Tag Archives: park

Grapevine Botanical Gardens, Grapevine, Tex.

3rdarm_67476440_1087732298095533_116934490180535471_n

The summer of 2019, I visited Grapevine, Texas for a computer conference. OK, OK, it was QuakeCon. Before I was able to start hardcore gaming, I had a few hours to fill, and made the decision to eat BBQ brisket and take a nap at the Grapevine Botanical Gardens, and it was a beaut.

3rdarm_66367238_642223276260283_5313810183922038338_n

The botanical garden was tranquil and the calming energy was just what the doctor ordered (the doctor had NOT ordered the pound of brisket, the half-day spent in airports, or the three-days of restless gaming with the nerdherd that was to come.) It was a welcome respite from the road, to be surrounded by the nature of Grapevine, Texas, its native flora and fauna.

3rdarm_67163413_593961511131559_7570315220991849412_n

The koi were well fed and swam gorgeously thru golden lit waters, but the real star was the shade and breeze on a hot July day.

3rdarm_65766998_449033609284976_8193646209278829108_n

The butterfly sculpture celebrates the monarch butterflies that fly over Grapevine, Texas on their southern migration. My favorite part of my visit to the Botanical Garden was the 200+ years old tree. A plaque beside the tree bore the following inscription:

3rdarm_67562408_845131069214227_1410178390524554625_n

“1787 – 1987. The National Arborist Association and the International Society of Arborculture jointly recognize this significant tree in this centennial year, having lived at the time of the signing of our Constitution.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Branford Point, Branford, Conn.

obranfordpoint2branfordpoint3branfordpoint4branfordpoint5branfordpoint6branfordpoint7branfordpoint8

I have now forgotten the circumstances that brought me to Branford Point this past spring: all that I remember now is that I had to be out of the house an hour or so before I needed to leave for work. The amount of time seemed just right to explore this city of Branford park, on my way in to New Haven, and I am glad I did.

Branford Point park is small but packed with memorable features. From the boat launch, which is surrounded by water on 3 sides, to the beach, backed by a grassy, tree-lined hill, there is much beauty to absorb from this point. Parking was possible, but limited: I imagine in the summer high season that it becomes difficult for anybody that lives outside Branford to visit.

Though it may be small and packed, the challenge in this case would be worth the breeze from Long Island Sound, the sights of nearby Thimble Islands, and the peaceful vibes I found at Branford Point.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Mount Bridgeport

mount bridgeport palmisano park chicago arthur mullen 3rdarm spring 2016 raven beauty

Right down Archer Ave from the dojo is Henry C. Palmisano Park. Now covered in prairie nature, this was the former home of Chicago’s first limestone quarry.

mount bridgeport palmisano park chicago arthur mullen 3rdarm spring 2016 raven beauty

After almost a century of extraction, enough limestone had been carted off to create a nearly 400 foot hole in the ground: that’s what makes the park’s lake surrounded by steep limestone cliffs.

mount bridgeport palmisano park chicago arthur mullen 3rdarm spring 2016 raven beauty

At the turn of the millenium, designated a future park, what had become a landfill was buried under topsoil, creating a high point with spectacular views of the neighborhood that is now referred to as Mount Bridgeport.

Tagged , , ,

Chicago Cultural Center

michigan avenue chicago cultural center arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm sunset

My friend Pierce has been doing sound check at the summer dance series that runs every summer in Grant Park: I have been many times to dance in the park throughout the years but only visited the Chicago Cultural Center itself in the past month. The building is worth a visit alone, with its impressive architecture and inspirational art collection. I remember one piece that got me thinking, saying something about how there is no halfway when it comes to respect: you either respect another person, or you do not.

michigan avenue chicago cultural center arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm sunset

The reason for my first visit was to go with Raven Beauty to the exhibit, “Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen.” What an interesting conceptual piece to bring in to the center: good job to whoever curated this. Like the strandbeests themselves, walking the beaches by power of wind, I hope there are similar works making their way to the Chicago Cultural Center. And I hope everyone who visits knows the proximity to Shake Shack burgers and milkshakes!

Tagged , , ,

Palácio de Cristal

crystal palace palacio de cristal porto portugal 3rdarm fountain birds trees tile

It was about an hour before the sun set: feeding time. The birds were hungry. Starving swans stalked the lawns, beady eyes trained to the ground. Ducks flapped their wings, breaking the peaceful surface of pond water, and again dove down for their dinner. A fat white duck waddled up. “Chicken sandwich, chicken sandwich,” the portly duck seemed to squawk in his low quack.

crystal palace palacio de cristal porto portugal 3rdarm fountain birds trees tile The gardens of the Crystal Palace, like the João Chagas Garden, was designed in the 1860’s by German landscape architect Emile David. Overlooking the Douro River, these gardens are much bigger and filled with birds, ponds, artwork, and amazing trees. Chestnut, lime, Lawson’s cypress, European beech and pedunculate oak are just some of the monumental ancients living along the Crystal Palace’s many avenues and viewpoints.

crystal palace palacio de cristal porto portugal 3rdarm fountain birds trees tile

On a rainy late afternoon in January, it was just me and the birds. In the warmer months, I imagine these gardens would be a great place for a date. An escape within the city, together in nature, the plant life and vistas… it sounds romantic to me. And if you’re more in the mood for solo meditation, maybe bring a book and a chicken sandwich.

Tagged ,

João Chagas Garden

joao chagas cordoaria garden porto justice santo antonio hospital pink flower green house london plane fungal disease tree swollen trunks nata pastry coffee 3rdarm

Arriving in Porto in January, I was impressed by the presence of green leaves on the branches of deciduous trees, and upon closer examination, evidence of tropical plants. One morning I took my coffee and pastry and I went exploring some of the city’s public green spaces. Known to locals as Jardim a Cordoaria, historically a place where artisans made rope, João Chagas Garden is located between the architectural beauty of Santo Antonio Hospital (by British architect John Carr, features the statue of justice) and the iconic Clerigos church.

joao chagas cordoaria garden porto justice santo antonio hospital pink flower green house london plane fungal disease tree swollen trunks nata pastry coffee 3rdarm

João Chagas Garden was commissioned by the city in 1865, designed by German landscaper Emile David, who also developed the gardens at the Crystal Palace. The park was damaged by a cyclone in the early 1940’s, but is still home to some magnificent ancient trees that must have withstood that storm. Bunya pine and London plane are shoulder to shoulder with a giant sequoia that would be at home in the redwood forests of Washington state. Deformed, swollen trunks mark the London planes as survivors of traumatic sickness in their youths, decades ago.

joao chagas cordoaria garden porto justice santo antonio hospital pink flower green house london plane fungal disease tree swollen trunks nata pastry coffee 3rdarm

If plant life, pastries and coffee is not your thing, the João Chagas Garden’s vibrant artworks may still be your cup of tea. In 2001, when Porto was named the capital of European culture, Spanish sculptor Juan Muñoz installed the piece, “13 Laughing at Each Other.” This sculpture captures the uneasy essence of the paradox of a loud silence: the 13 figures frozen in the moment of uproar while the act of hilarity or ridicule remains forever obscured. A few years before he finished, “13 Laughing at Each Other,” Juan Muñoz said of his art:

joao chagas cordoaria garden porto justice santo antonio hospital pink flower green house london plane fungal disease tree swollen trunks nata pastry coffee 3rdarm

“I sometimes feel that some of my work is about waiting, waiting for something to happen; on the one hand afraid in case it does happen, or even wishing that it had never occurred. It is like keeping a work in that state that we would call desire- keeping it at that level of desire, just holding it there that wish, that uncertainty, keeping the work still just here. Or like watching a door which one day a person might open.”

João Chagas Garden is also good for people-watching.

Tagged , ,

Branford Trolley Trail

brandford trolley trail sunset low tide cocker spaniel arthur mullen shoreline greenway path 3rdarm guilford arthur mullen roxie

Roxie had sprained her leg, probably when she aggressively explodes out the sliding door on her leash to bark at phantoms in the backyard.

brandford trolley trail sunset low tide cocker spaniel arthur mullen shoreline greenway path 3rdarm guilford arthur mullen roxie

To help aid in her rehabilitation, I took Roxie on a a .8 mile walking trail converted from old trolley tracks.

brandford trolley trail sunset low tide cocker spaniel arthur mullen shoreline greenway path 3rdarm guilford arthur mullen roxie

We parked right near the historic village of Stony Creek in the parking lot on West Point Rd.

brandford trolley trail sunset low tide cocker spaniel arthur mullen shoreline greenway path 3rdarm guilford arthur mullen roxie

It is an awesome walk for a human and a dog to take together.

brandford trolley trail sunset low tide cocker spaniel arthur mullen shoreline greenway path 3rdarm guilford arthur mullen roxie

It was low tide near sunset and we got to really see the beauty of the Connecticut Shore.

brandford trolley trail sunset low tide cocker spaniel arthur mullen shoreline greenway path 3rdarm guilford arthur mullen roxie

My aunt’s cocker spaniel cautiously spied crabs scuttling about in the muddy estuaries.

brandford trolley trail sunset low tide cocker spaniel arthur mullen shoreline greenway path 3rdarm guilford arthur mullen roxie

A sandpiper was not so cautious: we were talking about his dinner!

brandford trolley trail sunset low tide cocker spaniel arthur mullen shoreline greenway path 3rdarm guilford arthur mullen roxie

The best part… in the future the Branford Trolley Trail will be one part of a 25 mile continuous walking path called the Shoreline Greenway Trail!

Tagged , , , ,

Torpy Park

3rdarm wisconsin northwoods travel wisconsin tourism chicago arthur mullen hiking eating restaurants attractions minocqua torpy park

Torpy Park is located on the “island” of downtown Minocqua, in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. This picturesque park was a perfect locale for watching the sunset on our early June trip up north.

3rdarm wisconsin northwoods travel wisconsin tourism chicago arthur mullen hiking eating restaurants attractions minocqua torpy park

The beach was deserted and while Etta stayed in the car, using the park’s free wi-fi to download the previous night’s episode of Game of Thrones, I climbed atop the lifeguard chair to take in the day’s last light.

3rdarm wisconsin northwoods travel wisconsin tourism chicago arthur mullen hiking eating restaurants attractions minocqua torpy park

There are some beautiful old trees here, and it would be a great place for a swim.

Tagged , , , ,

New Haven Green

new haven green judy blasko arthur mullen etta kostick 3rdarm snow winter

Under appreciated is what comes to mind when I see an average of just over three stars! New Haven residents may not realize how good they have it!

Not every city has an enchanting green space in the heart of downtown. In the warmer months, a bench on the New Haven green is best shared with fries and a milkshake from Shake Shack. There are Yale freshmen to watch in their awkward orientations.

new haven green judy blasko arthur mullen etta kostick 3rdarm snow winter

In the colder months there is a big glowing tree to brighten the days and nights of green-goers. Kids frolic in the snow. In all seasons the green affords a small dose of exercise- just the right amount- after a matineé or afternoon at the museum, before its time for dinner.

Count your blessings, New Haven! Your historic grand green is a beautiful thing.

Tagged , , , ,

Sunset Park

fish creek sunset park 3rdarm door county sunsets september late summer arthur Mullen

After a swim and a rest at the hotel in Ephraim, we headed to dinner in Fish Creek. Just West of Cottage Row on Main St in Fish Creek is one of the most beautiful places in all Wisconsin to take in the sunset.

fish creek sunset park 3rdarm door county sunsets september late summer arthur Mullen

A wooded path, or the street itself, lead down to water’s edge.

fish creek sunset park 3rdarm door county sunsets september late summer arthur Mullen

There is a small lawn, benches, and then an old stone wall: these are all good for sitting and must be claimed early.

fish creek sunset park 3rdarm door county sunsets september late summer arthur Mullen

In the summer this is a very popular activity, and with good reason.

fish creek sunset park 3rdarm door county sunsets september late summer arthur Mullen

The sun sinks directly into Green Bay, vanishing into open water while the sky explodes in color.

Tagged , , , ,