A New York trip doesn’t feel quite right without a visit to its mecca. But when I’m visiting my family out on Long Island, I’m not always afforded time for a solo train ride out to Manhattan, or I can’t convince my mostly elderly relatives to tag along. What’s more, it can be difficult to interest my grandma — who is still considerably spritely at 87 years old — in anything too adventurous. But in a town far less busy than the bustling Big Apple, it also can be challenging to find suitable activities my whole family can enjoy together.
Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson proved a nice compromise. A hamlet located about 20 minutes east of Queens, this 12-acre “living museum and educational facility” features native spring wildflowers, conifers, roses, perennials, daylilies, wetland plants, rock-garden plants, herbs, butterfly plants, medicinal plants and more.
Walking along the soft, mostly flat pathways gave my mom, grandma, aunt and me the opportunity to be active together at a level comfortable for all of us. Being outside and taking in the blooming flora also brought a quietness and peacefulness to our dynamic that we don’t always experience (Italian New Yorkers are loud, OK?).
The pride I felt in finding an outing my family could successfully do together — and enjoy — was a nice salve for my so-close-yet-so-far-to-Manhattan pain. And better yet? I even got them to go out for sushi afterward, a herculean feat.