Let's Talk with Terry Ambrose

March 30, 2023

What’s your park’s personality?

Balboa Park - Pixabay

One of the cool things about living in San Diego is that we have a lot of parks. They come in sizes ranging from neighborhood slivers of land nobody has ever heard of to world-renowned giants like Balboa Park in San Diego. While Balboa offers multiple museums, gardens, activities, and more, I personally prefer the less-trafficked parks closer to home. Or maybe I’m just drawn to a different personality.

Each park has its own personality

Today happens to be National Take a Walk in the Park Day. That’s right. Somebody decided today should be a day to encourage people to get out and walk in a park. Who knew? Right? The question is, if you celebrate this day, how do you choose? Do you go for the belle of the ball, someplace like Balboa with its lively personality and in-your-face list of things to do? Or maybe one less over the top?

The shy sibling

Shadowridge Park - the shy siblingAbout a half-mile from our house is a small park without a lot of flash. We’ve never spent much time there, but since Kathy’s knee surgery, it’s turned into our walking path of choice. In a way, this park feels shy to me. It’s got nice amenities, including a slide, swings, monkey bars, and other playground equipment, but unless you know this little park, you’ll probably miss how special it is. 

The wallflower

Buena Vista Park has an entirely different personality. It’s about a mile from our house and has a duck pond, picnic benches, and several miles of walking trails—everything from easy to moderately difficult. The vegetation at Buena Vista is primarily native to this region, so there’s not much in the way of showy colors. Even though Buena Vista Park is special in its own right, compared to the others in our neighborhood, it almost feels…well, drab.

Creekside Park in Vista, CA

The exuberant little sister

If we want to walk by a babbling creek with ducks, we go to Creekwalk Park in Vista Village. Aptly named, there’s a small creek around which the City built a park. Above the creek, there’s a grassy knoll complete with metal statues of bucking horses. There’s a lot to like about this park, and it’s all packed into a tiny, exuberant little bundle that screams, “Look at me; I’m special!”

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52 thoughts on “What’s your park’s personality?

  1. I like to walk the Jemison Trail. It is a trail cut into a park but then winds in and out of a residential area as well. If you stay on one part, it is pure nature with a natural bridge to cross water, etc, but wander the other way and you can pass stately homes including where Margaret Tutwiler grew up.

  2. Terry, we attended a wedding in San Diego years ago and made a week-long vacation of it. Loved Balboa Park and many other areas of the city, especially Old Town.

    One of the nicest things about having moved to TN is all the parks and walking trails throughout the area where we now live. Walking is my exercise of choice. I especially enjoy Radnor Lake and its various trails.

    1. Lois, Balboa Park is lovely. It’s an incredible place to walk around with so many things to see. We went to Nashville for a conference once and were caught up in all the green as we landed.

  3. We live in a very small town in the Ozark Mountains and unfortunately there aren’t many parks around us. I do however love to walk around the downtown section of our little tourist town on any weekend where the courthouse square is a big draw for people (locals and tourist alike) to congregate on the lawns to sit on benches to talk or to listen to the music being played either on the stage in by the front doors or in little clusters around the courthouse where groups play or people bring their own instruments to join in on the music making or maybe in groups playing horseshoes. From April to November our town is bustling with activities with some sort of festival about every 3-4 weeks from the Folk Music Festival that starts next weekend to the Bean Festival with Outhouse Races in October. So in sorts, I consider our whole town as part of a park to come and join in or venture off on your own. Either way you can see a lot just by walking around out square or down to the pick ‘n’ park all while enjoying sights and sounds that will transport you back to the “Mayberry” Days of yesteryears. It’s a place we vacations in for many years and after retirement, we now call it HOME.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. I am lucky to live within 200 feet of Mirror Lake Park in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. This park offers a scenic view and plenty of outdoor and indoor activities for the community. It’s home to the Mirror Lake Library, a Carnegie library built in 1915 in Beaux-Arts style. The park also offers a recreation trail for the community to walk around the lake. I would give this park the personality of a matriarch overseeing her offspring with a gentle guiding hand.

  5. I live in a rural area for our parks are mostly paths in the woods. My neighborhood has scenic beauty and many who live here and elsewhere in the county come here to walk. With the century old oaks creating a thick canopy high overhead, I’d say this place feels like nature’s cathedral.

  6. We like Crane’s Roost in Altamonte Springs. It’s a concrete path around a lake and is an easy stroll that takes maybe a half hour. For something more formal, Leu Gardens in Winter Garden would be our choice. We are members and can enjoy the rainforest section, the camellias and azaleas when in bloom, and other facets of this botanical garden. There is also Lake Lily which is a lovely walk around a shaded lake, plus myriad other smaller parks with trails and playgrounds.

  7. I live in Portland, Oregon….lovely for two things….lots of parks with nice trails and lots of rain when I need to justify staying in a chair with a book. I think my favorite is really because of convenience. One block from my apartment is a river walk with choices of a round trip (both sides of the Willamette River). I can walk a three mile RT or a 5 miler and still get to starbucks before it closes.

    1. We’ll actually be up in that area in the fall and I’m looking forward to lots of green (hopefully, we won’t get rained out!) Good luck in the contest, Shannon!

  8. My favorite park is a local park called George Masko Park, located next to Town Hall. The park was dedicated in 1960 in honor of a long time civic and community leader and includes a rhododendron memorial garden for music
    composers, authors and artists. Being small and forested with only a couple picnic tables among the rhododendrons scattered under the firs, the park has a quiet and intimate feel though it is only a block from a busy thoroughfare. You might even catchiga sight of a wild bunny, though squirrels are more common.

  9. We have all sorts of interesting parks in my area of South Florida. There’s the glorious Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, and the equally lovely but a bit more blowsy Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach. But one of my favorite spots is Grassy Waters Preserve to the north of West Palm. It’s 20-plus acres of wetlands where you can take a guided canoe trip or wander a mile of boardwalk while you do a bit of birdwatching. Just watch for snakes and gators!

    1. I love it when the wetlands get preserved. Near us, Bataquitos Lagoon was nearly lost to development, but thanks to a restoration effort, now has a thriving ecosystem.

  10. I like to walk in the Phoenix Botanical Gardens and see all of the plants that are native to the deserts of Arizona

  11. Our local park is full of personality. There are walking trails, ducks and geese, lots of beautiful scenery with trees, birds, squirrels, everything you want in a park and more. Thank you for this chance.

  12. My favorite park is Oracle Park where the San Francisco Giants play baseball. Always green grass and lots of fun food and drink – and seats to enjoy the weather!

  13. A short drive from my home is a State park with a “bubbly” personality . Ricketts Glen has 22 named waterfalls, the tallest at 92 feet. Hikers follow stone paths, some carved into the hillside, in a magical climb over a mountain and through woods, always along the streams.

  14. Our local park is one I would call “The Socialite”. It is definitely a gathering place. There is a walking trail, bathrooms, picnic tables, a basketball court, a tennis court, a playground, grills, and a dog park. You could definitely spend the day there.

  15. Since we just moved two weeks ago I don’t have a favorite place to walk yet. When we lived in the mountains of Colorado I walked in the mountains near our home on a beautiful mountain path where I saw fourteeners all around me.

  16. My local park has a sign at the entrance saying “Snakes and Alligators may be present.” That pretty much covers it!

  17. We live 1/2 mile from South County (Palm Beach) Park. I walk there most weekday mornings.
    It has a good variety of birds and water fowl to keep me entertained.

  18. I lived in Sacramento, CA for a long time and there was a little park a couple of blocks from where I worked that was one of my favorite spots. It was a quiet, peaceful place to go and feel like being in nature despite being in the middle of the city. I definitely think its personality was “Wall Flower” because it was so unassuming and just kind of ‘there’ in the midst of, not only the city, but many other larger parks which received much more attention. ❤️

  19. I do like walking around Balboa Park but mostly I walk my dog around my condo complex. We get to see other people and their dogs.

  20. I love walking around Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ. It’s personality is quiet and restful.

  21. I really don’t have any parks nearby. We usually walk around our tree farm. Peaceful comes to mind for us. I guess the closest park is the Delaware Water Gap. It has a definite urban visitor vibe about it as many from NYC and other nearby urban areas tend to visit frequently. If we head there. We tend to hit the northern end where city folk tend to fear (no street lights and lots of fields/trees)! But it does have a great restaurant, the Walpack Inn. Fantastic food and great views, plus visiting wildlife!

    1. The book title and cover of The Case of the Amorous Assailant look intriguing!
      I work at Martin Luther King School of the Arts at Seaside California, and about 2 miles away, there is this Laguna Grande Regional Park which is a large park in Seaside where many of the community’s events are held, such as concerts and other special events. It also serves as a neighborhood park for the residents of its close proximity. The park also includes walking paths, a creek, barbeque areas, picnic tables and natural vegetation. I would like to go there to relax during weekdays evening when the traffic is slower and quieter.

  22. Our local park doubles as a community area with tennis courts and a swimming pool. But as a kid I always preferred the swings and the creek.

  23. My favorite place to walk is the nice playground at my apartments. I have MS, so I don’t walk really far, but my grandsons love the park when they come to visit. I would call it a Hidden Gem or Unexpected Sparkling Paradise. My grandsons can really use their imaginations there and I can enjoy watching them play.

  24. How very generous of you all to not only give us the gift of your writing talents, but also offer us the opportunity to enter a contest for your exciting cozy mysteries!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you on behalf of all of us eager readers and fans.

  25. There are a lot of nice parks where I live. My favorite park has nice walking trails and bike trails. It also has a pond with a pair of swans and their babies.

  26. We have two small parks about equal waking distance from our home. One is full of ducks and geese and a pond and a tennis court that is always full. Lots of activity there. We love to and sit in the little pagoda by the pond and watch the ducks and geese and the people playing tennis. Sometimes it gets very heated. Sometimes there is a lot of fun going on. Going the other way there is a nice little part with slides and such and another tennis court. This one is always full of moms and children. So fun to watch the the children playing and having fun.

  27. In my small town, the place to walk is the Lodi Lake Trail. It’s quiet, you can see birds and turtles, and you get a nice workout in!

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