As the weather turns warm, an early morning or evening walk becomes a temptation. This urban route links two historic parks with a lovely, tree-lined boulevard.
Begin at the Rose Garden, a formal amphitheater built in the 1930s that includes seven acres of winding paths, and a pergola, pump house and cascade that are among the preferred sites for wedding, engagement and prom photographs. Even this early in the season, roses are blooming, but the show will be spectacular by midsummer. Much of the work is done by volunteers, the “Dedicated Dead Headers,” whose tie-dyed standard flies at the entrance to the garden.
Next, walk down Jean Street and cross Grand Avenue to Wildwood. This broad street is shaded by enormous sycamores and flanked by large, gracious homes in the New England style. You will pass a triangular mini-park where redwood trees create a secluded grove around a hidden bench and continue along Wildwood as it winds up a hill, following what used to be a streetcar route.
After climbing up a short hill and passing Wildwood Elementary School, you will see entrances to Piedmont Park on your left. A hundred years ago, the park was the site of a hotel and spa around a sulphur spring. Today, a football field has replaced what was a formal English maze and shady paths along Brushy Dell Creek allow dog owners to exercise their pets near the site of the hotel.
Getting there: The Morecom Rose Garden is at 700 Jean Street. The bus stops one block away on Grand Avenue and on-street parking is also available.
Cool stuff nearby: Grand Avenue offers numerous restaurants and retail opportunities. Camino, the nearest to your route, is an upscale foodie destination.