visit. railroad park.

I have mixed feelings about this post, and in all honesty, I have been putting it off for completely selfish reasons. I just want to keep this secret to myself; it’s so good. But I promised more details, so here you go.

In college, on the days that the weather made the thought of spending another moment in a classroom unbearable, students would beg for class outside. Sometimes we called such beautiful and ideal days “Ben Brown Plaza Days” or “Quad Days”, and especially for the weeks of transition between Summer and Fall (in October) and winter and spring (in April) the quad was dappled with students attempting to study, throwing a Frisbee, or napping in a hammock.  I am confident that this experience is not exactly specific to my college experience or campus.

Last month, Railroad Park opened and quickly became my new quad. It’s new, beautiful, and relatively quiet.  The sounds of the trains are pleasant here and somehow make me feel safe and at home though I have never lived near tracks in my life. Add to the new park two weeks of glorious Birmingham weather – the kind that beckons brightly through the windows.  It is a winning combination.

From my office I can be at the park along 1st Avenue South and settled in to a shady spot in 10 minutes, giving me time to read, write, or just soak in a little vitamin D during my lunch hour. Based on my people watching others have found their favorite ways to use this green space too.  The diverse visitors don everything from walking shoes to backpacks, iPods to strollers. I have seen families, retirees, colleagues, and students, play dates, dog walking, Frisbee-throwing, cycling, office parties, and today, a high school class meeting. So far, it is a very happy place.

TO DO TIPS:
Take a blanket. There are benches and tables around the perimeter, but don’t miss out on the great green grassy area in between.
Take a leash. Pets have to be under control of the owner.
Take a lunch. Who doesn’t like a picnic? I haven’t purchased one on site yet, but it is an option at the Dining Car. If you do, let me know how it is.
Take care with your conversation. I’ve noticed that sound carries pretty well at the park. It may not be the place to share your deepest secrets, but it is conducive to friendly greetings.
Take your computer. It’s true; the park has free Wi-Fi. In fact, I’m blogging from a little corner of the park right now!

Get more information about the park, such as its sustainability, management, and events, on the website. Then visit in person. The secret is out!

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