Friday, July 18, 2008

A Source of Inspiration

When was the last time you allowed your imagination to take you to another place? Parks often offer unexpected flashs of inspiration into the world of playful creativity - a place our children rarely seem to visit these days. Such a "flash" overtook me recently when viewing the above photograph snapped at the Mapleton Preserve in Kingston. It occurred to me that any wanderer along the path might come to this spot and assume they'd stumbled upon a portal into some mystical world filled with inhabitants only found in an epic, long-ago story. Or, another might wonder if by stepping past the weeping branches a different time and place would reveal itself.

Parks are special places that not only offer visitors places to boat, hike, camp or bike but also can simply provide a place to close out the noise of our stress-filled days and allow our thoughts to wander to another place. For some they offer quiet niches for mediation and contemplation. While others find locations where, alone with their thoughts and the majesty of nature, works of writing, music, art or even glimmers of ideas to change our world for the better are inspired!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Camping Season

Thank goodness funding was restored to the NJ State Park system, as it has been one of the busiest D&R camping seasons yet! Bulls Island has been entirely booked almost every weekend this summer as families look for recreation and vacation opportunities closer to home. Rest assured that weekday spots are still available. Camping at "The Island" offers patrons a number of natural, historic, and recreational activities, including boating, fishing, picnicing and hiking along the canal. Details about park related events at Bulls Island can be viewed on the website ( or can be obtained by calling the Bulls Island Park Office. Reservations, too, can be made by calling the office (609.397.2949). Please keep in mind that camping reservations can be arranged for no more than 14 consecutive nights, but must be made for a minimum of 2 nights.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Different Type of Canal

The Danube River and Canal (in Vienna) has been, and continues to be, a major navigation route in Europe. The word "canal" is slightly misleading here, as the flume is actually rapidly flowing, deep, and full of water. It is commonly known to the Viennese as the "Viennese arm." Urban development in the 19th century imposed regulation of the river arm and a new bed was built with rock side slopes and high quay walls. In the 20th century, tracks for the city train and modern traffic routes were laid alongside the canal banks. The canal now acts as a popular relaxation spot for local Viennese, especially in the summertime.