Dream Drives: Heavenly Waters at Welkinweir

CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — In Pottstown, Chester County, you can find an outdoor oasis with a spectacular view: Welkinweir.

“We’re at Welkinweir, which is Old English,” said Victoria Laubach. “Welkin is ‘the dome of heaven’ or ‘the sky.’ Weir is ‘a body of water.'”

This historic country estate is now home of the non-profit Green Valleys Association, dedicated to preserving the watersheds of northern Chester County.

“The 55 acres is the formal arboretum. That is nestled within 187 permanently protected acres,” Victoria said.

“Love that it’s permanently protected,” Meisha said. “Those are golden words right there.”

At Welkinweir, parts of the past live on, like the stone walls of an old barn, a popular spot for weddings. Everywhere your eye goes are different plants, trees and flowers.

“Yes,” Victoria said. “We don’t like to see too much ground. We have the formal gardens, and then we also have a series of hiking trails (for) 2 miles.”

One tree is particularly special to area arborists. “That is a Chinese hackberry,” Victoria said. “It is the largest of its kind in Pennsylvania.”

Welkinweir is known for hosting outdoor events and groups. “We have our summer camp. This week’s focus is on birds,” Victoria said. Appropriate, since Welkinweir also is a big draw for bird watching.

The formal gardens overlook the valley and a pond.

“Whenever I see a body of water like that, I love reptiles and amphibians, so right away I think about maybe turtles or frogs back there,” Meisha said.

“Yes,” Victoria said.

“Hard to capture this on television, but when you’re just quiet for a moment,” Meisha said and paused, “how many different birds you’re hearing at once.”

“We are definitely removed from traffic noise,” Victoria said.

Welkinweir is at 1368 Prizer Road, Pottstown, PA 19465. The grounds are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. Planned tours are available.

For more, contact Welkinweir at 610-469-7543 or visit them online.

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