I was lucky last week, because other kids from our town had to go out there, and the car pool was a huge help.
I am lucky every day, because my husband has been covering the morning trip.
I was lucky today, because my friend Amy suggested that she ride out with us on her day off to check out a distant county park while he was in school. I am also lucky that I have such a enterprising friend.
So that's what we did, with Terzo in tow. (Terzo has had a very exciting week being towed places. On Monday, he accompanied Primo on a junkyard quest to find a replacement headlight. He hasn't stopped talking about it since.)
The county park, Deep Cut Gardens, is organized with the home gardener in mind. It is 50+ acres of beauty and loveliness, which serves as the headquarters of the Monmouth County Master Gardeners program, and includes an extensive gardening library in the former residence on the grounds.
If you go: the display garden (to the right off the parking lot) has a clever gnome hunt for kids. It kept Terzo well occupied while Amy and I checked out the plantings, though we were eventually recruited into helping him out with the gnome hunt.
We weren't the only ones enjoying it. The bees and butterflies were everywhere.
Every corner has another bit of beauty, including a rockery, waterfall, koi pond, natural pond, and greenhouse with kid-pleasing cacti and succulents.
We finished a bit earlier than we expected and had a little time to kill before we had to pick up Secondo, so we headed to nearby Longstreet Farm, a working historical farm, also a county park. May as well get our taxes worth.
Their pig was worth the trip. We were afraid that a picture of the pig alone wouldn't do his massiveness justice, so we included a kid for scale. I am extremely glad (and lucky) to report that the boys' pigs are nowhere near that size. If you go: the park has a very nice shaded pavilion, the perfect place for a picnic lunch, across the parking lot from the farm. Morris Arboretum is behind the pond, but unfortunately the arboretum needs some TLC and was a disappointment after the manicured beauty of Deep Cut.