Jim Croce’s Farm House And A Pleasant Hike Along The Brandywine Creek In Marsh Creek State Park

Jim Croce’s Farm House And A Pleasant Hike Along The Brandywine Creek In Marsh Creek State Park

Lyndell Croce house (1 of 12)
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I returned  to the Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County. on Thursday afternoon.  I was excited to explore some more of this park. And I was even more excited about this trip since I was staying in the farmhouse  were  singer/ songwriter Jim Croce, his wife Ingrid and their young son A.J. lived before his tragic death in a plane crash in 1973. It is located in Lyndell  near  the State Park.

More about this amazing place  in another blog.

This one is from my first hike on this trip.  It was around 3 p.m. when I arrived at the  over 200  year old farmhouse.  After exploring the home, and listening to some of  Croce’s songs I decided to hike on the Blue Trail in nearby Marsh Creek State Park.

The Blue Trail  can be reached by a public trailhead  just a few hundred yards from the Croce farmhouse, just  across the East Branch of the historic Brandywine Creek.

I crossed the bridge in the quiet rural neighborhood. It was late afternoon but the early May sun was still hot. Temperatures were in the mid 80’s as I crossed the scenic creek.

The trailhead  starts on Lyndell Road  between two private residence,

and follows the Brandywine Creek  upstream towards the border of the park.  There were many  large old tulip trees  the trail.

Shortly after beginning my hike I saw   a few golden oyster mushrooms on some fallen dead trees.  Then I saw these large clusters of these beautiful golden oysters along the trail.  I had only a found a few of these mushrooms before and never harvested them.

I marked the spot where I found them  and would gather some on my return hike.

I continued on the trail that followed the Brandywine Creek.

 There was a campground across the creek and some residences above the trail I was on.  Spring was weeks ahead of my home in the mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The  trees were arrayed in their green Spring leaves and wild flower bloomed along the trail.

Wild geraniums,

common blue violets and,

mandrakes or may apples flowers were seen all along  the trail on my five mile hike. All of these flowers are native to Pennsylvania.

And there were many of these  similar looking yellow flowers, meadow buttercups,

bulbous buttercups and

greater celandine growing along the trail.  They are all invasive flowers

Although it was late afternoon it was still sunny and hot for an early day in May. Temperatures were in the low 80’s and so there wasn’t a lot of bird activity at the start of my hike.  However as the trail neared the Brandywine Creek I did see a this eastern towhee,

and a few common yellowthroats in the brush along the trail.  Both of these birds  are returning form their Winter  homes to breed in Pennsylvania. The common yellow throats are  small warblers  who  migrate  

The trail had now taken me into  Marsh Creek State Park  where it officially became the Blue Trail. It was still  mainly a tulip tree woodland.

I walked down to the Brandywine Creek and enjoyed the cooler air and running waters.

Here I found another edible mushroom a pheasant back polypore.

The Blue Trail now had a few side trails that led up the ridge and eventually to the Marsh Creek lake. I decided to stay on the trail along the Brandywine Creek. There were old wooden railroad ties along the trail so this must have once been a railroad right of way.

The trail widened   a bit here,

and invasive honeysuckle flower were growing along the trail. The aroma of these flowers was heavenly.

I was out almost two  miles when I came to the ruins of an old stone wall. I later learned it was part of the remains of an abandoned quarry in the park that was fenced in and closed to hikers. The trail was getting near Creek Road and the noise of the passing traffic could be heard on the trail .

After about 2 1/2 miles the trail ended at a gate on Marshall Road.

It was now late afternoon, and the air was cooling on my walk back.  The rays of the sun were lower and  the new leaves of the trees along the trail were a softer green color. It was a pleasant walk along the Brandywine Creek.

I walked to the creek again,

 and listened to the rushing waters and noticed some more wildflowers growing in the  moist soil along the creek including  rue-anemone,

and woodland stonecrop, both native plants that grow near creeks and wetlands.

There were also many skunk cabbages growing near the creek.  I continued my hike under the green canopy of leaves with the late day sun filtering from above.

As I neared the end of the trail I heard, then saw a veery. This thrush migrates from it’s Winter home in the southern United States to as far south as  South America.

There were also blue gray gnatcatchers fluttering in the treetops.

There was now a lot of bird activity, but they were all year long resident birds including, a red-bellied woodpecker,

American robins,

gray catbirds,

white throated sparrows,

and both a Carolina wren,

that was singing loudly form a tree branch,

and a house wren near the home at the end of the trail.  Here is a link to  a gallery on my blog website with more photos of some of the birds I saw on my hike.  Lyndell Marsh Creek State Park birds May 2 2024.

I also saw a few squirrels scampering  along the trail.

I finished my five mile hike walking over the bridge above the Brandywine Creek Here is a link to  a gallery on my blog website with more photos from my five mile  my hike.  Lyndell Marsh Creek State Park birds May 2 2024.

I returned to the Croce farmhouse, and listened to some of his music, in the same room he wrote it,  shortly before his tragic death in September 1973. As I usually am I was hungry and drove to nearby Downingtown for diner at La Sponda. I enjoyed a delicious meal , starting with a Caesar’s salad,

with a fish and pasta dish for my main course,

and of course  a cannoli for dessert.

I was very full as I  drove the five miles back to the Croce farmhouse as shadows descended on the winding rural roads after the sunset.  At the farmhouse listened to some more of Jim’s music, in the rooms he wrote it,  while I edited my photos and fell asleep looking forward to exploring some more of Marsh Creek State Park and rural Chester County the next day.

“Like the pine trees lining the winding roadI’ve got a nameI’ve got a nameLike the singing bird and the croaking toadI’ve got a nameI’ve got a nameAnd I carry it with me like my daddy didBut I’m living the dream that he kept hidMoving me down the highwayRolling me down the highwayMoving ahead so life won’t pass me by..”   Jim Croce  

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