Percy Warner Park: A Review (Or: Then We Came to the End)



Location: At the end of Belle Meade Boulevard
Size of Park: Huge
Crowds: Heavy
Approximate Age of Patrons: All ages
Topics of Conversation: "Is that bloodwort?"
Stray Dogs Seen: None
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: All kinds
Perceived Safety: High
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: High
Number of pitbulls sighted: None
Accessibility: Not always great
Incorporation of Local History: Depends heavily on historical markers
Recommended Patrons: Everyone

My favorite entrance to Percy Warner is the one on Chickering, where there's the informal driving range by the road and the small parking lot by the informal driving range. When Sadie and I used to walk there, that was our loop. There's a stretch of road where the trees are so thick that, in the summer, I feel like I'm in some kind of green cathedral. The whole park has a Lord of the Rings vibe, with rock bridges and steps, weird-looking huts and random fireplaces, and I think this is the best side for that.

I also like the Highway 100 side. And yes, the Belle Meade Boulevard entrance is lovely, especially the view of the steps. But the second the weather is even remotely nice, parking on that side is challenging at best. Really, that's about the only bad thing you can say about Percy Warner — it's crowded.

Otherwise, this is, of course, one of the crown jewels in the park system. If you haven't been, now is a great time to go, because the wildflowers are in bloom. Often, wildflower viewing is a little like bird watching: People who know what they're doing have no problems, while the rest of us pretend like we see what they're so excited about. But now is the time when even the dullest among us can see wildflowers, tiny delicate pinks and blues and whites, in the grass and at the base of trees.

It was a lovely park to wrap up my park reviews. I was trying to figure out what my first park review was and I think it was Cedar Hill Park, back at the beginning of 2010. Thank goodness, that was the only human poop I encountered!

In general, this has been a great project. I've gotten to know the city much better. I've seen some really lovely parks (and only a very few crappy ones). And I've come to feel even more fondly toward a city I already love. But this is what I think a good city park does — it communicates to the city's citizens their value to the city. You deserve this lovely thing. I think that's what irks me so much about the bad parks. They say so much about what the city thinks of the people who live around that park.

But I also think the fact that parks are an important way the city communicates what it thinks of its citizens explains why I've heard from so many people that Nashville "doesn't have enough parks." I don't know what "enough" would look like. We have a lot of parks.

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