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Day 52 - Roger Williams Park & Botanical Center

I was up early this morning and to the smell of coffee. As expected, April awoke before me and started the coffee maker. We lounged around on the screen porch sipping coffee, eating buttered croissants, and immersing ourselves in the sounds of early morning in Southern New England.

Although I wanted to lounge around with April all morning, I pushed myself to make haste. Rhoda and I had a 4-days journey ahead of us, visiting regional gardens and parks in Rhode Island and the metro Boston area. So, with miles to go and a full day ahead, I dressed and headed out to re-stock Rhoda with supplies and get on the road.

My first stop on this leg of the tour was Roger Williams Park & Botanical Center in the heart of downtown Providence, Rhode Island. As I drove through the regal wrought iron gates, I found myself amazed by the splendor and serenity of this massive city park. The Park is by far the most stunningly beautiful public park I've ever seen.

I arrived around 12:30 pm. The weather could not have been any better - bright blue sky, brilliant sunshine, balmy warm temperature, with low humidity. So I prepared food for a picnic in Rhoda's tiny galley kitchen, grabbed a blanket, and relaxed under a shady tree by the lake. Then I started my tour.

Roger Williams Park, created in 1870 when 102 acres of farmland and woodlands were bequeathed to the City of Providence for public purposes, was designed by Horace Cleveland, a leader in the Urban Parks Movement.

Today, the Roger Williams Park contains a zoo, a museum of natural history, a planetarium, the Botanical Center, Japanese Gardens, Victorian Rose Garden, an expansive lake with boat rentals, and a carousel.

The Botanical Center opened in 2007, and at 12,000 square feet, is the most expansive public indoor display garden in New England. It includes two main greenhouses and the Mediterranean Room. The Conservatory has the feeling of a large courtyard surrounded by elegant tall palms.

After taking in the splendor of the Park, Rhoda and I headed out about 6:30. Next stop, Blithwold Garden.

If your travels bring you to Rhode Island, add a visit to Roger Williams Park to your itinerary

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