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Slice of Suburbia: Mont Clare, Pennsylvania

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Mont Clare, Pennsylvania is a small village located across from Phoenixville, so small it doesn’t even have a post office anymore.Mont Clare Canal and Lock But it boasts Produce Junction, the Mont Clare Canal has the only functional lock and, along with neighboring Port Providence, one of only two remaining watered stretches of the Schuylkill Canal- Lock 60, a bike trail to Philly, and gorgeous river-front views for hiking, kayaking, canoeing, watching wildlife, running, walking and relaxing.

Once upon a time Mont Clare was called Quincyville, and often gets confused with the better-known Montclair, New Jersey. Way back in the day, it was home to a Lenni-Lenape tribe. Mont Clare is also the home of the famous outlaw, Harry Longabaugh, known as The Sundance Kid.

But I love this place because of the caring in the community, the local events, the river, Produce Junction, and Fitzwater Station (known to the locals as the Fitz) the local watering hole where you can get a beer in the middle of biking, have a great dinner, play Quizzo or sing karaoke at night, feed the ducks and rent a kayak or canoe for the day from Kayak John to do the Loop- the 2 ½ mile stretch of canal, and portage over to the Schuylkill River near the Lock Tender’s house, and mosey down the river. Portage back to the canal and you’re done after five miles. A great way to spend the day- although, don’t do what I did- attempted to kayak with little water on the hottest afternoon of the summer thus far. But still, the canal is peaceful and an enjoyable stretch to paddle.

Mont Clare is home to Canal Day. Held during the last Sunday of the month of June, it offers tours of the Lock Tender’s house, fire truck demos, kayaking and canoeing on the river, a 5K trail run, bird walk, canoe race, horseshoe tournament, highland games, decorative bike parade and the main event- the joust- where people attempt to knock each other off a beam situated over the slow-moving canal.

So get yourself to a teeny village, don’t blink, you’ll miss it! Get dinner and a drink at the Fitz, some fruit and vegs at Produce Junction, go for a paddle and relax!

Pictures courtesy of the Schuylkill Canal Association’s Facebook page. Also check out their website: www.schuylkillcanal.org

Christine Tarlecki can be reached at engchik@gmail.com , on FaceBook under her name, on Twitter at engchik, or at http://engchik.blogspot.com