returning to work after a 6-week leave has left me feeling a little listless, missing the freedom to roam around our new city and its surrounds. so today i took a break from it all and wandered over to hauck botanic gardens, more casually — and charmingly, now that it’s no longer true — called “sooty acres.” i have only been at my job for five months, but i can’t believe it took me this long to find this fab little spot, which promises to be my new favorite lunching pad.
according to sarah knott, “the land is named after Cornelius J. Hauck, former Cincinnati Park Board president, who nurtured the fauna and lived on the acres. When he died in 1957, Hauck donated the park to the Cincinnati Park Board with a lifetime estate provision. His wife lived there until 1985, and now their house services as Cincinnati Horticultural Society headquarters.” wandering around the gardens i tried not to ogle the house, but i couldn’t help but imagine how much more perfect life would be if i went to work every day in a such a house in such a garden.
the park sits snugly in the northeast corner of the intersection at reading and taft, across the way from the vernon manor and adjacent to the civic garden center. it’s not an especially attractive part of town, especially if you have to walk past the used-tire shop next to the amoco and across from the white castle. but it’s worth it. within the wrought-iron gates the sounds of I-71 drift away, taking with them the smell of diesel and the ready-to-erupt road rage of commuters. the park itself is a sweet winding mass of stony paths, grassy patches, shade trees and sitting-spots. even in late fall it boasts summer blooms (phlox! phlox on october 30!) and butterflies. and while fall textures and colors have a pleasure all their own, i’ll confess i’m looking forward to seeing the garden in springtime blush and full-blooming in 2008.