Getting there by walking

Walking in any weather  ©Janet Allen
We can walk just as easily in winter

Since we live in the first ring of suburbs, we aren't quite as isolated from life as are people in more recently-developed suburbs, miles from anything.

Some new subdivisions are touted as "walkable communities," but they must mean only that there are nice sidewalks to walk on because, other than that, there are no destinations, just walking around curving streets.

Our definition of a "walkable community" is that you can walk places instead of taking a car. Walking just for exercise isn't appealing.

Except when the streets are actually icy, winter doesn't stop us. With a warm jacket and a few layers of clothes, we're comfortable. Actually after ten or fifteen minutes, we warm up anyway, so we have to be careful not to overdress.

In fact, summer can pose more of a problem than winter. We don't like walking in the heat, so we have to get moving pretty early in the morning.

Where we walk

The final road on the way to Wegmans  ©Janet Allen
The final road to Wegmans, lined by non-native weeds (that people mistakenly think are native plants…)

We're lucky to have been able to plot a few enjoyable, relatively traffic-free walking routes that take us on daily errands, eliminating a surprising number of short car trips.

The most important of these errands are: getting groceries and other daily items, some "regular" shopping at department-type stores, the library, and the post office.

Our shopping route is about 1.5 miles to Wegmans (a grocery store), and a bit farther to get to Target at the other end of the mall.

We walk to Wegmans or Green Planet Grocery (a little bit farther) to get our groceries about three or four times a week. We each have a backpack, and we manage to get virtually all our groceries this way except for some really bulky or very heavy items.

Because it takes about five minutes to get to Wegmans by car, that's about ten minutes of free exercise we get, not to mention that much less wear and tear on the car for all those short trips. (Before we started walking, we drove to Wegmans frequently since there always seemed to be something we needed.)

Besides being fuel-efficient, this practice is very time-efficient, especially compared to people who hop in the car to drive to a health club.

Library ©Janet Allen
Solvay Library: our other favorite destination

Besides walking to Wegmans and the other stores in the adjacent shopping center, our other main destination is our library in Solvay.

That route takes us up (what feels like) an enormous hill—a really good workout. It's a double benefit since the library is over the hill, not on the top of the hill, so we get to go up a hill both ways! There's an extra benefit if we have a number of heavy books to carry.

Like our shopping route, it's about 1.5 miles each way.

Walking to the post office  ©Janet Allen
John walking to the post office

A bit beyond the library is the post office, which we take about once a month.

The only glitch in this route is crossing W. Genesee St., not a highway, but a pretty busy 4-lane street.