Growing up, I spent a ton of time outdoors. From the beach to the parks to my own back yard - I was part of the "outside" generation for sure. When I was given the opportunity to team up with MomDot Media and The Trust for Public Land to help spread the word about the new #OurLand campaign which is helping to protect public land like the places I grew up, I knew Bayview Park was the perfect place to go to talk about how important parks are to me. Bayview was such a huge part of my childhood - from watching my parents play tennis on the courts to learning how to drive in the parking lot, to sharing a first kiss down on the little pier. But I realize now how lucky I was to have a huge park like Bayview to make all of those amazing memories. In many cities, one in three residents lacks access to a park or natural area, and with America's open spaces disappearing at a rate of 6,000 acres a day, we're at risk of losing our most cherished outdoor escapes.
The Trust for Public Land (https://www.tpl.org/) is an organization whose mission it is to create and protect parks and other natural places, right in your own backyard. "The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. We protect the places people care about and create close-to-home parks—particularly in and near cities, where 80% of Americans live." You can do your part to support public land by submitting your own virtual postcard on the TPL website, telling why the outdoors are important to you. Just upload a picture or video of your favorite outdoor space on their website and share what makes that place special.
It is hard to narrow down just one reason why Bayview Park is so special to me. It has long been the meeting place for me and so many of my friends and loved ones, and carries both happy memories and bittersweet memories from growing up. Just driving down there made me think of my friend Jason who passed away just a few years ago way too soon. Jason and I spent countless afternoons there just talking and overlooking the bayou. I can not even look out over the water without thinking of him and missing him like crazy.
Bayview was a place for first dates - and a place for break ups. It was a place to stop for pictures on the way to Prom, or a place to end the night when you just weren't quite ready to go home. Bayview is where we always went to watch the fireworks on both New Years and Fourth of July, and a place to go to just sit and clear your head. It was a place for great festivals and a place for memorials. A place to play and a place to worship. Whether you spent the entire day or just an hour, Bayview Park was a little piece of paradise.
Bayview Park was packed with people enjoying this beautiful day with us. Even though it was overcast, the temperatures were in the 70s with a light breeze coming off the water. Every where you looked you saw families enjoying time outdoors. There was a large family reunion going on under one picnic table - with a group of young men playing soccer while the women watched and cheered. Another picnic table was celebrating a young girls birthday decked out with Mickey Mouse decorations. At another table a photographer was photographing some parents to-be, the couple cradling the Moms growing belly. The water was full of boats and jetskis, kayaks and even a group of competitive rowers practicing. The piers were full of fisherman of all ages while the beaches were full of dogs playing in the water - chasing and retrieving sticks their owners threw. It was clear that Bayview is an important place for many of us.
Midge and I grabbed lunch on our way and found a nice little grassy spot to enjoy our lunch overlooking the water. It has been years since I have had a picnic, and this reminded me of just how fun it can be. We laughed and talked and watched squirrels run around the tops of the trees over our heads. When we finished eating, we headed off to explore. Bayview Park is 30 acres of beauty with everything from a dog park to covered picnic tables, tennis courts, walking trails, fishing piers, and more.
The playground is awesome - with two huge jungle gyms, a full swing set and more. Midge had no problem making friends with just about everyone there. Even my Dad stopped by to enjoy some time at Bayview. It was great to spend some alone time just the three of us... well, along with a zillion other people.
There are signs posted around the park as well telling about all of the plants and wildlife that live there. It was fun to try to find the different species from the signs. It turned in to a scavenger hunt for both of us. I am pretty certain we found everything except the Great Blue Heron. Midge insisted that we go back again soon to try and find him - which I will be happy to oblige.
This is probably my favorite part of Bayview Park. It is so quiet and peaceful on the pier. Midge and I both got lost for a few moments just soaking in the beauty of the water. The seagulls and pelicans sit lazily on the pier and in the water, often breaking into a cackle that makes you wonder what they are laughing at. Occasionally a boat or jetski will whiz by - the driver always giving a polite wave.
I can not imagine ever not having Bayview Park to go to, so I was honored to join in this campaign and share one of my all time favorite places with you. I hope you will join in this campaign with the Trust for Public Land and help to protect areas like Bayview and upload a picture of your favorite place and why it is important to you. I did.
*This post is part of a sponsored campaign through MomDot Media. All images and ideas are 100% my own.