The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Walking down to Hermann Park from Rice Village (Birthday Walk).


By Raquel


Yesterday was my birthday, and I knew I wanted to spend it in a quiet way, I just wanted to spend the time doing things that I enjoyed, and in the last year had seldom had a chance to do. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being with people, it is simply that I wanted…the time for myself. To think, to dream, to pause and admire, and not have other people tugging at me saying that it was too hot or saying that they were bored, or wanting to spend very little time just looking at things. Don’t you ever want to just look at things for awhile? The hurly burly of life sometimes aggravates me. So I came up with the idea, perhaps unconsciously inspired by Hywel’s walk through his garden, and the other “walks” that I’ve seen on blogs on GoY, of having lunch in Rice Village and walking down to Hermann Park.

Despite its picturesque name, Rice Village is actually a shopping center, so called because it is close to Rice University, lol. But it has several nice restaurants and cafés, and one favorite café of mine is Croissant Brioche. The owner is Vietnamese, but he lived and studied in France for awhile and his café makes the most delicious sandwiches and french bread and coffee, as well as sells delicious French-style pastries. So that’s where I had lunch and after lunch, started my walk. Even though it was hideously hot and humid, I knew this street is lined with live oaks, and felt that if I walked slowly enough and with the shade of the trees I could make it all the way to Hermann Park. The live oaks are just beautiful, and I especially love the arches that form with their branches, as you can see here:

I also love the tunnel they create visually:

It’s a funny street in the sense that as you walk down and under the trees, to your left you have these fancy homes (not all of them are pretty):

and to your right you have the campus of Rice University, so for awhile you’re walking right by the stadium! This picture shows a classroom building, Brown College:

The kind of patterned brick work you see on the building is something that I (with no real knowledge of architecture, mind you) have noticed on buildings downtown, including UHD’s One Main Building, and think of as uniquely Houstonian. Here are two other examples form the sidewalks at the Hermann Park/Rice University Metro Station:

By the time I got to the metro station I was tired of the heat, and I decided to go to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to cool off for a little bit and then walk around the park once the sun had gone down a bit. The museum is on one of the sides of the park, and looks like this:

The tall building in the back is not part of the museum. The round glass building is actually the Butterfly Center, where you can go in and (hopefully) see all sorts of butterflies flying about…Houston is also a city of fountains and these are the ones at the front of the entrance to the HMNS:

I also like this sculpture, called “Hope for Humanity” it was made by Charles Umlauf in 1972.

At the museum I couldn’t decide whether to see the Fabergé jewels or the exhibit on archaeopteryx (the real archaeopteryx is in Britain, I’ve heard, another reason, in addition to its gardens, that I need to visit!):

This afternoon, the jewels won.

Afterwards I felt sufficiently rejuvenated to go walk in Hermann Park. It is an urban park, of course, set in the middle of Houston. It is perhaps not the biggest (I think Memorial Park is bigger) but it is, I think, the prettiest. On its grounds you have the Houston Zoo as well as Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Japanese Garden, two ponds, a children’s playground, and areas with wildflowers, along with a tiny train ride for children. You can even see some wildlife and birds. Considering that Houston is not really known for its conservation efforts, the fact that Hermann Park exists at all is one of those mysteries the city has, though a happy one for me. The fact that it’s a public park is also a plus (very few things are free in Houston – not the museums (except for the Menil Collection and some concerts at MIller Outdoor Theater), not the zoo…. here are some pictures from my walk yesterday:

The entrance to the Japanese garden:

The Japanese garden is so beautiful it deserves a separate blog but here’s a peek:

Here’s the little train:

And a bunny:

This is one of the ponds and another with ducks (or is it geese?) floating serenely by:

This is a very Southern tree, with its Spanish moss:

Yet the park grounds are also big enough to host a sculpture exhibit by a French artist (last name Vernet, I think), there were 8!! of these gigantic sculptures placed all around the park:

And grow wildflowers:

And yet the city is right at the border of the park…you cross the street and the city with its hustle and bustle is right there. This is the children’s playground area and just beyond it, you can see the beginning of the many buildings of the Medical Center…the hospitals you can see are Children’s Memorial Hermann and Memorial Hermann.

But it is also nice to have the city close by, because afterwards you just jump on the metro and head home!

I enjoyed my birthday walk. I could feel myself relaxing as I walked around and sat down by the ponds, or under the trees, and just looked at things. Nature is just a wonderful tonic! I hope you’ve enjoyed it as well! =)

More blog posts by Raquel

Previous post: Birthday Flowers

Next post: The Japanese Garden at Hermann Park



what a great birthday walk,and exactly how birthdays should be,happy birthday raquel

20 Jun, 2010


What a great blog, i love to see where you live Raquel - it looks a lovely place :-))

20 Jun, 2010


A happy belated birthday, glad you got to do something for yourself. Houston looks very pleasant city to live in, but thank goodness for these open spaces, they are really important for the soul

20 Jun, 2010


Happy belated Birthday from me! How wonderful that you got to spend your Birthday 'your way'......sometimes that is the way Birthday's should be. I love seeing your photos.....and I think you live in as lovely Place:0

20 Jun, 2010


Happy birthday.
Love the pictorial walk. It is so nice just to slow down and really apreciate the beauty that is around you :~))

20 Jun, 2010


That was a wonderful walk Raquel, you live in a lovely place and those trees are amazing, glad you enjoyed your day and made ours ! :0))

20 Jun, 2010


What a lovely blog, enjoyed it very much Raquel, thank you. I love to just look at things, and it's a treat to do that without other things or people distracting you.

20 Jun, 2010


Happy Birthday Raquel. I enjoyed your birthday walk.

20 Jun, 2010


A wonderful way to enjoy your birthday Raquel....doing what you wanted and when you wanted! Enjoy sharing the sights with you...a belated Happy Birthday to you......

20 Jun, 2010


Glad you enjoyed your 'me time',thank you for sharing your walk :)

20 Jun, 2010


Great blog Raquel and thank you for the walk. Good for you doing something for yourself on your birthday!

20 Jun, 2010


Thanks Raquel. I did enjoy. I love oak trees and would have enjoyed a walk down that avenue.
Well you're the second person who said I've inspired them lol. I must be doing something right.
It's so nice to have time to yourself though.

20 Jun, 2010


lovely blog, I was really relax when i finished reading your blog, i felt i was with you.well done done you. happy belated birthday.

21 Jun, 2010


Thank you everyone for your nice comments! It is hard to find time to yourself, so this was a real treat. Houston is a lovely city, but the summer heat and humidity is insane...but I prefer to live in a big city rather than a small town, but the green space is absolutely necessary!

21 Jun, 2010


I really enjoyed this blog, Raquel, and sharing your day with you. Great photos, and beautifully written, an absolute joy to see your part of the world! Be great if you could do a blog for the japanese garden too, as would love to see more. Time spent by yourself is beyond price, and soothes the soul, so glad you could treat yourself to this time out. :~))

23 Jun, 2010


Thanks so much Floribunda, I really appreciate all your comments...I will try and post on the Japanese garden soon!

24 Jun, 2010


That would be great, as sure many other Goyers would like to see it too, and what a great reason for another bit of 'me' time, sounds like a winner all round, Raquel! :~))

25 Jun, 2010


Thanks Floribunda!

26 Jun, 2010


Have just seen your Japanese garden blog, thank you so much for sharing it with us, Raquel :~))

29 Jun, 2010

Add a comment

Recent posts by Raquel

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    20 Apr, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    20 May, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    27 Dec, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    8 Apr, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Aug, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    4 Apr, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    24 Mar, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    3 Mar, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    15 Aug, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    8 Apr, 2010