Thursday, May 31, 2012

Three-fer Thursday: Trinity Park + Parker and Otis + Amtrak Station

Well, I've been wanting to write this Three-fer for a while now, but I keep sitting down to write it and realizing that it's Monday, or Saturday, or some other day that's not Thursday.  At last, it's Thursday, so I can bring you our latest Three-fer Thursday Adventure!

For this Three-fer, you start off in between Duke's East Campus and Downtown Durham in one of Durham's beautiful neighborhoods called Trinity Park.  In Trinity Park there is a lovely little playground and park.  This playground sits at the corner of Trinity and Watts streets.  So, all you have to do is pull your car right on up and park on the street.  The park has several distinct sections including a larger play structure for the older kids, and a smaller area enclosed in a fence.  Yes, I said it, you can keep your little ones contained in a fence, yay!  We just went there last week with my two year old and had a very relaxing playtime on the smaller structure which was just his size.

After your play at Trinity Park, hop back in the car and head a mile down the road to Parker and Otis.  Parker and Otis is a great little restaurant filled with all manner of delicious eats and gifts to tempt you in every different way possible.  For parking, there are several lots available.  There are some off of Main St. and some off Peabody.  There's also a lot across Duke St. from Parker and Otis that is free and is right next to the train tracks.  However, you do have to cross Duke St. to get to the restaurant and it can be tricky to get to from Trinity Park because of one way streets.  Finally, you could just use street parking.  

Once you have selected your perfect parking spot simply head in.  There you can choose from any number of delicious eats to satisfy a snack craving or hunger for any meal.  They have a delicious meal menu, countless baked good and chocolates, and coffee.  They also have a large section where you can buy gifts, wine, toys, whatever you can find!  It's a great place to just look around although there are quite a few things right at toddler level for grabbing!  You can sit and enjoy your food for as long as you want.  However, our next stop is on a schedule.

Once you have eaten, head on over to the Amtrak Station for a quick train viewing.  I wouldn't move your car, I would just head right on over across Duke St. from Parker and Otis to the parking lot we mentioned earlier that is right next to the train tracks.  From there, you can watch over a low fence as trains come in to the station and passengers load and unload.  It's always a fun, and quick stop for any toddler.  The trains are scheduled to come in at  7:17am, 9:42am, 12:17pm, 2:33pm, 5:24pm, and 7:48pm so I would probably try to view the 12:17 and then head home for nap time, but you could vary this Three-fer to work for any schedule.   Keep in mind, however, if you're trying to view the last train that Parker and Otis does close on the early end-at 7pm most days, 8pm on Friday, and 3pm on Sunday.  One caution-on of our recent train outings, the train was pretty late, so the trains can run off schedule sometimes.  

When to go: You could really do this Three-fer anytime.  I had it planned out for a morning adventure.  However, you could easily do it in the afternoon as well.  Your limiting factor is really the train times.  So, plan the other two stops based on what train times fit in to your schedule.  

What it'll cost you: This one is pretty inexpensive.  Trinity Park is free, You will have to pay for whatever you order at Parker and Otis which can range from a cup of coffee or cookie (which are huge) or a whole meal, your choice. If you choose to park in the parking for Brightleaf Square patrons, you might have to pay.  Finally, it's free to stand and watch the trains pass by.

What to bring: Just bring your standard diaper bag and your appetite-no special equipment needed for this one!

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