Quiet Place: Schuylkill River
Community leader Dr. Janine Darby gets ready to get back out on the water.
by Bill Donahue

Years ago, Janine Darby, M.D., took a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with the man who would one day become her husband. Among the trip’s memorable events: her first attempt at kayaking. Although she enjoyed the physicality and the invigoration of being one with the water, she remembers the experience as a little less relaxing than advertised.
“It was scary being out in the Atlantic Ocean,” she recalls. “I like sharks, but I like them in the aquarium.”
Despite having had a less than ideal first experience, Dr. Darby wanted to give kayaking another shot, though maybe a bit farther inland. She has since come to treasure her time on the water. One favorite put-in destination: the Schuylkill River in Phoenixville, not far from her family’s home. Dr. Darby and her husband have since passed their fondness for kayaking onto their four children.
“It’s not something we do frequently, but every time we go we always enjoy it,” she says. “Whether you’re kayaking or walking on a [hiking] trail, spending time outside is a wonderful thing. You’re surrounded by fresh air, you’re able to quiet your mind, and you can turn off the noise around you in your daily life. You’re looking at an entirely different environment—trees, water, other elements of nature—and there’s some serenity that comes with that.”
As someone who has long prioritized health and fitness, Dr. Darby says kayaking checks all the boxes; the activity not only stimulates the brain and promotes relaxation, but it also provides a challenging workout. That said, she prefers to do a tandem kayak “because I’m lazy,” she jokes.
Another preferred nature-based activity nearby includes exploring the hills and dales of Valley Forge National Historical Park. Dr. Darby’s “all-time favorite” place, though, is a bit farther north: The Lodge at Woodloch. A destination spa resort on 500 wooded acres in the town of Hawley, northeast of Scranton, Woodloch reached No. 17 on the list of the world’s best spa resorts, according to Condé Nast Traveler’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards. 
“It’s very peaceful,” Dr. Darby says. “Whether you’re walking on the wooded trails or spending time at the spa, it’s an amazing experience. We go there to get away from the hustle and bustle.”
As a wife and mother, a physician, and an entrepreneur, as well as a community leader, Dr. Darby believes such excursions are essential for self-care. Her reason: Spending time in peaceful, natural settings balances the demands of a hectic schedule. 
Dr. Darby feels blessed to live in a part of the world with an abundance of parks, rivers, and other natural resources. As the weather continues its turn toward spring and summer, she is eager to spend more time among the trees and on the water, to benefit from the kind of peacefulness only the natural world can inspire.
Solving Problems
Dr. Darby considers herself a problem solver. As the owner and founder of Lifestyle Changes LLC, Dr. Darby helps patients improve their health through tailored weight management and concierge medical services. She also leads her community and advocates for underrepresented groups in need of having their voices heard. In 2020, Dr. Darby and her eldest daughter, Chadé, created the DEI Task Force for Methacton School District (deitaskforce.org) to address injustice by fostering acceptance, respect, and dignity. In particular, they have sought to eliminate discrimination and inequity in Methacton schools and the surrounding community. 
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, April 2022.