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Radnor Lake is a Walker’s Paradise

Radnor Lake in September.

Radnor Lake in September.

Although I seem to be catching feelings for Nashville, there are things that make me downright homesick for New York. One of these is walking. New Yorkers are a fit breed. We stroll through parks, power walk to work, and climb subway steps two at a time. Some of us even voluntarily stand on the subway.

I’ve always found that activity breeds more activity, so I would forgo the subway for a bike ride across the Brooklyn Bridge to work, run the Prospect Park loop a few times a week, and actually pay to go to the gym in the winter. This extra curricular walking is just that, extra; but nothing beats the simple necessity of getting to where you’re going as quickly as possible.

After living in Nashville for a year, I realized I had been in a fitness slump. If you’re thinking of moving here, let it be known: it’s not really a pedestrian city, or a biking one at that. Some would argue that point, and there are people who use bikes as their primary mode of transportation, but I feel like every time I turn around there’s a “Share the Road” article running about some law-abiding biker getting hit by an impatient motorist. After complaining on Facebook for a while, a friend inspired me to seek out places to walk, and what do you know. I found nature.

Radnor Lake and its 1,332 acre-park is just 15 minutes south of WeHo. It has six trails of varying difficulty and a pedestrian road that circles half the lake where you can run, bike, and walk your dog. A full loop around is about 2.5 miles. I’ve done the Lake Trail, which was good power walking because it’s mostly flat and offers a pretty view. I really liked the Ganier Ridge Trail though. It’s hilly and often narrow, which kept my heart rate up and my New York legs pumping.

This time of year, the view can’t be beat. Living in any city makes you appreciate getting out of it, and that’s just what I needed. Afterwards, my head is clearer, my anxiety level is lower, my fears are at bay (and the science agrees!). What I like the most about walking there is something very unlike New York: I appreciate the quiet interactions with other walkers, the little nods and smiles that amount to an acknowledgement, as if to say, Yes, it’s a beautiful day, and we are walking.

Trail Map from radnorlake.org

Trail Map from radnorlake.org

Lines

Dear Erica,

Yesterday I was at Trader Joe’s trying to get some healthy food.  (What’s with that, btw? Why is it so hard to find healthy food and decent vegetables here?) At first I was impressed; it was worlds better than being crammed into the TJ’s on Court Street in Brooklyn with a line snaking around the entire store in every aisle, bumper to bumper with Brooklynites and just trying to get to the dried freaking mango. But when I finished my shopping and got to the registers, there was NO LINE AT ALL but plenty of shoppers. People were just standing around with their carts, completely unorganized, not being helped, not being checked out. I’ve noticed that happening at Target, Kroger, and even the gas station. How do they get anything done?

-Sick of Standing Around

 

Dear Sick,

I am familiar with this bizarre behavior. Here’s my advice. If you’re from New York, you just have to accept something: there is no place in this country–perhaps even the world–that is ever going to be as efficient as Manhattan.  Never will you go into a coffee shop that runs so seamlessly that you don’t have to make eye contact with anyone. You will not regularly be in that blissful state of your own world for entire afternoons, productively zooming through your chores so that you have time to relax and unwind. This is the South. Let go of that feeling. It will always be waiting for you at a buzzing Brooklyn deli, where everyone knows exactly what they’ll order before they step foot in the door. It will be there, at the subway turn style, as New Yorkers expertly execute a swipe while holding umbrellas, briefcases, babies, and grocery bags.  In the meantime, try to enjoy the slowness. Chat with people. Tell them you like their nail polish. When they ask you how you’re doing, actually answer honestly. You’ll be surprised at how interested and interesting people are. You’ll relax into it, and when you’re snapped back by someone lurching around Gallatin Avenue at 10 mph, just remember, there’s always New York.

-Erica

Jenis1

Nashvillians not forming a line outside Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.