destination management · food and wine itineraries · Mobility · Rivers · water quality · waterways · Wine Trails

Water and Wine Trails

in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Water Trails in Philadelphia, the waterfront is now a walking and biking destination which covers 6 miles. Trail features include streetscape improvements along the entire waterfront trail, a bi-directional bikeway, pedestrian walkway and rain gardens that will collect the first inch of storm water, relieving the city sewer system during major weather events, as well as benches and bike racks, decorative street pavers, and innovative solar trail lighting.

Phila waterfrontBrandywine Creek is a tributary of the Christina River in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. The 20.4-mile Lower Brandywine is a designated Pennsylvania Scenic River with several tributary streams.

Development & Conservancy Issues In the 1960s, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in historic Brandywine Valley, faced a possible massive industrial development that would impact a largely rural community.  Also, development plans in floodplain areas threatened to devastate water supplies for numerous communities in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. Residents bought endangered land and founded the Brandywine Conservancy in 1967.  The first conservation easements, protecting more than five and one-half miles along the Brandywine, were granted in 1969

Manayunk CanalWine Trails some of Pennsylvania’s vineyards are at the highest elevation east of the Rocky Mountains, while others are in the river valleys of the southeast corner of the state and is one of the top grape-growing states and consistently ranks in the top 10 for wine production, including:

o   Whites – Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Vidal Blanc

o   Reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chambourcin.

Philadelphia Wine Country the southeast corner of Pennsylvania is known as the Philadelphia Countryside Region. It stretches from Philadelphia to the north, west and southwest with scenery filled with rich, lush farmland and river valleys. Three wine trails can be found in this region:

  • Montgomery County – three wineries between Philadelphia and Allentown
  • Bucks County and its nine wineries
  • Brandywine – west and south of Philadelphia.

vines and gazeboEnvironment Tours that focus on declining water quality, diminishing water supplies, vanishing agricultural land, loss of historic character, wildlife habitat degradation, and threatened biological resources. Learn to:

Protect and conserve land and water, natural, cultural and scenic resources;

Create and strengthen local government efforts that support resource conservation;

Improve site planning and design to support resource conservation;

Plan and conserve of natural and cultural resources;

Enhance awareness and knowledge of conservation approaches.

Lock 60 Schuylkill Canal

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Georgetown Texas

victorian architecture economic development energy and the environment

georgetown downtownGeorgetown is located 30 miles from Austin on the northeastern edge of Texas Hill Country. Portions of the town are located on either side of the Balcones Escarpment, a fault line characterized by black, fertile soils of the Black land Prairie, with the west side consisting of hilly, limestone karst formations.

The North and Middle Forks of the San Gabriel River run through the city, providing over 30 miles of hike and bike trails, parks and recreation for residents and visitors.

Blue Hole park in Georgetown Texas (view 4)History the earliest known historical occupants of the county, the Tonkawas, were a flint-working, hunting people who followed buffalo on foot and periodically set fire to the prairie to aid them in their hunts. During the 18th century, they made the transition to a horse culture and used firearms. The town was named for George Washington Glasscock who donated the land for the new community; the early American and Swedish pioneers were attracted to the area’s abundance of timber and clear water.

Victorian Architecture in 1976, a local ordinance was passed t protect the historic central business district. Georgetown has three National Register Historic Districts: Williamson County Courthouse District, Belford National District and the University Avenue/Elm Street District.

m.b. lockett building, georgetown, txSouthwestern University the Oldest University in Texas is one-half Mile from the Historic Square

Economic Development Georgetown was an agrarian community for most of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Shawnee Trail, a cattle trail that led from Texas to the rail centers in Kansas and Missouri, crossed through Georgetown. The establishment of Southwestern University and construction of a railroad contributed to the town’s growth and importance. Cotton was the dominant crop in the area between the 1880s and the 1920s.

san gabrial villagePopulation growth and industrial expansion continued modestly in the 20th century until about 1960, when residential, commercial, and industrial development, due to major growth and urban expansion of nearby Austin, greatly accelerated. Currently, Georgetown is served by the appropriately named Georgetown Railroad, a short line railroad that connects with the Union Pacific Railroad at Round Rock and at Granger.

Energy and the Environment in March 2015, Georgetown announced that their municipal-owned utility, Georgetown Utility Systems, would buy 100% of its power for its customers from wind and solar farms, effectively making the city 100% green-powered.

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Washington DC Maryland and the Brandywine Valley

Your next stop on this itinerary is for three nights and four days. The Washington, DC area, both in the US capital city and its suburban communities, has a unique local economy driven by government spending that has also fueled the development of downtown and neighborhood construction. This in turn has spawned a demand for nightlife and weekend amenities for the educated and environmentally conscious local population as well as out of town visitors.

Washington, DC historic sites museums performing arts and music

Historic sites the National Mall is a large, open park area in the center of the city. Located in the center of the Mall are the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Pier. Also located on the mall are the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial at the east end of the Reflecting Pool, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Directly south of the mall, the Tidal Basin features rows of Japanese Cherry Blossoms blossom trees that were presented as gifts from the nation of Japan. The FDR Memorial and Jefferson Memorial are located around the Tidal Basin.

The Pentagon ViewThe Smithsonian is an educational foundation chartered by Congress in 1846 that maintains most of the nation’s official museums and galleries in Washington, D.C. The U.S. government partially funds the Smithsonian, thus making its collections open to the public free of charge. The most visited of the Smithsonian museums in 2007 was the Museum of Natural History located on the National Mall. Other Smithsonian Institution museums and galleries located on the mall are: The Air and Space Museum; the Museum of African art; the Museum of American History; and the Smithsonian Institution Building, also known as “The Castle”, which serves as the institution’s headquarters.

There are many private art museums in the District of Columbia, which house major collections and exhibits open to the public such as: the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the largest private museum in Washington; and the Phillips Collection, the first museum of modern art in the United States. Other private museums in Washington include the Newseum, the International Spy Museum and the National Geographic Museum. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum located near the National Mall maintains exhibits, documentation, and artifacts related to The Holocaust.

Potomac River in Washington DCPerforming arts and music Washington, D.C. is a national center for the arts. The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Opera, and the Washington Ballet. Washington also has a local independent theater tradition. Institutions such as Arena Stage, and the Studio Theatre feature classic works and new American plays.

The U Street Corridor in Northwest D.C., known as “Washington’s Black Broadway”, is home to institutions like Bohemian Caverns and the Lincoln Theatre. Other jazz venues feature modern blues such as Madam’s Organ in Adams Morgan and Blues Alley in Georgetown. D.C.

Potomac River Trails

The Lower Potomac, Anacostia, Patuxent and Wicomico rivers are among the major waterways in the region, but hundreds of smaller streams, creeks and rivers abound providing numerous opportunities for recreational boating.

Chsapeake WatershedAnacostia River Watershed 176 square mile area of land encompasses most of the eastern half of the District of Columbia and large portions of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland. The Anacostia has 13 major tributary creeks and streams – many with their own sub-watershed citizen advocacy groups; it starts near Bladensburg, MD, and runs for 8.5 miles before meeting the Potomac River at Hains Point in Washington, DC.

Anacostia River Trails and Port Towns The word Anacostia is derived from the Nacotchtank Indian word anaquash; it means village trading center. In the 18th century the port at Bladensburg, Maryland, was 40 feet deep and served as a major center for colonial shipping fleets. Today, at Bladensburg Waterfront Park, site of the old port, the water often measures 3 feet deep or less. In the 18th century, the Anacostia River flowed through 2,500 acres of tidal wetlands. Today, less than 150 acres of wetland remain.

Annapolis, Maryland

Hammond-Harwood House an 18th Century Arts & Architecture Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. The gentleman planter Matthias Hammond began work in 1774 with renowned architect William Buckland on plans for a new, elegant townhouse in the most fashionable area of Annapolis.

hammond-harwood house museum front facade.jpegAn Anglo-Palladian mansion featuring some of the best woodcarving and plasterwork in America

Reading and Writing History Designed to give high school students a hands-on lesson about Colonial American history. The program is divided up into three mini-sessions each with its own goals: a colonial house tour, an introduction to history resources, and a session of hands-on group study. The program covers topics which include common and indentured laborers, slave life, the life of craftsmen, gentry activities and leisure time, decorative arts, and architecture. Other topics may be added on request.

Baltimore, Maryland

Chesapeake & Delaware Canal from Chesapeake CityHistoric Ships in Baltimore’s half-day programs provide an immersive hands-on historic experience with a twenty-first century applicability that encourages team-work, problem solving, and learning. Each program provides introductory ship tours, after which students focus on two areas of the ship and begin to develop a more specialized vocabulary and skill set.  At the end of their 2 ½-hour program, learning is reinforced in a written exercise and assessment.  Assessment results are forwarded to the teacher.  Each program provides a uniquely different approach toward reading, listening, development and reinforcement, involve hands-on activities and are fun, including a live-firing of one of the USS Constellation’s cannons.

The Brandywine Valley

On Day 8, your travel program concludes with a visit to the Brandywine Valley.

Development & Conservancy Issues In the 1960s, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in the historic Brandywine Valley, faced a possible massive industrial development that would impact a largely rural community.  Also, development plans in floodplain areas threatened to devastate water supplies for numerous communities in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. Residents bought endangered land and founded the Brandywine Conservancy in 1967.  The first conservation easements, protecting more than five and one-half miles along the Brandywine, were granted in 1969.

Barns Brinton HouseThese Experiences have placed the Brandywine Valley communities in the forefront of responsible land use, open space preservation and water protection with a focus on integrating conservation with economic development through land stewardship and local government assistance programs working with individuals, state, county and municipal governments and private organizations to permanently protect and conserve natural, cultural and scenic resources.

In 1971, the Conservancy opened a museum in the renovated Hoffman’s Mill, a former gristmill built in 1864, part of the Conservancy’s first preservation efforts.  It contains an unparalleled collection of American art with emphasis on the art of the Brandywine region, illustration, still life and landscape painting, and the work of the Wyeth family.

US Mid-Atlantic Travel an eight-day program for Families Schools and Groups

Philadelphia, Hershey, Harrisburg, Washington DC, Maryland Brandywine Valley

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Assessing the Impact of a Development Project

points of reference for assessing the impact of a proposed development project

Water a buffer of native vegetation undisturbed within 100 feet of streams, wetlands or other aquatic resources. Rooftops, streets, parking lots and other impervious surfaces drain to bio-retention, infiltration or other highly effective storm water system. Project sewage is sent to a treatment plant and the pipes carrying the sewage do not overflow. The treatment plant has met pollution discharge limits for the last 3 years; If the project will be served by onsite sewage disposal, site soils should be rated for Septic Tank Absorption Fields in accordance with USDA Web Soil Survey.

coastal resiliencyTraffic Safety and Congestion getting through the nearest signalized intersections in one green cycle during rush hour conditions. Standing at each proposed new intersection location, verify visibility of approaching vehicles at the minimum, safe sight-distance formula: posted speed limit + 10 mph x 11 feet/mph. Example: 30 mph + 10 = 40 x 11 = 440 feet sight – distance. Trips generated by the project on neighborhood streets are below 2,000 vehicles per day.

Safe Streets and School Overcrowding for residential areas, can the additional students resulting from the project be accommodated without exceeding the capacity of affected schools. Sidewalks are adequate to allow students to safely walk or bike to school along the streets receiving traffic from the project.

Trees and Forests if the project must comply with tree canopy or forest conservation laws, are there requirements met onsite.

clustered homes maximize forest preservation

Broadway Main StreetBuffering and Screening of commercial and industrial projects from the view of adjacent residential homes. If the project obstructs natural views from existing homes, then the proposed landscaping must be sufficient to preserve views.

Property Values commercial or industrial structures be at least 300 feet from residential homes. If the project is commercial-industrial, can trucks reach the site without travelling on residential streets.

Air Quality if the project is a gas station, it must be at least 500 feet from homes, hospitals, schools, senior centers and day care facilities. The homes must be 500 feet from a highway with traffic volumes of 50,000 or more vehicles per day.

Fire and Emergency Medical Services the project must be within a four to eight-minute response time for fire and emergency medical services. In suburban-urban areas, water pressure must be sufficient to meet fire suppression needs.

Richmond Historic Canal WalkRecreation Areas for residential projects, a minimum of 10 acres of park or other recreation areas for every 1,000 residents is recommended. For suburban-urban residential projects, there should be a neighborhood park within a ¼ mile walking distance of the site.

Water Supply for projects served by wells, verify the likelihood that area wells fail or become contaminated. If the site is served by piped-public water, the project must not exceed the safe or sustainable yield.

Flooding all proposed structures must be outside the 100-year flood plain, with runoff managed to prevent an increase in floodwater elevations downstream of the site.

Historical-Archaeological Resources if a designated historic-archaeological resource is present on or near the site, the local historic society must ascertain that it is adequately protected. For buildings 50 years or older slated for demolition, the local historic society should be consulted about the need for protection.

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Geography Community and Climate Change

Thesis Increased urbanization and mass migrations over the last century are key to understanding human factors in climate change; these are best understood by a careful reading of history and geography in your community. Regions of the Earth that are successfully addressing environmental problems should assist other communities, regardless of their location, set an example and provide knowledge and expertise.

Geography as defined by Halford Mackinder, bridges the gap between arts and science; it connects history and culture with the environment. Mankind and not nature initiates activities but nature in large measure controls –Fernand Braudel. Those working in harmony with environmental influences will triumph over those who strive against them – WH Parker. Human nature is motivated by fear, self-interest and honor – Thucydides.

wilkes-barre ViewSustainable Communities are created by addressing resource protection climate change air and water quality human health and well-being

My Community the Washington DC, Potomac River and Middle Atlantic Region of the United States is characterized by a highly educated and knowledgeable citizenry that is very sensitive to environmental issues and is engaged locally and regionally.

Key Issues Affecting Climate Change

Chesapeake watershedurbanization, traffic gridlock, population increases, community migrations

agricultural runoffs from rivers and tributaries into

farming in the outlying Chesapeake region and urban area water quality issues have led to bacteria in the waters, resulting in swimming bans in the bay, rivers and the ocean

budget limitations have led to reduced inspection of watersheds, hence less maintenance and increases in storm water failures allowing tens of thousands of pounds of nutrients to enter the waterways

education there is still a disconnect between the scientific community and the public at large; climate issues are still not part of mainstream thinking and daily life even in socially and economically sophisticated communities.  

Local Solutions to Climate Change

Richmond Historic Canal WalkGovernments at all levels are engineering political solutions:

o   an agreement between EPA and Agricultural Organizations to implement pollution reduction programs aimed at restoring the Bay to health by 2025, and

o   local food production and consumption, a plastic bag tax, green roofs, bike and car sharing programs, light rail and other forms of public transport

Real success in mitigating climate change will be achieved when environmentally sound practices are adopted by local populations; in democratic societies, this can be achieved when small businesses and entrepreneurs join government, nonprofit and volunteer groups in this effort.

Issues are taken more seriously when your lively-hood depends on it. Hence, information, education and training lead to sustainable wealth creation.

Global Solutions to Climate Change

self reliant communities images by EffektAt the dawn of the 20th Century only 14 percent of the world’s population lived in cities; by 2025, 75 percent will be in urban settings. There are already 468 cities with over a million in population; 40 of these cities have more than 10 million residents.

These circumstances lead to continued economic, social, security, environment and climate problems. Increasingly there is a devolution from supranational and national to regional and local institutions to tackle these issues.

The more fortunate communities have an obligation to share their know-how, expertise and experience in climate change; it is in their interest to do so.

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