My Favorite Places: Bryan Knowles

BRYAN KNOWLES, Glacier Ridge and Homestead Manager

Cosmos and other fall flowers at Homestead provide a vibrant color splash, with the barn shelter behind. (Bryan Knowles)

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The warm, crisp sunny days. The blue skies and puffy clouds. The colder nights perfect for bonfires. And of course the colorful change of season.
There are so many places in the Metro Parks that are great for fall, it is hard to pick just one.

Take advantage of those blue skies at Prairie Oaks, Battelle Darby Creek or Glacier Ridge Metro parks to get photos of amazing fields of reddish and golden colored grasses. The wildflower meadow at Homestead Metro Park bursts with colorful cosmos and other fall flowers and really are a sight to see. Highbanks, with its views of the Olentangy State Scenic River from the overlook deck, has beautiful ravines throughout the park. When does the Big Darby running through Battelle Darby Creek ever disappoint? Definitely not in the fall. I think my two favorite parks for fall are Inniswood Metro Gardens and Blendon Woods Metro Park.

The tall trees behind the Rose Garden at Inniswood produce wonderful fall color shows. (Bryan Knowles)

For as small as it is (121 acres), Inniswood Metro Gardens packs a big punch, with a little bit of something for everyone. If you like leaves in brilliant oranges, reds and yellows, you can find them along the main road way, along the Spring Creek and over in the Sisters’ Garden. If you like fall plants, there are hundreds of mums planted every year, some blooming early and some blooming late, keeping your interest all fall long. And if you like fall decorations, check out Inniswood around Halloween. The staff and volunteers do an excellent job of decorating the gardens.

I may be a little biased when it comes to Blendon Woods, as it is where I started my full-time career with Metro Parks and it holds a special place in my heart. However, it is really hard to beat the view on the drive into the park on the entrance roadway. In good color years, it is just spectacular; driving up and down hills and a sweep curve provide extended views along the roadway.

A great spot to watch migrating birds is at the Walden Wildlife Refuge viewing blinds. Not to mention the fall color in the background of the pond only enhances the scenery. During good color years, the staff opens up the day camp roadway for a fall color driving tour, but you can always walk back to the area on the Sugarbush Trail, which starts from the Nature Center parking lot.

Which Metro Park you find yourself in this fall may not be as important as just finding yourself in one of them. They all have something to offer, so get out there and discover all Metro Parks has to offer.

OHIO FALL COLOR FORECAST (see weekly updates on Ohio Dept of Natural Resources website)

The entrance road into Blendon Woods always provides a spectacular fall color drive. (Bryan Knowles)