
The last Saturday and Sunday of each month,
Come any time in between 10am & 3pm
Much of what you see at the Arboretum has been done by volunteers. Join in! We’ll be doing a little of everything! Planting, weeding, moving, building, clearing, choose your favorite activity, meet your neighbors and have fun! A great family activity! No experience necessary! No preregistration required!

Pittsburgh’s Healthy Ride Bike Share System To Start May 31

Pittsburgh’s bike share system will begin May 31, organizers announced Monday.

The rental network of 50 stations across 11 neighborhoods will provide access to 500 bikes. Dubbed Healthy Ride, the system will be operated by Pittsburgh Bike Share, which was established in 2012 with the goal of starting a public bike sharing system.

“We are excited to bring bike share to the city of Pittsburgh,” said a statement from Executive Director David White. “Residents, businesses and community groups have all shown tremendous support and enthusiasm for the launch. Healthy Ride will provide the city of Pittsburgh with an active transportation choice for locals and visitors.”

Rentals will be available for $2 per half hour. Monthly membership plans will cost $12 a month for unlimited 30-minute rides and $20 for unlimited 60-minute rides. Users can pre-register for free on the program’s website or at the rental kiosks at stations.

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Conshohocken AMBUCS’ Ninth Annual Restaurant Rally Set For May 17

CONSHOHOCKEN, PA – According to one French proverb, “A good meal ought to begin with hunger.”

Conshohocken Restaurant Rally organizer Vince Flocco isn’t about to try one-upping the French when it comes to matters of cuisine. But Flocco would add this for food-lovers who plan to participate in Conshohocken AMBUCS’ ninth annual Restaurant Rally Sunday, May 17 from noon to 4:30 p.m.:

“You really have to pace yourself. You’re not getting a full meal at these restaurants, but when you have 20 or so offering a very generous taste, it’s a substantial amount of food by the time the day ends. People can always use the shuttle buses (provided as part of the Rally) to get from restaurant to restaurant. But, maybe, it’s best to just walk it off.”

Walk or ride, no one leaves hungry. Restaurant Rally tickets are $60, and you’d be hard-pressed to find more bang for your buck.

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Althouse Arboretum Seeking Donations And Matching Grant For Youth Programs

Below you’ll find the proposed trail map, letter from the Executive Director (Ken) and both the business and individual donation requests (PDF files).  Our goal is to reach $5,000 by March 20th and the only way we will do that is with your help.  This is the Arboretum’s first matching funds grant and it would be awesome to start off with a great success.

All donations will be matched by The Greater Pottstown Foundation to allow the SAVE Alliance Foundation to provide free after-school and summer outdoor experiences for low income and at-risk youth from the Pottstown area.  Not only will the donation help create a first-class arboretum, but it will also go to provide such a wonderful service for the region’s children.

Ex Dir letter with donation infoTrail map letter individualTrail map letter business

Friends Of The Arboretum Meeting Monday, January 19th, 2015 6:30pm

Arboretum picturesWe are looking for community members to become part of the Althouse Arboretum. You can volunteer your time and talent, or if you would like, become part of a community team to discuss, plan and work together to make our land a first-class outdoor destination for the community.

We’ll be meeting to discuss prospects, potentials and opportunities.  Come join us!  Email Ken Hamilton or Nancy Baker with questions or for additional information.

Meeting location is 2019 Mimosa Lane, Pottstown (right off Snyder)

RSVP appreciated but not necessary

The 10 Most Exciting Small Cities In America

Picture 569Editor’s note:  Lancaster is number 4!  We agree!

Not everyone can live in Oakland, CA. But after the Movoto Real Estate Blog named it the Most Exciting City in America earlier this year, it seemed like everyone in the Bay Area was thinking about giving it a shot. For some people, though, big cities just aren’t their thing. They enjoy the lifestyle that comes with living in a smaller city–but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to have fun.

With that in mind, and given the fact that we’ve been looking more at small cities and suburbs lately, we decided it was time to look at excitement on a smaller scale. We set out to apply our mathematical methods to ranking the Most Exciting Small Cities in America–places that might be scaled down in size, but where people can still do some really big things.

What did we find? We’re sure the passionate citizens of New Jersey will be happy to learn that their very own Hoboken, NJ took the (flashing, noise-making, spinning) crown of excitement after our results had been tallied.

The birthplace of baseball–a sport whose degree of excitement varies depending on who you talk to–headed up a diverse top 10 of miniature metros.

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Bern Section Of Schuylkill River Trail To Be Built

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s taken nearly five years to get to this point, but a half-mile walking trail along the Schuylkill River in Bern Township will be built by summer.

“It will be nice for people to get out on the trail,” Bern Township Manager Brian Potts said. “It’s picturesque in the summertime. It’s a nice location. Hopefully, people will enjoy it.”

The idea for the trail started in 1996, as Bern officials began working on a comprehensive parks and recreation plan. Potts said the trail was discussed again in the middle of the last decade, but Bern officials seriously began work on the project in 2007.

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River Walk From Historic Pottsgrove Manor, September 24th

For immediate release: Saturday, September 24th from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm River Walk & Picnic

Pottstown, Pennsylvania— On Saturday, September 24, Pottsgrove Manor’s historic site supervisor will offer an informative walking tour from the Manor to the Riverfront Park along the Schuylkill River. The walk will begin at Pottsgrove Manor at 11:00 a.m. and will conclude at the site at 2:00 p.m.

Along the way, we will discuss the history and importance of the Manatawny Creek and the Schuylkill River to the iron working business of the Potts family. A picnic lunch along the river will be provided before heading back to the Manor. An optional guided tour of the house will be offered upon returning to Pottsgrove Manor. Please bring water, wear sunscreen and/or a hat, and wear comfortable shoes. The route is approximately 2 miles of paved trail and sidewalk. The terrain is mostly flat, with one set of stairs.

There is a fee of $15 for this program. Registration is required by September 20th. Registrants will be given a choice of boxed lunches when they call to register.  Contact: Lynn Symborski, Museum Educator; or (610) 326-4014

Pottsgrove Manor, home of John Potts, colonial ironmaster and founder of Pottstown, is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown,Pennsylvania.  Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery County under the direction of the Parks and Heritage Services Department. 

Regular museum hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. & Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Tours are given on the hour; last tour of the day begins as 3:00 p.m. Groups of 10 or more should pre-register by calling 610.326.4014. For more information and a full calendar of events, visit us on the web at or

Jim Thorpe: Revitalization Success Story – Pottstown: Umm, No…

Postcard picture from 1915 of a "bird's e...

Image via Wikipedia

I drove up to Jim Thorpe today thinking it would be cooler in the mountains (not) and because it is a funky place (this was not my first visit, hence I already knew it was funky).

Jim Thorpe is the county seat of Carbon County.  Carbon County has a total land area of 387 square miles and 65,249 residents, based on the 2010 Census (a population density of 171 persons per square mile).  Jim Thorpe’s population was 4,804 (2000 census) with a land area of 14.5 square miles (mostly undeveloped, obviously).  Carbon County borders Lehigh County to the south and Luzerne County to the north.

Jim Thorpe was originally two towns across the Lehigh River from one another – Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk.  The two towns merged and adopted the name Jim Thorpe, after famed Native American Olympian Jim Thorpe who is buried in the borough.  Originally, what is now Jim Thorpe was a railroad and coal-shipping center.  Like many Pennsylvania towns, Jim Thorpe found itself on the downside of post-industrialization and languished for many years.  Becoming Jim Thorpe was the first attempt to boost the local economy.  This offered only limited success and so the town leadership needed to find other means of ramping up their economy.

Today, Jim Thorpe is a bustling small town that has become a destination (are we paying attention Pottstown?) using its natural surrounding, its heritage and some good marketing. 

Jim Thorpe has capitalized on being a former railroad town.  You can take an awesome train ride along the Lehigh River.  During the trip you learn about local history, play games and answer questions.  It is very enjoyable and affordable.  Asa Packer and his son Harry Packer have mansions in Jim Thorpe.  Asa’s mansion is a museum and Harry’s mansion is a B&B.  Asa Packer founded the Lehigh Valley Railroad and Lehigh University.

Jim Thorpe is a river town.  The Lehigh River runs between both sides of town.  Taking advantage of being a river town, Jim Thorpe offers whitewater rafting on the Lehigh. 

Jim Thorpe is also a mountain town.  It’s called the “Switzerland of America”.  Taking advantage of being in the mountains, the town offers mountain biking and hiking.  They threw in paintball just because.  And don’t forget the Anthracite Triathlon, paying homage to being a coal-shipping center and part of the Coal Region.

Jim Thorpe is a historic town, full of 19th century architecture.  One can see examples of Federalist, Greek Revival, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Queen Anne and Richardsonian RomanesqueSt. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the Carbon County Courthouse, the Packer Mansions, the Train Station, the Hotel Switzerland, historic Broadway, the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Building and the Carbon County jail are some of the architectural attractions in town.

Jim Thorpe is so cool.  How cool is it??  Jim Thorpe was listed as number 7 on Budget Travel magazine’s America’s Coolest Small Towns in 2009.

Downtown Jim Thorpe is full of restaurants, bars, boutiques and stores of all kinds.  No empty buildings or mental health drop-in center.  Everything is clean and neat.  There is signage every where so you can find your way.  There is plenty of cheap parking…you have to pay but it is only a few dollars for the day.  There is plenty of foot and vehicular traffic coursing through the downtown.  Keep in mind this town has 4,804 people (or there about – not finding 2010 census results yet) and their downtown puts Pottstown’s to shame.  What’s wrong with that picture?  Jim Thorpe is 4 ½ time smaller than Pottstown, off the beaten path (Carbon County is not exactly Montgomery County with 800,000 people) and yet this town still finds ways to revitalize and thrive, even in a bad economy.

Would you suppose the Mayor of Jim Thorpe nuzzles the ear of the Carbon County Commissioners at local events and undermines the borough council’s downtown revitalization strategy and possibly harms a local business?  Would you suppose the Mayor of Jim Thorpe goes on the local radio station and bad-mouths borough council or that his/her spouse calls borough council a bunch of idiots while storming out of a meeting?  Would you suppose the Mayor of Jim Thorpe blows off out-of-town visitors and embarrasses borough council by promising to do something and then not doing it?

What do you suppose Jim Thorpe’s secret it?  Would you think the borough leadership came up with a plan and sticks with it?  Would you think there is a vision for Jim Thorpe and that the leadership works together and speaks with one voice?  Would you think taking advantage of a town’s history and natural surroundings is as good idea? Would you think creating a destination environment to attract repeat visitors is a good strategy?  Do you think embracing art and culture is a good strategy?  Jim Thorpe does.

Obviously, we are doing something very wrong in Pottstown that we are put to shame by a little mountain town in rural Carbon County.  They have left us in the dust.