POV: A jewel in the Village of Altamont

Schilling Park was formally named in 2010 in honor of the Schilling family who had contributed to the village over decades. Phyllis Schilling had championed plantings around the Village as well as numerous other civic adventures. Her son Carl donated his labor for the construction of a shelter modeled after the train station in the village that occupies the middle area of the park. Carl crafted benches for seating in case of a sudden shower. Fundraising efforts supported the construction of the children’s butterfly garden and tot-lot play area for pre-school age tykes.

Recycled bluestone sidewalks lead visitors into the park and past glorious perennial beds adorned with unusual trees such as Pagoda Dogwood, Paperbark Maple, Burr Oak and Sweet Gum. The back area is a large open space suitable for running with wild abandon or just meandering slowly past the many perennial beds and naturalized areas. It is simply wonderful!

On a recent visit to the park I was delighted to find a new addition just to the left of the main path: a labyrinth. Common to gardens and public parks around the world, the labyrinth has its roots in Greek mythology but can also be found replicated in floor tiles of cathedrals.

Often confused with the maze, a labyrinth differs in that it has one path to the center and back, and it is not meant to confuse or trap but rather to offer a quiet journey of reflection. The scale is ample for walking the path that winds inward and outward to the center with stones from the nearby Bozenkill Creek lining the pathway incorporating native materials into the circular and spiral designs.

On this day there were several children in the park helping their parents with mulching the large beds as part of the village-wide volunteer clean up day. With the mulch spread, it was time to explore the labyrinth and as I took pictures, I heard one of the kids say, “this is so cool!”

Schilling Park is a hidden jewel, a local destination to view great gardens, entertain the small fry or to relax in an outdoor oasis of quiet inspiration.

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