If every county (or city, even) could have a few outdoor things of my choosing, they would be:
1. A Greenway
2. A Dog Park (with separate sections for big versus little dogs)
3. A Great Playground (or a few of them)
4. A Big Lawn (to host concerts, free movie nights, and festivals for the city)
5. A Recreation Center (sports fields, pools, and perhaps #s 2 and 3 as well)
I am so very happy that I live in a city with a greenway and a big lawn (Suwanee’s town center has a huge lawn as well as fountains kids can play in) and that I live in a county with a big rec center (that, yes, also has a playground and dog parks) as well as multiple parks, dog parks, and playgrounds for public use.
The city I grew up in, Covington, didn’t have all or even most of that. Of course, people own a lot more land in general out there, so they don’t necessarily need all of that. But I still wish that they had a greenway.
A “Greenway” is described as “a belt of parks or rural land surrounding a town or city.” There is a paved path that connects all of the parks and land, and people can use it to walk, run, bike, exercise dogs, etc.
I’d never even heard of anything like that until I was married and living in Alpharetta. There was a greenway there that I could walk to from our apartment. Tom and I learned very quickly how great it was to be so close to the greenway when we needed to exercise two terriers that lived in an apartment all day.
So, when we moved to Suwanee, I was just as happy to find that there is a greenway here as well. Tom and I have gone on a few walks with Will on the greenway and many walks with our dogs. Hot or cold out, it’s a great place to walk.
The Suwanee Greenway is 9.5 miles (not that you have to do all of it), some built over wetlands, and all of it going through trees with small fields visible (usually in one of the parks) or some spots where you walk beside the road for a few yards before going back onto a tree-lined path. There are a few different areas with water fountains and bathrooms, but I would suggest you bring your own water bottles for hot days or long walks.
The disadvantage of going over wetlands and beside rivers is that when it rains, water and mud get all over certain parts of the path. (They have since fixed this problem.)
And the drainage isn’t fabulous, so you will find mosquitoes (and tadpoles) in abundance in warmer months, so be sure to spray on your bug repellent and make sure your dogs have Frontline or some other protection.
But when the weather is nice, the water supports a plethora of gorgeous flora and even fauna. Tom has seen snakes a few times, which is to be expected in the woods by a river. There are also lizards and plenty of deer, squirrels, and birds.
In the fall, it’s so pretty when the leaves change colors (and nice when the weather cools off). Come winter, everything is brown and bare. But that doesn’t keep us from using it!
I sometimes wonder if more people wouldn’t be likely to exercise if places like this were available to them. I wish that we had had a greenway available where we grew up.
I would have loved collecting tadpoles there and looking for other animals as a kid, riding my bike and playing with friends. As a teenager, I could have used it to walk our dog or to work out with my friends. As an adult, I would love to have a place to go on a walk when Tom and I visit family.
If you live in Alpharetta, Suwanee, or any other city that has a greenway, I highly recommend checking it out! If you are a mom or someone who takes care of small children for a living, like me, it’s really nice to take a walk somewhere other than the neighborhood you are in all the time.
I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as I do!