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Heading to Harvard

It was another lovely, spring morning last Wednesday for our Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays weekly walk. A strong turnout of 47 walkers and two K-9 best friends were on hand at the Exedra to enjoy it.

One of the fun things about walking Piedmont streets is going to seldom traveled roadways and paths. These are streets, back alleys, hidden paths, and cul-de-sacs that most people don't know about. There are a set of them on the southwest side of town and they were our destination.

Before we got started walking there were a couple of announcements. First, next Wednesday architect and walker Jim K is going to lead a tour of interesting structures in the central part of Piedmont. Second, Lois P and Sherry J reminded us that we are marching in Piedmont's 4th of July parade. Everyone is encouraged to be part of it.

We were intending to go through Piedmont Park to get to Wildwood Avenue, but some walkers reported the park was closed for tree work. So, a quick change in the route plan was made, and we went past the Community Hall up a path to Guilford Road. We took a hidden path on Guilford to Hazel Land, and then went down Requa Road to Wildwood Avenue. We reassembled above Witter Field to check out the construction work being done on its track.

We continued on and took the lower portion of Wildwood, just past Wildwood School. This is a seldom traveled roadway because the upper portion of Wildwood gets almost all the traffic. However, this lower section is a delightful, seldom seen street with lovely front gardens. Near the street's end is a path between 220 and 216. We went half way down the path to a back alley that provides access to the garages of Ranleigh Way and Windsor Avenue homes. The alley was a surprise for us, not just because it exists, but because it is almost like walking in a secluded park with large pines, redwoods, and palm trees in the bordering backyards. We took the attached

group photo there.

We went down the alley to Harvard Road. We liked that we could now tell people, "I went to Harvard." We walked down the street, crossed the Oakland city line, and continued on to Lakeshore Avenue. There were a surprising number of large, old palms on Lakeshore. It was speculated they were part of early 19th Century Piedmont developer Frank C. Havens' grand entrance to his Piedmont Park attraction.

We went up Boulevard Way and back into Piedmont. On Boulevard, between 540 and 534, there was a path over to the top of Sylvan Way. We could have continued on down Boulevard to its bottom, and then up Sylvan to walk their entireties. But that would have taken more time, and maybe more energy than we had, so we took the quicker, short path over to Sylvan. However, there was still the challenge of going down a very steep Sylvan hill to Wildwood Avenue. Walkers went arm in arm down it to be safe. Wildwood quickly ran into Palm Drive, named for the palm trees Havens planted over a hundred years ago as the entrance to his Piedmont Park.

We found another hidden path on Palm, this one between 127 and 201. It took us to Magnolia Avenue for the climb back to the Exedra. As a little rest break, we went up and back the seldom visited, short, flat Larmer Court, which runs off of Magnolia. We decided this is a "very exclusive" cul-de-sac because there are only three homes with Larmer addresses. We wondered if any

Piedmont street has fewer.

We continued up Magnolia and there was one last seldom walked street to see, the also short Hillside Court cul-de-sac. It's "very exclusive" too with only four homes that have Hillside Court addresses.

We checked out the construction progress on the Piedmont pool, and were back at the Exedra slightly before noon. It had been a fun, about three-mile walk in less than 90 minutes, filled with seldom seen streets, hidden paths, a back alley, cul-de-sacs, and lots of good conversations with new and old Wednesday walking friends.


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