Ready All, Row!

Weekend Tour

Many of us have seen rowers gliding across the water in stunning movie scenes and paintings, but few of us have had the opportunity to try the sport. Join BLJ Community Rowing, the first Black-owned and operated rowing organization in the country, for a learn to row session. BLJ is literally “a boathouse without walls,” and they have married their passion for the sport with their love of the great outdoors; and serve as pioneers for how to successfully run a rowing organization in a completely green space, breaking down barriers and building a diverse community.

On this tour, you’ll learn how rowing is the ultimate team sport. The session will include learning the basic rowing stroke and how to use the unique equipment followed by an opportunity for you to be on the water with a coach. Afterward, we will take a tour of a few of the historic 19th-century boathouses, which line the Schuylkill River on Boathouse Row, to learn more about Philadelphia’s rich history of rowing.  As a part of the experience, participants will have the opportunity for a walking tour, complete with a peek inside some of the historic clubs of Boathouse Row. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, this iconic collection of 19th-century Victorian homes dotting the Schuylkill River’s eastern Shore were among Fairmount Park’s earliest buildings.  Along “The Row” are past stories of renowned artists and architects and barriers pushed and broken. These mingle with the stories of today including Philadelphia’s drive for even greater access and inclusion for traditionally underrepresented communities on the water, the increasing challenges to maintain the river’s infrastructure, and the continued inspiration that this space serves for cities looking to activate their own riverfronts.
Note: Wear close-fitting clothes and spandex bottoms. Socks are required (no shoes in the boat). You must know how to swim.

Tour Leaders

Brannon Johnson

Head Coach and Owner, BLJ Community Rowing