Valley Green

Monday Morning Musings:

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”

–Pedro Calderón de la Barca


Valley Green Inn

Valley Green Inn

The restaurant—not really an inn—

Is nestled in a valley,

Set along the banks of

Wissahickon Creek.

And it was very green


A beautiful August day.

Truth in advertising.

I suppose.

But even in winter snow

And ice

It would be lovely.

It was the perfect spot

For my mother’s birthday celebration.

A Sunday brunch.

In the 1790s,

A large gristmill operated


From where we dined

Over two centuries later.

In the 1850s,

People took picnics

To this spot,

Escaping the heat

Of the city.

The new turnpike,

Now Lincoln Drive,

Made it easier for people

To travel to

This valley,

And to stay and eat

At the hotel

Then located there.

We sat indoors,

Foregoing the porch–

This time,

Although we’ve eaten there before.

The old rooms have seen history unfold.

I wonder what stories those walls could tell?

How many other birthdays

Have been celebrated here?

My mom can also

Tell stories.

She has seen many changes

In her 93 years.

No longer a slim,

And beautiful young woman.

Parents, friends, husband—

All gone.

Wars fought,

Men on the moon.

It was a big deal

When her family got

A telephone—

And that was only

Because her father

Had a grocery store.

It was the Great Depression–

But that was long ago.



In this inn,

The scent of wood smoke

Still lingers

From the flames

Of past fires.

But none today.

Not in August.

The fireplace cold,

Its mantel adorned

With flowers.

We sat in the old room,

The floors worn and slightly uneven,

With our modern conveniences,

Air conditioning

And cell phones.

My daughter

And her new husband

Share looks across

The table.

My sister and I

Share secrets.

We all seem

To share food.

Sausages passed

Around the table.

Everything is delicious—

Sweet potato pancakes,

Crab and seafood omelets,

Mushroom bisque,


French toast,

And Huevos rancheros.

There are 8 of us here

Drinking coffee,


Ordering our entries,

Our fruit salads,


A berry cobbler

With a candle

For my mom.




We walk outside

To sit by the creek.

IMG_2638 IMG_2646

The geese and ducks

Swim in circles,

They look for treats thrown

By those who pass by.

The water burbles,

And children giggle.


A man is fishing.

There are runners,


And bikers,

On the path.

Two musicians sit in the shade,

Playing violin and guitar—

An acoustic version of

“Pinball Wizard”

Drifting out to us

And mingling with the sound

Of water, birds,

And conversation.

Perhaps these should be

The sounds aliens

Hear to understand

Our world.

The sounds of humanity,

Of Earth

Placed on Voyager

As it travels the galaxies.

But would they understand

Birthday wishes?

The love of family?

The sharing of food

And conversation?

Would they understand

The loveliness of

An inn

Set in a green valley

Along a creek

Where we took our

Mother for her birthday?


You can find out more about Valley Green Inn here.

You can find out more about the sounds Voyager carries here.

18 thoughts on “Valley Green

  1. How lovely indeed, Merril. I think these are the sounds and sights of a deep family love that everybody here on Earth should experience at least once in their life, if fortunate, as well. Happy Birthday to your beautiful mom!

  2. I got lost in your poetic reverie, Merril. You speak of nature, but family love is its bedrock. Your mom is adorable at 93. How lucky she is to have such caring relatives.

    The Wissahickon Creek flows by my sister’s home close to North Wales, PA. We seldom drive east to visit – too much estate business right now. She drives west toward Lancaster where we meet up. But there will come a time . . .

    • Thanks so much, Marian! I appreciate your kind comment.
      I had to look up where North Wales. I knew Montgomery County, but I didn’t know where. My sister is in Abington, PA, and we’re south of Philadelphia in NJ. I’m sure you will find a time to meet up with your sister. 🙂

  3. A belated Happy Birthday to your mom! Mine will be 92 in October. I am so grateful for her healthy longevity. In part because I’m hoping I inherited some of her awesome genes, but mostly because we didn’t have the best mother-daughter relationship until the last few years. Long story, but I’m just glad we both “hung in there,” didn’t become estranged like some families do. Thank you for sharing your day in such a beautiful, artful way.

  4. I love your Monday Morning Musings, Merril. (Wow, that’s a mouthful of alliteration!) Your writing is so wonderful it makes me feel as if I’m there with you. I’m trying to remember if I’ve been to Wissahickon. I think I’ve done some walking/hiking there (back in 2006-2007 when my husband and I lived in West Chester). Or perhaps I’m remembering it through a friend who lives in Philly and frequently goes there to hike.

    A belated Happy Birthday to your mother!

    • Thank you so much for your very kind words and praise, Robin! I always think we should go back without my mom and do more of a hike there, but somehow never do. It is very pretty though.

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