To celebrate Independence Day, we went a-grilling at Ethan Allen Park in Burlington. I’d never taken advantage of a city park for a grilling expedition, so that was a check-off for my list. I think the public grills at most of Burlington’s park have seen better days, though. There are three grills left in the front area of Ethan Allen and one picnic table. I could swear I remember more from days gone by.
We squeezed in some casual badminton before firing up the charcoal. Well, I was casual. I think the others played a serious game, as Alex dug out a rule booklet afterward to consult. Nicole and Kerry discovered what was probably a merlin falcon making a racket up in the trees. Eventually it settled down on one branch, giving everyone a chance to peep through Kerry’s field glasses. It was unnervingly still once it settled, actually, but I guess that’s the behavior of an eagle-eyed predator.
The sun was exceptionally warm, but thanks to the shade of tall pines and a cool breeze, it never got to stifling. It contributed to a certain amount of after-lunch lethargy for sure. Eventually we got the oomph together to go for a leisurely stroll, sticking to the paved path that winds around the tower and up to the pinnacle lookout at the north end of the park.
Ethan Allen Park was a second home for me in my much younger days, when I was mostly concerned about which park had the best playground — still Mater Christi’s, which is a schoolyard and not a playground, but still. Revisiting as an adult was the mix of fondness and unhappiness over change. There are three grills and one picnic table left in the front area of the park. I have memories of more dotted around, but I could well be conflating Ethan Allen with Leddy Park, which had oodles of picnicking spots in the 80s.
Everything changes, I guess. People probably grill more at home than they do at parks, if they ever did; although the state parks do enjoy the appearance that people fill the park up for holiday events — especially the Sandbar; have you ever seen the picnic tables all lined up at the end of the season? There are more than a few.