As old as I am, that was before my time.
Now where that use to be is the Bellevue State Park and down the track where the hauling went is a continuation of the Delaware Northern Greenway.
This skinny stretch attempts to connect the Bellevue State park with Fox Point State Park, but it doesn't quite complete the link...yet.
That is it mostly hidden by the trees. I guess if this was August or any summer month the house would be completely hidden from where I stand snapping this photo. With the leaves blown away in this early December morn you can just see the building.
There is a driveway further up the Boulevard that winds its way up to a parking lot by the house. You can drive up and visit, take a tour or perhaps attend some function it is being lent out to from time to time.
Straight ahead is a gazebo. All these old estates around about here would be incomplete without a gazebo or two, or three in the case of Rockwood.
I like gazebos myself and would have liked one in the yard, but there were always more pressing needs for my money than buying one of these things, so I remain gazebo-less.
As usual, I like to take a shot thought them.
I'm looking through this one at the main house, The Cauffiel House atop the hill. The style is called Colonial Revival.
The house was build by or for a Mister Daniel Cauffiel back in the early 1920s. He lived there with his family of wife and seven children during the summer. He lived in Wilmington the rest of the year.
There is little in this neck of a land piece other that the Cauffiel Estate, the road and the trail. You can look out across the stretch of empty fields down to the Delaware River, watch the oil tankers go by or count the clouds in the sky.
I didn't go over and look inside, maybe another time.
It felt a bit eerie wandering about here. There wasn't another sign of life, no one about but me. The parking lot was empty. I felt like an invader creeping about in the yard.
It is always nice that someone cares enough to preserve and keep-up some of these past properties, remnants of the long ago so we can see how life was. There are many pockets of history for visit around the country and we've been to many.
Of course it can get out of hand. Every time some dilapidated or unsafe eyesore is on the verge of demolition there seems to be some group that appears with pitchfork and torches and the claim we are destroying history.
Each of us carry fond memories of places from our past, usually ones remembered through the distorting mists of childhood.
The house I lived in the swamp when a child is gone now, so is the swamp. There is a college parking lot on that ground. I have but a couple photos of a small portion of the exterior of the place. I wish I could go and take the whole of the building from each side and traipse again through the rooms to record them, but it is too late.
I know it had no real historic significance, unless by some weird twist of time I should become famous and then people will say The Old Goat once lived there.
Now, looking over at the Cauffiel barn it occurs to me I don't know the historic significance of this place either.
Perhaps it is the location.
It is a nice site with the view of the river from the back windows and what then may have been but woods when built. Even now it is fairly uncrowded by the progress and growth of the last 90 years.
No cars come up, no one opens a door, no footsteps of some caretaker with a key hurry along the path.
It stays still and silent and chill.
It is time to continue on with my purpose here today, the objective of my walk and my real reason to be in this place to take it.
What I came for is down there.
I'm looking down from the driveway of the Cauffiel House parking lot. The road you see is Bellevue Boulevard. The pavement you see curling around just across the road is a continuation of the Delaware Northern Greenway.
I really came down here to walk this link since it is a section of the Greenway I haven't walked to date.
I already was down that curving path and on the trail. The trip up the hill to the house was my going off on a tangent. It really came after the fact, so to speak. I am thus going to treat where the path ended as the beginning and walk us back from that point.
So we begin here where the trail stops.
Perhaps you are wondering about who Governor Printz was to have a highway named after him. You probably took a guess that he was a former governor of Delaware.
You'd be wrong.
He was a governor of what became a part of Delaware, but not of the state.
As you can see this isn't the most used of the trails in the area. It is kind of off the beaten track, you might say. I was very much alone here. It isn't the wider paved paths of most of the parks. It is fairly narrow and basically a dirt footpath through a narrow stretch of woods.
Where the trail ends there are also the businesses that line Governor Printz Boulevard, things like auto wrecking yards and truck rentals.
This is where the creek comes up against some piping under the Boulevard.
The creek zig-zags through here and under a series of small bridges, which adds some interest to it all.
The sun is to my back here throwing my shadow on the ground before me. Since it is early morning not long after sunrise, I must be walking in a westerly direction.
For some reason, I always feel I am going south to north when in actuality I am walking east to west.
See how easy it is to be disoriented as to direction without a compass? No wonder people get lost.
Actually this photo was taken from the other side of the next bridge. You can see some of the homes that run along the tree line and path in the background.
From here the path will be wider and paved and will parallel the Bellevue Boulevard. This was the point where I crossed that street and went up the hill to the Cauffiel House, but we are going to pretend I just kept going up the path.
Just throwing in a couple more shots of this section of the trail before I leave the tree line behind and move on.
It was odd when I came walking down here along this trail. A car came from toward the river and slowed. The driver seemed to be looking at me, studying me. I thought he was going to stop, but he didn't. He finally sped away to where ever he was going.
It left me wondering what he was thinking. Did he recognize me from somewhere? Did he think I was someone he knew? Or was he just surprised to see someone walking along this section?
Oh, the street ahead is Philadelphia Pike. We will reach it and cross it soon.
Anyway, I don't always look this respectable.
We have crossed the Pike and caught the Northern Greenways path once more. It is now going to lead into Bellevue State Park.
See, the path curves away from the highway up toward that stone wall.
We need remember this part of Delaware was once part of Pennsylvania, owned by William Penn. The heritage of much of this area is Quaker and you will find a large number of small meetinghouses scattered about and a confusion of Meetinghouse Roads.
Although over the years the Little Woman and I, and sometimes our kids when young, were frequent visitors in Bellevue, the trails here are new to me. I just never had occasion or reason to wander down this way in the past. I wasn't even aware of this little graveyard.
These are more less frequented paths. They are very much corridors, kind of dark and forgotten, even though they run silently behind a parking garage servicing a corporate plaza next door.
Here is an information board and a bike rack, totally empty of any bikes.
The path weaves about this station.
It is all first time places to me.
I come past these evergreens and meet the first person this morning, a lady jogging down the trail. We say hello and she jogs down the path I just came.
These are empty places and I wonder at the women I pass out walking or running alone through these woods. I've done it all my life and it never occurs to me how isolated many of these trails are. But I'm not a woman, although I suppose as an old man I am someone vulnerable too. Still, I pass these women all the time on my walks, alone and so often dressed in revealing clothing.
But now as we get more into this corner of Bellevue we begin to meet more people.
I'm not the Lone Ranger anymore.
I'm still not into the parts of the park I know well, so I am still exploring it is just I am not the only one on the trail and am saying hello here and there.
I have much on my mind. I am still thinking about the future of my Blog in the coming year. I feel I have been wandering in some cyber back woods lately, that I am alone on my path of words.
No one is reading it, I am just walking along here talking to myself and not getting any answers.
I like to wander these forests alone, but I am not sure I see the point of writing to no one but myself.
Ah, with this bench I have come back into territory I have walked before and the bench is a welcome sight. Not because it is familiar, but because my shoelaces have untied themselves and it is a convenient place to retie them.
That chore accomplished, I continue up this trail on my walk. I will go up a bit and cross over into woods again.
It will be a path in that woods where I will meet the deer I posted about the other day.
There in the distance, distracting me from my gloomy thoughts is a couple walking some dogs. I meet a lot of dogs on the trails.
Now I meet the deers and then I go almost down to Bringhurst before doubling back.
I go up onto the oval track and follow it around to go back to the parking lot.
Sitting beneath a tree I see a new old friend.