Neighborhood Woodlands: The Magic Of Nooks And Crannies

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In the beautiful Northwest we have woodlands everywhere!

Taking a hike in the forest is the easiest thing you can do if you want to feel refreshed, uplifted and rejuvenated. We have Mountain, Lake and River trails. We have City Parks everywhere loaded with woods. We have groomed Classic Gardens beyond compare. Best of all we have a lot of woods tucked into Nooks and Crannies in almost every neighborhood.

Nooks and Crannies. Those are the ones we like the best. Why? you ask.

  1. We have a 2.5 year old in our family and going to the mountain or planning an afternoon hike anywhere can be a recipe for disaster.
  2. Our family is busy, busy, busy…moving, moving, moving. Carving out big chunks of time is a difficult task.
  3. Nooks and Crannies offer spur of the moment options and require short amounts of time for a memorable experience.
  4. A lot of them are right in our neighborhood (and yours, too).

We’re lucky enough to have the Terwilliger Boulevard Parkway Path literally 120 steps away from our front yard. This parkway was designed by the famous Olmsted Brothers. They also designed the landscape for Central Park in New York, The Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, the Niagra Falls State Reservation, the U.S Capital grounds in Washington DC and over 6000 other historically significant projects. This is a long path and we can hike all the way into Portland if we desire (this is part of a 43 mile parkland loop) but we can also walk just a few yards and find a dirt path branching off the blacktop, winding down into the woods. In a few steps we’re surrounded by towering trees and caressed by woodland ferns. Our little ones can spot a fleeting bird, butterfly and discover the joy of rubbing a mossy tree. If their attention span is especially short that day, we can climb up the short hill and be back home in 10 minutes.

In the beautiful Northwest we have woodlands everywhere! Taking a hike in the forest is the easiest thing you can do if you want to feel refreshed...

We found another N & C one half block from our house. There’s a little dirt path that runs between two of our neighbors properties connecting our street to Terwilliger Boulevard. It’s one block long. On our left is a beautiful garden that’s the size of a city lot. There’s a little fence that tells us we need permission to go in but we can stand for a little rest and admire the giant bean stalk, the bee hive, the long row of heirloom tomatoes, giant kale, multitudes of other greens and squash with their huge prickly leaves bowing in the sun. On our right is a patch of grass with a monstrous blackberry bush flowing onto the path. Here’s where we stop for a handful of treats. We come back later with a bucket and pick enough to make a little tart for our afternoon snack.

Five blocks down the road we find a well-established Community Garden (there are many here in Portland). Neighbors have been gardening here for years and we stroll leisurely from plot to plot enjoying the unique personality of each. Right next to the gardens is a community park with a little playground and well used basketball court.

All this, right here in our neck of the woods and the bonus is that it’s all FREE. We feel blessed living in this neighborhood and I know if you get out and explore your own little microcosm you will find some memorable Nooks and Crannies too.

After you’ve discovered your own Gems and you have a few hours to be impressed, please visit these magical places. You will be happy you did.

The Japanese Gardens in Washington Park, The Chinese Gardens in Old Town Portland, Bishop’s Close Gardens (a little known gem), Tyron Creek State Park and the long version of the Terwilliger Boulevard Parkway Path. We recommend stopping at The Chart House halfway along the path. This is one of the best views you can find of Portland in a woodsy setting and they have a great Happy Hour (adults only). All of these are right here in the city! We challenge you to find your Magical Nook (or Cranny).

About the Author
Beverly Edwards

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For 40 years, Beverly has worked in the fine-dining restaurant industry. From Chicago to Salt Lake City to Portland, she has contributed to the success of each city’s most highly acclaimed restaurants. As a result, her knowledge of wine and food is vast, both of which she is passionate about. She currently co-manages one of Portland, Oregon’s most historic and prestigious restaurants. Her position allows her to mingle with some of today’s most exciting winemakers and chefs.

When she isn’t chatting with a wine rep or putting together a food and wine pairing menu, you’ll find Beverly working hard in her beautiful vegetable garden, baking fresh goods and spending time with her three grandsons.

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