Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cleveland Metroparks' Acacia Reservation: A good walk, unspoiled

I drove past Acacia Country Club many times over the years while thinking, "There's a place I'll never be." The bright colors and perfect greens looked like a mirage while heading down Richmond Road.

That's not the case anymore. The property, at the corner of Richmond and Cedar roads, is now part of the Cleveland Metroparks, and I checked out the trails this week.

Walking past the former holes was almost jarring as the park grows out of its golf past. It looks like a country club that went out of business, or in this case purchased and turned over to the Metroparks.

The old fairways aren't mowed like they would be for golf. Grass is growing through what used to be bunkers. The tee boxes are starting to blend in with the grass around them.

But there's still enough resemblance to a golf course that I wouldn't have been surprised if a crusty old ranger pulled his cart up to some kids playing on an old green and snarled, "Get off my lawn!"

That won't be happening because golf is prohibited in the deed. So are ball fields, among other things including hunting.

While those restrictions will prevent Acacia from having the amenities other Cleveland Metroparks reservations feature, it will be a good place to spend an afternoon going for a walk or a run.

I think it could be a venue for a 5K race. Runners could park across the street at Beachwood Place and walk across Cedar Road at George Zeiger Drive. You wouldn't have to block off any streets to have a nice 5K course, either.

For joggers, the path marked off on the sign at the front of the park is 1.7 miles. It follows part of the old cart path and has some dips and rises, but no big hills. On the run I took this week, there was some standing water in a few spots from the rain a day before. But nothing too bad. There are other areas of the cart path not part of the 1.7 miles, so there's plenty to explore.

If you want hills, a path in the southwest corner is for you. It starts just west of the clubhouse and takes you toward Richmond Road and back. The hills aren't long, but they are so steep that I wondered how golf carts made it up and down without tipping over.

A peek inside the clubhouse revealed it is just as luxurious as you would expect. It's available for events like weddings and such. A sign on the door had the Lyndhurst jazzercise class schedule.

During my lunchtime visit, there were only about a dozen cars in the parking lot, even though the weather was perfect. That's in part because Acacia has only been as a park for a few months, so word hasn't spread.

But it's also because aside from the cart paths, there's not a whole lot to do. If you want to have a picnic, bring a blanket, because there are only a few benches throughout the park. There are no grills or playground equipment.

Perhaps that's for the better. Acacia is in the middle of a high-traffic area. Having a place where you only have to go a short distance to get away from it all isn't a bad idea.

- Howard Primer


Blogger Christine May said...

Are the other paths marked for a longer run? I ask about MARKED paths because I'm notorious for getting lost on long runs.. haha.

August 26, 2014 at 10:08 PM 

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