Reflecting on the Past at Brandywine Springs

We visited Brandywine Springs Park this wintry weekend, and read some of the signage in the park, which recognizes what the site used to be – a Mineral Springs Resort and later an Amusement Park. It is interesting to see what used to be there when there are only the merest traces now – a flat area of stone where a step or foundation used to be; a smooth stone barrier on the edge of the pond where you can walk across.The woods in winter can be eerie – the bones of thick twisting vines that are slowly dragging the trees up by their roots are clearly visible with no foliage to hide their morbid activity. The glowing green of slick moss among the piles of dead leaves and skeletons of grass that cover the forest floor seems to radiate energy through winter’s sleepy stillness. At Brandywine Springs Park, nature has reclaimed the attractions that used to host throngs of locals and tourists in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, with glossy blurred photographs the only evidence of the vibrant businesses that used to thrive there. Winter’s stillness offers a moment to reflect on the impermanence of our buildings and activities, reminding us to enjoy our labors and our surroundings while they are here, before nature’s winter sleep reclaims them, laying the foundation for something new that will come when new life blooms in the spring. Brandywine Springs Park is a free county park with a parking lot (which used to be a hotel), playground, pavilions, picnic tables, and trails with historical photographs and information. Dirt trails are fairly short but do go down a bit steeply to the creek and pond (and back up, of course). There are no restrooms, but there are plenty of restaurants and stores close by. For more about the history, visit Delaware Public Media.

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