There are certain rites you become accustomed to ringing in the fall. Dressing for bipolar weather in shorts and a sweatshirt. That first homemade bowl of soup. A walk around the football field at halftime on a Friday night.
And for some, waiting to hear if Walker Gardens will be open to the public.
Down U.S. Route 322 in Bigler, the beautiful lawns and landscapes studded with statuary and water features are a fall fantasy of mums and late roses, with strolling peacocks and serenely swimming swans. They surround the private home of Ray Walker, a businessman and lifelong philanthropist and father of Secretary of Community and Economic Development C. Alan Walker. Ray and his late wife, Louise, once opened the grounds to the public regularly throughout the summer, but in recent years the gardens have been like a special bloom, just opening once or twice a year, usually in late summer or early autumn. This year, that will be Sunday and Sept. 16.
For $3 for adults, $2 for youths 12 to 18, and $1 for children under 12, you can stroll the 10 manicured acres, walk over an old stone bridge, enjoy free music and do some good.
Proceeds from admission, as well as the refreshments, such as homemade bean soup and saucy meatball sandwiches, go to support Bigler area charities, many of which were started with the help of Ray or Louise, including the Bigler YMCA and local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops. And if the blossoming beauty puts you in a horticultural mood, you can also pick up a pot of flowering mums at the gate.
The gardens will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Sundays. To take in the sights, follow the signs from Route 322 at Bigler between Philipsburg and Clearfield.
Lori Falce writes weekly about the Rush Township/Philipsburg area. Send comments to email@example.com.