Friday in the Park

The pandemic took away many things, but one thing it has given me is a fondness for parks. Leafy, green, and usually free, they are great places to meet people for a leisurely afternoon. You can stay as long as you want to—no pointed looks from servers indicating that it’s time to leave. If you bring a picnic lunch, the cost is no more than it would be if you had lunch at home. If you feel like splurging, there’s takeout.

Before the pandemic, we seldom met people in parks. Now it is one of our favorite things to do, and I expect we’ll be doing it long after the pandemic ends.

Last Friday, we got together with our daughter Shannon and our son-in-law, Mike at Rotary Park, a small but pretty park in Kennebunk, Maine. (U.S. readers might recall that the Bushes have a summer home in nearby Kennebunkport.) Kennebunk is almost exactly halfway between where we live in Winthrop and where Shannon and Mike live in Massachusetts.

And here’s another great thing about most parks—dogs are allowed if they are on a leash. So it was with Rotary Park. Shannon and Mike could bring their dogs, Holly and Somara, and not have to worry about getting back home to let them out. Plus, it’s nice having “the girls” join us.

Holly on the left and Somara on the right.

 

The day was sunny and warm, and we settled on the grass in a shady spot near the rushing Moussam River.

But there is also a gazebo with picnic tables where folks can have their lunch.

Because the park is in the center of town, there are plenty of places nearby to grab a bite to eat. For a belated birthday lunch, Dee, Shannon, and Mike chipped in to buy us takeout from Kennebunk Rice and Noodles. Both Clif and I ordered the drunken noodles, which were utterly delicious. Clif likes hot food. By the time he was done, his face was red, and he was sweating. Me, not so much. A gentle little zing suits me just fine. Luckily, we were able to choose how hot we wanted our noodles to be.

Yes, I ate the whole thing. I could have some right now.

 

Dee and Mike are pizza hounds, and right across from the noodle shop was Kennebunk House of Pizza. Nice to have different choices for different tastes.

After the food was finished and Holly had slyly slurped some of Clif’s coffee and both dogs were given pizza crust ends, we settled down for a long afternoon chat. There were presents and chocolate cupcakes. We talked about what was going on in our lives and what we were watching. We took a stab at solving the world’s problems, with predictable results.

Late afternoon, as we were getting ready to leave, we all agreed that Rotary Park was a great place to meet in the spring and the fall. (Too cold in the winter, too crowded in the summer.)

We will be back. Until then, I’ll be dreaming about those drunken noodles.

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Speaking of watching (and listening!)…this lovely song—“This Wandering Day”— is from the television series The Rings of Power, a prequel to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I have been a huge Tolkien fan since I was eleven, but it seems to me that you don’t have to be a Tolkien fan to appreciate the beauty and sadness of this song.

78 thoughts on “Friday in the Park”

  1. What a beautiful day and place for such a lovely get-together with Shannon and Mike and their sweet dogs Laurie and the food looks yummy too! 🧑

  2. What a great idea! Being outside in nature means no masking is necessary. You can have your cake and eat it, too! Glad you all found it enjoyable, Laurie (doggos, as well).

  3. Looks like an excellent park and a pretty town. A perfect spot for a get-together. And I have to add that I wouldn’t mind a big portion of those noodles right now. Have a good week!

  4. The pandemic has certainly made take-out easier. Neighboring Worcester, MA is a foodie center, so I have bunches of dining choices. Glad you enjoyed your day. Another thing that the pandemic proved is that “simple pleasures are the best” . ‘-)

  5. By coincidence, I met a friend at a park this morning. We’ve been meeting there since the start of the pandemic. I’m glad you have a nice place to visit with friends during the hospitable times of the year. Your photos are lovely, Laurie.

  6. Yes, parks are a valuable asset, and their provision is a sign of a civilised society. I’m very fond of dogs, and parks are great places for me to make new canine friends 🐢. The drunken noodles sound great.

  7. Those noodles look delicious – yum! What a treat! And what a lovely park you’ve found. I love that you all were able to meet in the middle and spend some time together!

  8. It sounds like you had a perfect visit. We’re with you with regard to meeting in parks. It is a great way to enjoy your company, nature, and not be hurried. Hope the coming year is a good one for all members of your family.

  9. That sounds a lovely trip Laurie. It is such a treat to spend time with family (and dogs) and a park is the perfect place to do it safely , simply and cheaply. Let’s hope the weather allows us to be outside as long as possible into the winter.

    1. “Safely, simply, and cheaply.” Three of my favorite words. πŸ˜‰ Parks have so much going for them. Yesterday, we met friends at a nearby park and had a wonderful afternoon. Fingers crossed that the weather allows us to meet in November, which can be a very chilly month in Maine.

  10. I love your account of picnicking in a beautiful park with family. I agree: the pandemic instilled in us a far greater appreciation for outdoor dining. Our local brewery now has 12 permanent tented/lit tables in front — and no one misses the 4 parking spaces they consume. We will have to use our parks more too!

  11. Looks like you had a good time there. This Summer was hot so walking in woods and parks was lovely. I guess the dogs loved it too.

  12. Lovely post and I completely agree, Covid has helped us appreciate parks and meeting outdoors. Our older daughter and her family live in the inner city of Melbourne .. but are lucky enough to live within walking distance of three parks! I think the planning of this happened many years ago but I wish could thank them now. Your photos show such a beautiful park… wish I could visit! πŸ’•

  13. By the time I finished reading your description of the park, and of your day there, I was smiling as I remembered my favorite version of a great song about a day in a park. The fellow who did the animation is one of my favorites; I’m glad you had such a wonderful day, and I’m glad you reminded me of the song!

  14. What a wonderful day and takeout menu for everyone!!πŸ™‚ My appreciation of parks has greatly increased over the last few years and what a beautiful one for your family outings.πŸ™‚

  15. I, too, have grown to love parks even more. And like you, this is where much of my socialising takes place: beautiful scenery, fresh air, what’s not to love? Throw in drunken noodles & pizza, you have a party!

    1. How are you enjoying Rings of Power? I watched the 1st episode and then took a break to wait for the rest of the episodes to be released (so I can binge and watch the rest continuously).

      1. I have watched all the episodes and enjoyed it a lot. Sometimes the dialogue was a little stiff, but I liked the various plots, and the acting was very good.

  16. Thanks for taking us along into this park, full of the beauties of the season, and some scrumptious-sounding and looking food. I wish I could have some of those drunken noodles right now, too!

  17. I have a wonderful Tolkienesque song playing in the background as I write this comment. I’m also watching The Rings of Power. Thanks for sharing your beautiful day at the park, Laurie. I’m glad you’re taking advantage of the lovely weather. πŸ˜€

  18. That song was wonderful I love how it grew and then receded. And YES! Here’s to a real and enduring appreciation for parks and other outside venues. We’re a big fan of campfires these past years.

  19. I was saying the same thing about our local Victorian park/wood to my sister as we set about a mushroom hunt. Dad (who was a naturalist and unfortunately died when we are in our early 20s) would have been so pleased.

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