Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Planting, Stamping, Obeying

The Planting Fields and Arboretum is a really pretty place to spend some time.  If you can find it.  MapQuest likes to take scenic routes, so when a place of nature on a scenic route is the destination, sending cars in circles is the MapQuest way.  After turning, U-turning, and some doubling-back, my brother and I finally found the entrance and, thanks to his Empire Pass, didn't have to pay a parking fee.  I'm not sure if they give out maps to paying customers, but we didn't get any sort of map at the booth where you normally pay, and so we were left to our own devices, sans even MapQuest, once we were in the woods and gardens.

The Planting Fields has a lot of rules:

These signs were all over.  Everywhere.  In case you missed one, you would see another about five feet away. 

However, there was only one map.  Back at the parking lot.  We went back to it twice to see where we needed to go.  We found a bunch of pretty gardens and the Coe House first.

After going back and looking at the map, we found the rest of the gardens and buildings and plants.  The main greenhouse had a map of its own!  Actually, it was for a children's activity.  I quickly took one out of the slot, determined to complete the activity.  We had to find each section of the greenhouse and stamp it in the flier.  On the back was the map of the greenhouse where all the sections were.

When I found the first stamp, I cheered for myself and heard, Yes, good, five-year-olds can do that so you're pretty much going to do well.  My brother and I turned to find someone who worked there, holding back a laugh.  I was just very exciting about the whole stamping, I cheered again.  My brother?  Probably dying inside of embarrassment.

We found orchids and cacti and birds of paradise.  It was all so pretty!  I kept stamping away.  At one point, my brother was like, Aren't you supposed to stamp it inside.  I looked at my card with the rooms and saw that I had put the stamp of a plant outside of the room instead of in the lines, so I stamped it twice and was like, Okay there!  So proud.

When we left the final room, I held up my map and then opened it and then realized what my brother had meant.  A five-year-old could do this, and I had failed to do it right.  I was supposed to be stamping inside of the flier.  That's what my brother had meant.  I told him, next time, call me dumb and open it for me.  Still, we completed it.

We walked around, somewhat in circles, until we decided we had seen everything, not really knowing if we had.  We checked the map once more.  He asked if I wanted to go on the hiking trails.  It was now about 90 degrees out, the sun was high, and we had no map.  I told him I did not want to go without a map.  He said he didn't feel like being stuck in the woods either, so we headed to the Nassau County Museum of Art.

There, we walked around to see all the outdoor sculptures.  This activity entailed walking along a road with no sidewalks and no signs for people to slow down or alerting them that pedestrians were on the road with them.  So in addition to the art, there was a bit of added "I might die" adventure, and we didn't even have to go into the woods without a map to make it happen.

I don't know what function my camera magically has, but this is what happened with my last shot.

One of the sculptures had some rules--don't stand on it, don't touch it.  So I marched up to it with the plan to go under it, but scrapped the plan once I saw a dead rat with bugs eating it underneath.  After that, we called it a day.  That was a little too much nature for me.  To wipe away the memory, I just looked at the pictures of all the pretty flowers.

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