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Cheap Thrills Vol. 2: Bedwell Bayfront Park

In the second installment of Cheap Thrills, Patch contributor Austin Walsh takes on the great outdoors.

We here on the Peninsula are blessed with a slew of wonderful open space preserves and parks that provide free access to beautiful scenery spanning from deep forests to the shores of the Bay.

Recently I had family from Colorado visit me, and they all praised the landscape and repeatedly shared with me how lucky we are in California to have the opportunity to live near the water.

All too often I tend to take our awesome surroundings for granted. And for me, it took the perspective of an out-of-towner to remind me just how fortunate I am to live here, near both the mountains and the water.

As a result of that visit, I resolved to take greater advantage of the natural opportunities for fun presented on the Peninsula. So I undertook a search to familiarize myself with the many trails and parks offered in Menlo Park, and surrounding communities.

Having been a resident of Humboldt County, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and the Peninsula, I’m quite familiar with the jaw-dropping sights of natural settings. So much so, that I’m probably guilty of not appreciating them as much as I should.

But my trip earlier this week to Bedwell Bayfront Park in Menlo Park, at Marsh Road east of Highway 101, immediately made me re-gain my admiration for the great outdoors.

Amidst my mid-day hike under the brilliant blue summer skies, I happened across families with young children gazing at the bay, older folks walking their dogs, joggers, bird watchers and students studying in the shade.

The trail along water is just short of 2.5 miles long, and lies adjacent to a wildlife preserve, which makes it perfect for those who get a kick out of watching birds or animals.

And even though I took my walk around the trail during the middle of the day, at the peak of the summer’s heat, the breeze coming in from the Bay made the temperature more than tolerable.

Sometimes, especially in the afternoon, when the wind really kicks up the park can be a great place to fly a kite. It is also the home to Menlo Park’s annual in May.

For those who aren’t attempting to relocate their love for nature like I was, and want to learn more about the local wildlife and areas, the Friends of Bedwell Bayfront Park arrange monthly along the trail. It’s a relatively flat trail, which is appropriate for families or full-growns.  nd the sweet sights surrounding it would be a place where one would want to have a picnic, but some of the unappealing methane scents tracking in from the Bay may make that idea less than ideal.

But for the bold, the opportunity is there to gather some goodies from the Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning in Menlo Park and then head to the park for a good, long walk with a fresh snack in the middle of the day.

The Menlo Park Farmer’s Market takes place Sunday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the parking lot on Chestnut Street, between Santa Cruz and Menlo Avenues.

During a time of self-imposed belt tightening by cities that are feeling the pinch of budget deficits, too often it seems that open spaces such as Bedwell Bayfront Park are the first to get closed, or at least

Amidst the State of California’s struggle to pass a budget, legislators have decided to close numerous parks and open spaces operated by the state, in an effort to narrow some of the billions from budget gap. So there are no guarantees that these parks will exist indefinitely. And we should take advantage of them, since we are lucky enough to have so many beautiful open spaces to explore, as my cousins reminded me.

Especially here in Menlo Park, where the opportunities to enjoy our parks are so plentiful. And they are free! Some cities have considered implementing fees at their parks in order to keep them open. Those wishing to enjoy Bedwell Bayfront Park will not have to deal with such inconveniences.

And to make it easier to get out and enjoy, it appears as if we’d been blessed with summer finally hitting the Peninsula. So the weather will be warm and inviting, and will hopefully present an opportunity to work on our tan.

Chris MacIntosh July 09, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Thank you for the article about Bedwell Bayfront Park: truly a treasure in Menlo Park. Friends of Bedwell Bayfront Park won't have scheduled walks or bird mornings during summer but expect to start again in September. Birds and wildlife abound in fall, winter and spring, and Friends of Bedwell Bayfront Park love to help visitors enjoy the park. www.friendsofbayfrontpark.org

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