I’m over the moon to announce our next Guest Mommy in the Tales from the City of Motherly Love series. Today’s guest mommy post is by West Philly Mama (aka Sandra Telep) of Pleasantly Furious who I was lucky enough to meet at a recent Philadelphia Social Media Moms blogger event. Sandra is smart and gracious not to mention wonderful and though I’ve only met her briefly I can tell already that she’d be one of those forever friends if you are lucky enough to get to know her (which I sure I hope I am over the coming months!). Many thanks to Sandra for sharing her unique take on her particular part of this great City of Motherly Love.
West Philly: A Parents’ Beginners Guide – by Sandra Telep
My family moved to West Philly about a year ago – by accident. We knew nothing about the area and were brand new to parenting (our little monkey was barely three months old) – so it was pure luck that landed us in this gorgeous, walkable, family-friendly, urban neighborhood.
Lots of Philadelphia area families come to West Philly for major attractions like the Please Touch Museum and The Philadelphia Zoo. They may even come to Clark Park for the fantastic playgrounds, busy Farmers’ Market or special events like Shakespeare in the Park, but there are some hidden gems that you might not know about if you haven’t had the luck to reside here.
For example, tucked away on Penn’s campus is an urban oasis known as the Bio Pond. I love bringing my 14 month old to the pond to see the fish, turtles and ducks. This spring there were even seven tiny ducklings waddling around! Between the Bio Pond, the Woodlands Cemetery (which is GORGEOUS in the spring when the azaleas are in bloom), and Clark Park I feel like we can easily enjoy nature and the outdoors right in our backyard.
When it’s raining or cold out there are a lot of activities and classes in the neighborhood: Around This World Music started in West Philly, the West Philly YMCA offers everything from swimming to soccer, Studio 34 currently has a bilingual dance and movement class for toddlers, and Wake Up Yoga was offering Baby and Me yoga classes until recently.
In addition to the many things to do in the neighborhood, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the tight-knit community. I’ve only been here a short time and I already find that I always have a friendly face to wave hello to on my way to the park or the grocery store. There is a local family e-mail list (phillyfun4kids note: to join this group, send email to clarkparktotlot [at] googlegroups [dot] com) which keeps neighbors in touch about everything from lost kittens to hand-me-down kids’ items up for grabs. I know I’ve used it for advice on pediatricians and to meet other moms for playgroups.
I think that often, people think that urban living means you have to give up the great outdoors and knowing your neighbors – but what I love about West Philly is that you can have the best of both worlds. I feel like I have that proverbial village as we raise our child, but still get to enjoy the perks of city living. I don’t drive, so I walk everywhere I go – and I love that I can walk to three grocery stores, two libraries (www.freelibrary.org), a handful of cafes and countless restaurants. I really value that my son is growing up in a vibrant and diverse area. I’m grateful that we are just a few subway stops from major historical and cultural attractions. I’m doing my best to take advantage of all these amazing aspects of West Philly and invite you to let me in on any secrets I haven’t discovered yet – and follow along (www.westphillymama.com) as we enjoy living in what I think is Philadelphia’s best neighborhood!
Would you like to share with phillyfun4kids readers what you love about your neighborhood for kids and families? We’re always looking for new guest moms and dads with a passion for their particular part of the city! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!