Sunday, July 01, 2007

Duke Gardens

Saturday was uneventful - shopping, shopping, house chores, some more shopping. The bright spot was going to the Farmers' Market and to the Quail Ridge bookstore. Today we decided to get outside and explore. And so we went to Durham to see Duke Gardens.

It is a very beautiful place (not Durham, which is mostly a dump). The university campus looks very dignified, stately, expensive. I suspect that all the buildings there are actually pretty new. Or maybe the new buildings are carefully matched to the old architecture. Either way, it is very impressive. But back to the gardens. They are very large, with plenty of twisting paths and walkways running in all directions. We actually got a bit lost there after a while. Parking is free on Sundays and there are a lot of children, dogs, and adults that looks prosperous, well-educated, and happy. But the gardens are big enough and have enough benches, lawns, and secret little benches here and there that even with all the picnicking-running-playing-picture-snapping-sunning activity there is a sense of privacy, if not detachment.

We strolled through the rose garden, under the gazebo at the entrance to the terrace garden, up and down the terrace garden itself, around its beautiful water-lilly covered pond. Then we walked around the big lawn and found a nice wooden bench in the shade of a still-blooming magnolia tree. There we sat quietly, people watching while listening to the music and bells from the Duke Cathedral. Then we walked slowly out of the gardens and to the cathedral itself. Returning to the gardens, we got a bit lost. Some of the smaller paths, the most intriguing-looking ones, we could not take - they are not stroller-friendly. But we passed by many such detours, past a small pond and a creek, and into the Asian Collection. Finally we walked through a small wooden gate and found ourselves back in the Rose Garden. It was unexpected - passing by a Japanese stone lantern hidden in a grove of bamboo, past a pagoda-like wooden pavilion, and emerging almost in the center of a fragrant rose circle. It was a bit like Alice-in-Wonderland.

The rest of the day was a lot less exciting - just cooking, cleaning, laundry, diapers, getting last-minute groceries, a couple of new toys for Mark, looking for a high-chair... And tomorrow is Monday again - back to work. What a shame, really!!! Where's my winning lottery ticket?!