… the Christmas party at Heritage Park that is.
Long-time followers of my blog know that Heritage Park is one of my favorite places to visit all year around.
There is an asphalt track which encircles a large area of picnic tables, pavilions and soccer and baseball fields, where you can easily rack up about 2,000+ steps each time you walk that 1.2-mile track, or you can even take a brief detour into a forested area.
But my favorite part of Heritage Park is the historical village where you can walk amongst vintage buildings and enjoy the ambiance of the covered bridge over Coan Lake with its many Mallards that gather beneath that bridge.
As a special 2020 holiday treat, Heritage Park hosted an event called “Winterfest” that included a spectacular animated light show called “The Blizzard of Oz”.
In order to set up, display and subsequently take down the event, the historical area, Botanical Gardens and Petting Farm were fenced off and closed to the public (except for the nightly shows) for a total of two months.
Well that was a bummer, even though, admittedly, when I visit this venue, I usually take the same ol’ photos of the Mallards, Little Red Schoolhouse, water-powered Mill, old-time log house and other historical buildings nestled within the small village area.
So when Heritage Park’s Photo of the Day Facebook site announced the park was once again totally open, I hustled up there the first chance I got. That would be January 23rd, a very frosty morn. It was only 17F (-8C) when I left the house. I’d already spent about 90 minutes at Council Point Park tendering treats to the squirrels and birds and taking photos for my Valentine’s Day blog post before I headed here. Surely the six-mile ride to Heritage Park would give my frozen fingers time enough to thaw out.
In the Winter, I always hope to get some photos of the Mallards huddling against one another on frozen Coan Lake. Surprisingly, despite the frigid temps, the water only froze on one side of the lake. On previous Winter jaunts, I have seen Seagulls, Canada Geese, Cormorants and Herons dive bombing, then plunging through the ice, thus creating a private swimming hole, where they will preen or catch a fish, while the Mallards usually just huddle together on the ice or hang out near the shoreline.
The Mallards didn’t disappoint though. There had to be at least 40-50 of them paddling about in Coan Lake.
The ducks were quacking and splashing, so I don’t know if those verbal utterances were a sign of approval or disapproval with the weather. I know they are well equipped to handle the wintry weather, but I felt sorry for them anyway. I had brought along some sunflower seeds and broken-up WASA crackers and quickly scattered them on the shoreline, but neither the seeds nor crackers appealed to them, so hopefully Coan Lake had been stocked with enough fish to feed the masses. Fishing by humans is catch-and-release only.
An equal number of my fine-feathered friends were lazing along the shoreline.
There was a faint sun out and a few were snoozing, always with the “lookout duck” present. Though those rays of sun, that were bouncing off the water and ice were welcome to see, they didn’t provide much warmth and I was glad for my multiple layers under my squall jacket. Soon, despite a double layer of gloves, my fingers were cold, but I wanted to take photos, so I just lived with it.
Last Winter I visited the Gardens on Valentine’s Day.
I enjoyed my 2020 Valentine’s Day meander at the Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The post I did afterward reflected the beauty of the Winter’s day, a breath of fresh air for the Winter-weary. With the color red being the theme of Valentine’s Day, I took images of the bright-red schoolhouse and Fitz’s Caboose and Boxcar against the snow along with the “(he)artwork” that is prominently displayed on the grounds of the Gardens. Francesca’s Heart is a permanent display; these photos were taken this year.
The Botanical Gardens loses some of its charm when the landscape is blah and the flowers are not blooming out front or in pots under the dome and grounds.
A little bit of Christmas leftovers sure did bring a smile to my face. Because the “Blizzard of Oz” event had just closed, there were still traces of Christmas around, so, I got to see the Gardens decorated for that holiday. Here is some of the décor, including the header image.
I strolled around the grounds, stopping to take pictures of those vintage items mentioned above. One day I will see the listing tree below on the ground next to the Little Red Schoolhouse.
There were a few walkers getting in their daily steps and one person walking their dog. It was a quiet morning, just how I like it. By the time I got back to the car, I’d been outside for five hours altogether and the temperature was still only 22F (-5C). Talk about a couple of brrrisk walks!