A favorite place: the “back path” at Chatham

From John Hennessy:

[A new occasional feature, “Favorite Places.”  If you have one in the park, let us know–either in the comments or through email–and we’ll pass it along.]

Few people know of it (until now), and fewer still use it (it’s just as well), but it is one of my favorite places in the Fredericksburg region: the so-called “back path” at Chatham, just south of the Big House.  It is cloaked in what a soldier might have called “a dark, close wood,” and descends Stafford Heights to River Road by ancient steps haphazardly and occasionally dug into the hillside. In my hundreds of passages of the back path, I have never–not once–passed another person.

We know little of its origins, but both logic and appearance suggest it’s been used a very long time. Local legend is that Chatham’s last private owner, John Lee Pratt, used the path for his walks into town every day.  It’s hard to imagine that hundreds of others used it, too, for it is the easiest way from Chatham down to River Road, and thence into Fredericksburg across the Chatham Bridge.

If you have such a favorite place, let us know…..