Well, I usually talk about trails, and usually I talk about trails that are in parks that would be interesting for people from out-of-state to visit. However, today I’d like to talk about a park that may only have local appeal, and isn’t exactly a “trail”. For years we’ve passed signs for the Kent Park Arboretum in Webster, NY, but we’ve never stopped to see what it was. However, last weekend we needed someplace to take visiting family to, and decided to give the Arboretum a try.
We weren’t disappointed. Although the park is only about 10 years old, the park personnel have done a terrific job at landscaping, planting, and generally turning it into a charming little gem for families, photographers, dog-walkers, and nature-lovers alike. An added bonus is that it is fairly wheelchair and stroller accessible, although at times you may need to push the wheelchair or stroller across the grass.
It’s hard to give good directions to the park, but suffice to say that it’s well within driving distance from Rochester, on the eastern side. If you’re coming from Rt. 104, turn north onto Salt Road and drive about 1 ½ miles to Schlegel Road. Turn right (east) on Schlegel, and follow the signs to the park. If you’re driving in from Lake Road, drive 2 miles south on Salt Road to Schlegel Road (there are signs to direct you). Turn left onto Schlegel, and follow the signs to the park. Salt Road is located between Phillips Road and Basket Road. All three (Salt, Phillips, and Basket) T into Lake Road, and cross Rt. 104.
The arboretum is the first parking lot that you will come to. At the moment (6/10), renovations are being done on the building, so that’s closed, and there is some mess from this, but it really doesn’t detract much from the beauty of the arboretum itself. The first garden that you enter is the herb garden. There are traditional herb beds, dye herb beds, and even an Indian herb bed. One of my favorite features of this garden are the two trellises with climbing roses (one red, one pink) on them. They are lovely, and great for taking pictures of.
To the left of the herb garden (beyond the red-rose trellis) is the maze. This is fun for old and young alike, as they try to find their way to the center of carefully planted evergreen bushes and back out again. This section is not wheelchair accessible, unless you push it across the grass to the maze. To the right of the herb garden is the gazebo. When we were there, there was no way to get the wheelchair to the gazebo except to push it across the grass. However, from here on out there were very nice hard-gravel paths to most of the other gardens. Next to the gazebo is a path that takes visitors through the evergreen/spruce garden. There are large rocks here (some of the children had a great time climbing on these) as well as many different varieties of pine and spruce trees. There are markers indicating the names of the different trees.
From the end of the evergreen/spruce garden, take the path that leads to the bridge. The setting here is quiet and lovely: a pond with a small waterfall, surrounded by trees, reeds, and carefully mowed lawns. On the other side of the bridge, I highly recommend turning right about half-way around the pond to see the daylily garden (not wheelchair accessible). It wasn’t blooming this time of year, but it is still pretty, and would be very nice when the day lilies were in bloom. Keeping on the path that goes around the pond, you will eventually come to the rose garden. This is also a beautiful garden with many different kinds of roses (including wild rose bushes that give us the shivers—our former neighbor planed some, and they’ve spread wildly, giving our current neighbors a time of it, trying to get rid of them). This is another great picture-taking spot. I got some terrific pictures of individual roses. One note on taking pictures of flowers at close range is that you may want to use the macro setting on your camera (usually depicted as a flower). Your users manual can explain how do get your camera on macro.
You can finish going around the pond, or go back to the bridge. From the bridge, if you turn left you will come to a covered bridge, and a garden with some other trees in it (which I didn’t explore). The covered bridge will take you across the stream to a path which will take you out of the arboretum and to Kent Park, where there are playing fields, a picnic shelter, restrooms (across the parking lot from the picnic shelter), and a really nice playground. The children in our group had a great time playing on it, and we plan to come back soon. We were told that there are at least a mile of hiking trails in the back of the park, but we have not explored these yet. We’ll explore those soon.
There were two things that really stood out to me about the arboretum: 1) there was an incredible lack of vandalism. Everything was in very good shape, and just plain lovely to look at. 2), it was very family-friendly. I’m sure they don’t want anyone messing up their flowers, but the volunteers who were in the herb harden didn’t seem to get too excited when we accidently stepped in one of the beds, and even offered that we could take some chives home with us. It was so wonderful to be in a place where they didn’t go crazy over several young children walking through their garden.
If you like to hike, you can read about the park’s trail system at http://www.annestravels.net/kent-park-trails/
Round Trip Trail Length: As long as you want to make it; I’m guessing we walked less than a mile
Facilities: Restrooms near the playground and playing fields
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
Wednesday Wed Jan 24 20%
Cloudy. Gusty winds this morning. A few flurries or snow showers possible. High 24F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph.
Thursday Thu Jan 25 0%
Sunshine along with some cloudy intervals. High 24F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
Friday Fri Jan 26 0%
Sunshine and some clouds. High 46F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday Sat Jan 27 20%
Cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 46F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph.
Sunday Sun Jan 28 60%
Light rain...mixing with snow in the afternoon. High near 40F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precip 60%. Snow accumulations less than one inch.