Serenity Now: Aldridge Gardens is Stroller-Friendly, Easy

Admit it, you're cooler and calmer just gazing at this peaceful scene

You’re needing a place to get outdoors but the back yard and the neighborhood playground have become as dull as the dirt under the swing. Head to Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, where Mom can catch her breath in calm surroundings with a glass-smooth lake and a leafy canopy that almost absorbs the piercing squeals of the children. Perhaps some ducks or a swan will offer amusement from a distance, and mom can look at the lovely hydrangea blossoms that remind her of how she envisioned her own garden before she was forced to spend her weekends catching up on laundry.

This is the best time of year to visit Aldridge Gardens and see its signature flower, the Hydrangea. The oak leaf are fading but the Nikko Blues and Penny Macs are splendid (read the writing on the rocks and you too can sound knowledgeable). A grove of white Annabelles with giant blossoms stands out in an oasis of green.

There is a paved path from the entrance to one side of the lake that is stroller friendly. If your kids are older, walk along the gravel path (to the left of the main building, beginning near the pavilion) and enjoy shade while you look for the burbling brook (man-made, but the kids don’t have to know) and the arched bridge that beckons you over. The whole scene feels like an enchanted garden where a fairy might land on your shoulder, but expect a butterfly instead.

Be sure and have your phone ready for some impromptu pictures; the background is too lovely and everyone looks good against the lush foliage. Bring snacks or a picnic if you like, and pause to enjoy the sculpture throughout the gardens. Balls and frisbees are not allowed, but consider this a blessing as flying objects are one hazard you can avoid. (Fair warning: the resident geese and ducks don’t mind pooping along the walkway – just keep an eye out).