Emeriti Park is Athens’ finest gem

 

Rolling hills, valleys and scenic landscapes are staples all throughout the Appalachian plateau in beautiful Southeast Ohio.

Emeriti Park in Athens is no exception.

The four-acre plot situated along South Green Drive, merely minutes from uptown Athens, contains many of the features that make this region of America great.

At the center of the park is a pond with two beautiful water fountains which bring Emeriti to life. Sprinkled around and facing the pond are sturdy wooden benches, each dedicated to important people who made Athens and Ohio University what it is today. A gazebo overlooks the entire park across from a bridge which separates the road from the park. Of course, the pathways in Emeriti are paved with the iconic bricks which define Athens, Ohio.

Emeriti in January.

However, beyond just being a pretty sight, Emeriti Park is my favorite place in Athens because it is the one place on campus where I can go to truly relax.

Being able to get away from life’s stresses and achieving tranquility, no matter how brief, is something everyone should be able to do when necessary. Emeriti Park is the place for me to be able to unwind.

I vividly remember a time last semester where I was particularly stressed out over a few midterms. I took a walk and stumbled upon an empty Emeriti at twilight. It was easily one of the most beautiful and serene backdrops I had ever seen.

I sat there for almost two hours. I turned my phone off, put it in my pocket, lit a Marlboro and just sat and relaxed, isolating myself from the troubles and stress of life.

The next two hours, time seemed to stand still. It was almost a psychedelic experience.

I did not notice the many college students walking by the rows of oak and maple trees on the outskirts of the park. I did not care the wind was increasing in speed as the sun set, making it a bit chilly outside. I did not worry about the homework and studying that eventually awaited me when I got back home.

It was just me, my thoughts (or lack thereof, in this context) and the gorgeous scenery around me.  

It is almost hard to describe a situation in which one reaches pure tranquility and ease of mind. It just simply does not happen very often, if it all, in today’s hectic hustle-and-bustle lifestyle.

I fell in love with Emeriti Park that fall night.

After those two hours, I stood up and walked back home, conscious of the work that was still looming over me.
I didn’t care. I got to work.  

 

Check out Ohio University’s release about Emeriti’s 2014 renovation

Beads and Things: The Treasure Trove of Athens, Ohio

The light that filters in through the windows refracts through the crystals hanging from the windowsills, casting a rainbow onto a few small baskets of gemstones. Tea brews in the back room, and the wooden planks of the floor welcome each step.

Baskets of different beads, gemstones and amulets fill the main floor of the tiny house off North Shafer Street dubbed Beads and Things. Phillip Berry and Jo Merkle started the small store, and together they have traveled the world to bring back pieces of culture to sell bead by bead. With each item is a label telling where it came from, ranging from the Czech Republic to Turkey to China.

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Mexican figures of dragons, unicorns and other creatures guard the shop from a top shelf with their bright colors. The items are free to touch and show off textures from polished rose quartz to soft suede scraps to the more ragged dinosaur tooth. The store is a haven for the senses.

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It’s easy to get distracted in the shop, not to mention convince yourself that you can spare a bit of cash for a small project. One wall holds thread and clasps, which aid any urge to create any combination of beads. Soon enough, one strand of thread could hold an amulet from Turkey between beads from Thailand.

All of the different cultures brought back with the different beads rest in this small shop in Athens, Ohio. A conversation with the owners can easily unravel the history the items that they hand picked during their travels. Each basket of beads (and other things) hold a story to be told, connected to people around the world.