COMMUNITIES NORTH OF DOWNTOWN
This is my favorite area of town, by far. It's close to many things in the city, yet it resists the temptation to be over-bearing. The communities are Florida old (i.e. I have a delightful 86-year old neighbor who remembers when there was only one house within a mile and half to the east of hers, only 70 years ago...yet, the houses all seem well-lived, in a charming sort of way) and have a lot to offer, particularly in the way of green space.
Loch Haven Park—Unheralded, but subtly spectacular. It has big trees (including my favorite in town, a Live Oak that was a sapling when the Declaration of Independence was signed), wide open grassy space, three lakes with quiet places to sit, and is surprisingly enjoyable for the traffic that frequents by. It’s a great place to get lost with the city happening around you.
Gaston Edwards Park—Small. Narrow, actually. But this park, on the eastern shore of Lake Ivanhoe, is a great place to watch the sunset, play volleyball with some friends, or just go for a walk. I love coming here to run barefoot on the rolling grass.
Blue Jacket Park—The biggest in town, designed with space from the previously-vacated naval base, (along with the rest of Baldwin Park). It has a beautiful fountain, ample fields to play in, and just a whole lot of space. While there, I’ve seen people play just about every sport or extra-curricular activity you could think of.