Because January was so hard on this family, we decided to go do something refreshing and happy to ring in February. Today was so beautiful that the only option was to spend time outdoors. We got in the car and started toward Bellevue State Park, then Big Daddy had the brilliant idea to go to Valley Garden Park. I hesitate to even share this park with you because, well, it's gorgeous and not well known, and I kinda like to think that it belongs only to us. But the cool, crisp air is still in my lungs and I'm feeling magnanimous.
Valley Garden Park, located among the sprawling homes of the "chateau country" of Northern Delaware, off Rte. 52 near Winterthur, was donated by the duPont family (of course), and unless you see it for yourself, you would not believe that such a beautiful place exists in Wilmington: rolling hills, old gnarly trees, a stream with a number of trickling waterfalls, benches surrounded by lush gardens where one can just sit and wile away the hours. I can imagine gnomes and fairies living very happily here. And, as you can imagine, it's a photographer's dream. In fact, we discovered the park when we had our family portraits done there a few years ago, at the photographer's suggestion. I treasure the photos we got from that day, as well as the memories of the day itself.
We didn't think we'd be able to remember the way back this morning, but we made it eventually, after winding our way through the back roads of North Wilmington for about a half-hour. (I wrote down the directions and tucked them into the glove box; if you're very nice to me, I just might share them with you.) Today we hiked up and down snowy hills, tromping our footprints into the crunchy snow; we threw sticks into the little stream and watched them float down the waterfalls and into ice jambs; we played tag up and down the paved trail.
Another magical day that reminded me not only how much I love my boys, but how I'd rather spend time with them than with anyone. We vowed to come back in the spring and summer, to picnic by the stream, to hike up the unpaved trails. More days in Valley Garden Park will take place during the Year of Regaining Health, and I can't wait.