Looking to Escape the City?Jan 30th, 2012 | By andy | Category: Sights
Looking to Escape the City?
Lose Yourself on the Chinqua Penn Walking Trail
Greensboro is chock full of various trails, entertaining everyone from the everyday walker to the distance runner. However, running these trails regularly can cause them to become rather boring. If this is the case for you, then a simple thirty minute drive north of Greensboro into Rockingham county will bring you to a vibrant, yet subtle little trail full of natural beauty. This trail is located on the famous Chinqua Penn Plantation, built almost one-hundred years ago by the Penn family. Their affinity towards nature has survived throughout the years, being reflected not only on the trail, but throughout the entire plantation.
Upon arriving at the trail way, one is immediately greeted with vast, open views of a seemingly wild, yet tame landscape full of lush, green fields. The parking lot, almost never holding more than a few cars, eagerly welcomes your vehicle. Just a mere twenty feet from the parking lot, the staff at Chinqua Penn has added several picnic tables for those looking to make a family outing out their visit to the plantation.
As you begin your trek down the trail, you will notice the efforts of the plantation staff to go green with the fresh addition of various recycling bins and a outdoor bathroom powered by a lone solar panel. The walkway slowly begins to meander left and right, passing an antiquated stone structure delicately placed delicately in the brush. Continuing past the structure will lead you into the heart of the plantation as various fields, fences, and even a pond come into view.
As you walk, squirrels, birds, and even a chipmunk or two will sound your arrival as they scurry away; although some of these little critters have grown quite used to people frequenting the walkway. During the summer, a walk next to the pond will have literally hundreds of frogs leaping into the cover of the water. A winter walk will sometimes reveal a flock of geese swimming carelessly in the water. Continuing past the pond will lead you into the wooded portion of the plantation, a beautiful area if you are lucky enough to see it when the leaves are changing colors.
Even in the winter, when all the leaves have fallen and the trees lie bare, there still lies a green oasis of bamboo, growing wildly alongside of the trail, almost encompassing you in shade as you walk through it. Emerging on the other side of the bamboo haven will lead you to a walkway that circumnavigates alongside yet another pond. Some are even greeted by the vibrant colors of the shy koi that swim about the waters there. A stone, plateau-like structure also lies next to the pond, playing home to a picnic table on top, offering trail-goers a chance to stop for a minute and adore the paradise that lies before them.
As you trek uphill through the final stretch of the wooded portion of the plantation, you will enter into the actual plantation itself. As far as the eye can see, there are open lands, green fields, hay bales and, usually, several cows and calves. Kids will be amazed at just how close they can actually get to the massive creatures, but beware as there are electric fences set up to keep not only the cows safe, but trail-goers as well.
Typically, the trail can be traversed by most anybody, from young to old, with no problems. However, there are steep downhill and uphill slopes, which, combined with a gravel walkway, can mean a slick surface. The trail itself is one and a half miles long which seems to be the perfect distance for most individuals, whether walking, jogging, or offering the piggyback tour a tired child.
If this sounds like something to try, pack a lunch, pack the family, and pack a good pair of shoes and hit the highway for brief car ride into Rockingham County. The plantation is located just north of Greensboro, outside the quaint city of Reidsville. For directions to the Chinqua Penn Plantation, simply click here!
© 2011 Andrew Brusnahan