The four corners at the foot of the Granada Boulevard bridge in Ormond Beach Florida makes for a perfect run (or walk) where you can take in nature and history while tacking on a few more miles to the sneakers.
It is not an overly technical run. It will garner you approximately 2 miles. It does have a steep incline and decline as you must traverse the Granada Bridge. This is an ideal run if your workout calls for a day of hills, you need to increase your VO2 max, or you just like to run over bridges. You won’t gain any significant increase in elevation; however, it certainly offers a change of pace from the monotonous flat terrain found throughout the Sunshine State. Another perk to this run is it is safe for runners of all types, from beginners to professionals. Granada Boulevard is a State road, the primary east/west connector for the City. Traffic should only be going 35 mph, but we all know what gravity can do to a few tons of rolling steel with accelerators. The four corners of the bridge are connected via pathways underneath the bridge. Regardless of where you start you never have to leave the safety of the sidewalk or any of the four parks. When you run over the bridge there is about four feet of concrete between you and the automobiles. You can enjoy the run!
And enjoy it you will. You will enjoy the sites and sounds of each corner as you run through them and I guarantee you will notice an activity for which you will return to enjoy later that day or another day as you enjoy the Ormond Beach life.
Southwest Corner — Cassen Park
Cassen Park is a gateway to the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean. If you enjoy boating, fishing, or simply watching water, this is the park for you. It serves as one of the more popular slips where boaters bring their vessels to slip into the Halifax River, whether they are cruising the Intracoastal or heading out to sea for some deep sea fishing. Conversely, if you are already cruising the river and want to tie up and visit Historic Downtown Ormond Beach restaurants, bars, and shops you are able to access and tie up at the floating dock. Finally, there is a fishing dock that wraps out beyond the shore. Coincidentally you can also stroll or jog over the fishing pier as a way to extend your run.
Northwest Corner — River Bailey Bridge Gardens
You safely arrive at the northwest corner underneath the bridge and are brought to Bailey River Bridge Gardens. It is a serene park, colorful and well manicured. When running through it anytime of the year you will be met with colorful flowers and plants surrounding a fountain and historic church set next to the Halifax River.
At this point you traverse the bridge at your own pace. If you are crossing over from Baily River Bridge, as you come descend the bridge you will arrive at Fortunato Park.
Northeast Corner — Fortunato Park
History meets beauty and relaxation at Fortunato Park. You may want to saunter through this park or make sure you return another day for a picnic or to watch the sunset. Railroad magnate Henry Flagler built a the Hotel Ormond near this site in 1887. Although it succumbed to fire and fell into disrepair to the point of demolition there is an homage to the estate in the presence of the Hotel Ormond Cupola. History aside the park offers a wandering path, playground equipment for the little ones and yet another pier to cast a lure. Did I mention the sunsets? They can be stunning.
Southeast Corner — Rockefeller Gardens Park
Upon leaving Fortunato Park, crossing under the bridge and down a short path you emerge from into a wide open park with small grass quads, walking path, and a small music pavilion. Rockefeller Garden Park is aptly named after its previous owner John D. Rockefeller. The oil magnate and philanthropist selected Ormond Beach Florida for his winter home. According to the above website, “Rockefeller employed a Swedish landscape designer to develop the gardens to his own specifications.” Across the street from the park sits Mr. Rockefeller’s former home. Although touring the home a sweaty mess during a run, just know that the home affords a nice opportunity to step back in time to a gilded age and learn about the City history and JDR’s interaction with it.
After taking the loop around Rockefeller Garden Park you are ready to head back over the bridge and end the run where you began. Enjoy the Run! You earned it. Not only did you traverse the Granada Bridge but you took in a good chunk of history and natural beauty all within four corners.