USA - Elizabeth Park
There are often days when the sky threatens rain and the day appears ominous. It is these times that I am weary of going on a long drive to one of the nature areas because I don't enjoy getting rained out. My rainy day alternative has become smaller parks that are nearby but can still provide a sense of serenity to block out the concrete jungle I reside in.
Elizabeth Park is just the type of place I would go to on this kind of day. At it's heart it is a rose conservatory for some of the oldest rose gardens in the United States. The park consists of about 100 acres with various gardens and walking paths. They have occasional events at the garden that are often free to attend.
All through out the park are benches to sit and enjoy the views, especially in the gardens. There is one garden that you'll often find people doing yoga or tai-chi in. It's quite lovely. Another popular spot is the rose gazebo, it often has weddings and photo shoots while in full bloom. I enjoy the way it looks before blooming though. The vines make it a bit more rough and provide more texture for photos. I don't always enjoy frilly beauty.
There are several rows of arches on all sides leading up to the gazebo and they are perfect for photo opportunities or just to stroll through. Around the outside of the gazebo are many benches, and when in full bloom you almost can't see the parking lot. It can really help me feel connected to nature if I don't actually see the cars and pavement.
The tulip gardens are getting ready to bloom around this time of year as well, they are fenced off to protect them while they grow but you can admire them all along the walk way towards the perennial gardens.
There is also a Pond House Cafe within the park. It has delicious local organic food. The price tag is pretty high for reserved dinner, but it is a special treat to enjoy. I haven't tried brunch but have heard it's more reasonably priced. There are restrooms inside this building for the general park visitors also.
Another note-worthy part of this park are the greenhouses. There are sometimes events held and bulbs/flowers sold within. I didn't grab a photo of it, but across from the rose gazebo, in the middle section of the main parking area is an events stage. There's yoga held here sometimes and concerts occasionally. Overall this is a decent green space with some worth while events to seek out.
Things to note:
-Bathrooms during Pond House Cafe business hours (Tues-Sat 11AM-8PM, Sun 9:30AM-2:30PM)
-Abundant trash receptacles throughout the park
-Plenty of bench seating in various areas
-Dogs welcome, must stay leashed and clean up after
-Events (including free concerts during the summer)