Windsor parks great for grilling
By CAITLIN GRAVESON / Towns Correspondent
As temperatures rise, families start warming up their grills. Some add a special flavor to the experience by moving their parties beyond the backyard.
That can be as easy as walking to the park. Of the 21 parks in the Windsor area, 14 are equipped with barbeque grills and picnic areas. The following rise above the others based on size, location and amenities.
Keiser Park, 700 Windsor River Road
The newly redesigned Keiser Park has a large picnic area that is great for grilling. The best feature is its size, able to accommodate 250 people in the picnic area alone.
“It is one of our nicest and largest facilities with the most accommodations,” said Pearl Reed, recreation specialist for the Town of Windsor. With running water and electricity, the park is often used for big events such as the upcoming Relay for Life, and for family functions like rehearsal dinners or baptism parties.
The Girl Scouts of Northern California Service Unit 107’s Day Camp has been held at Keiser for almost 15 years, and feeding the 120 campers and 65 volunteers isn’t a problem.
“We do cook lunch. We use the barbeques sometimes,” said Camp Director Donna O’Brien. In addition to barbequing lunch, they also use the grills for warming food cooked off-site.
“Keiser Park fits our needs well,” O’Brien said, “particularly because of all the natural shade.”
Separated from the playground, Keiser Park is separated from the playground and close to the softball fields. That makes it best suited for groups with older children and a prime location for an after lunch softball game.
Riverfront Park, 7821 Eastside Road
Riverfront Park may be best known for its lake trails and river access, but a few features make this park the perfect spot for a barbeque.
It’s a newer park with a redwood grove picnic area that is usually quiet. “I think the park is still being discovered,” said Sonoma County Regional Park aid Ilana Stoeleting.
The area has tables and grills, but visitors also are allowed to bring in their own barbeques.
Healdsburg resident Nolbereto Medrano and his family recently took advantage of the option, bringing their own grill for an afternoon cookout.
“We actually barbeque a lot at the house,” Medrano explained, “but today we just wanted to get out.”
They chose Riverfront Park because of the shaded area and its peaceful atmosphere. “It looks like it isn’t that known,” Medrano said. “Plus, the parking is not that expensive,” just $7 for the day.
Cool and quiet but still close to activities, Riverfront is the perfect place to grill after a day of enjoying the outdoors.
Hiram Lewis, 9680 Brooks Road S., has a small picnic area that is shaded by an awning, and it is close the children’s playground and restrooms. The location makes it popular for kids’ birthday parties. However, because it is next door to the Skate Park and Boys and Girls Club, it can also be busy.
For a park off the beaten path, check out Los Robles, a neighborhood park off Rio Ruso Drive in North East Windsor. At 2.5 acres, Los Robles is a small, quiet location for a family barbeque. Most importantly, the picnic areas are shaded, and the grills are close to the children’s play structure and the horse shoe pit.
The most frequently reserved neighborhood park, Vintage Oaks at 1201 Mitchell Lane, has a shaded grilling area and gazebo close to a bocce ball court, basketball court and two kids’ playgrounds. With plenty to do and the option of bringing in a Porta Pottie, it’s a great place to host a longer barbeque.