EXCUSE ME, but I think you set your house on top of Eutopia!

Real Estate Agent with Exit Real Estate Professionals


It was a special place in the few acres of forest behind our house, a place where a child could play for countless hours.  Furniture constructed of rocks and logs adorned the small clearing beneath the low hanging branches of the crooked old tree.  Friendly creatures visited upon occasion, making me hold my breath with pure wonder.  And, when my little Eutopia took over reality and held on a little too tight, I would often be jolted out of my imagination by the realization that the ominous shadows in the deepest part of the woods just might be moving a little closer!  It was time to run towards the glowing windows of my real home! 



Twenty years ago I went back to visit my mother at my childhood home and Eutopia was gone.  The woods were still there, but someone had actually moved a pre-civil-war home to the lot and plopped it right on top of my little spot!  Surely, when I die I will have to come back and haunt them . . . at least a little!   


I have recently been reading Richard Louv’s  Last Child in the Woods which I would highly recommend to anyone with children, grandchildren or young friends! Basically, Louv writes about how our children are being deprived of the experiences in nature and the real world that previous generations enjoyed.  Sports and other monitored outdoor activities can not take the place of free time in nature even if that freedom is in a place as seemingly insignificant as a vacant city lot.   Children not only learn from nature, but they also make the connection that will inspire them to protect our environment in the future.   


In her review of this book, Diane Gordon, Director of Hooked on Nature’s Children’s Nature Program, states, “ Fortunately, there is an antidote for nature deficit disorder—getting children back into the wild. The latest research demonstrates that when children have hands-on experiences with nature, even if it is simply in the weed lot at the end of the street, they reap the benefits. Researchers cite diminishment in levels of ADHD, fewer incidents of anxiety and depression, improved self-esteem, enhanced brain development, higher levels of curiosity and creativity, and a sense of connectedness to the community and the environment.”


One of the things that drew me to Spokane was its extensive park system.  In the early 1900’s the Olmsted Brothers, the first “urban planners” in America,  recommended an extensive park system for the young city of Spokane.  Fortunately, their recommendations were taken seriously by the first president of Spokane’s newly formed Park Board.   The Olmsteds believed that every home should be within reasonable walking distance of a park and that there should be large natural parks, especially on the edge of the city.  Aubrey White, the new president, worked hard to make that a reality!


Over the next months, I hope to introduce you to some of our great parks and the neighborhoods that surround them!  Although I love our largest South Hill park,  Manito Park, with its wonderful gardens and spaces, I am equally fond of Spokane’s tiniest parks which have few manmade amenities but an abundance of nature.  Cliff Park, my own neighborhood park, is an excellent example of small and natural!  With plenty of little nooks and hideouts to explore, Cliff Park is a wonderful place for children to explore!  


Spokane's Cliff Park


Or how is this for a dream playground for a young adventurer?

The stairs up to the Cliff Park lookout


And at the top is a wonderful lookout where you can see for miles.  A place for imagination to flourish!

Cliff Park Lookout


                      "The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses."  Richard Louv











Valerie Baker

Exit Real Estate Professionals



simply real estate


Comments (6)

Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA - Eureka, CA
Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA

Good Morning Valerie, great post and an excellent topic!

Oct 04, 2010 12:09 AM
C. Bartch
Newark, OH

Valerie this wonderland looks to be a mini heaven. I love to explore &  still collect rocks, some of us never grow up ;~)

Oct 04, 2010 01:51 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Dan - Thanks!  Children and nature are definitely my two greatest passions!

Cynthia - Me too!  I am happiest out in nature.  This book mentions how children (and adults) with ADD will often stay focused for long periods when doing something in the outdoors.  I often have some focus issues and being out in nature, even working in my garden, clears my mind!


Oct 04, 2010 04:36 AM
C. Bartch
Newark, OH

Valerie, I can't remember the titles of the books I read about ADD about 15 years ago, I was reading it for someone else in my family. Imagine my surprise I recognized parts of myself. As soon as I'm out in nature an instant calm comes over me :~) But I can hyper-focus and shut out the world and all it's distractions when I'm working on a project!

Still loving those photos, thanks!

Oct 05, 2010 02:59 AM
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Valerie, what spectacular photos and what lovely spots to hide out in and view the world from.  There's so much beauty around us, if only we'd all take the time to stop and smell the roses.

Oct 27, 2010 03:25 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Leah - Thanks! I do love to explore the nooks and crannies nature has to offer!

Oct 27, 2010 04:18 AM