South County’s hidden jewel: Oak Park


CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE

GREENFIELD — For the wedding reception, the need was clear and a bit difficult. The soon-to-be newlyweds needed a place to seat over 500 guests. The future bride wanted a natural, outdoor, setting for the celebration, here in Monterey County.

The trend for wedding receptions was moving away from indoor halls and toward more open, outdoor settings. They were looking for the perfect place: trees, lots of trees. And lots of shade. They needed a large area that would have the seating capacity, the shade, a stage and green lawns. Don’t forget the playground area for the kids who wouldn’t be invited but the parents would bring anyway. And, they wanted a stage for the band who would play all the ’80s music and a few disco hits from the ’70s.

The search started with phone calls to Toro Park. No seating available. No stage, but plenty of trees. Next call went to San Lorenzo Park in King City. No stage and seating 500 would be difficult. Then the Monterey area — Pacific Grove, but still the prerequisites were not easy to fulfill. The couple seemed to be expecting too much

in a park. During a visit to the San Juan Mission, still looking for the right place, one of the locals suggested they call Greenfield. Greenfield? Yes, Greenfield Oak Park.

They visited the next morning. Greenfield Oak Park is located two miles east of Greenfield on Elm Avenue toward Metz Road. The park has been a local favorite for decades. Dozens of beautiful, oak tress, many decades old, some in their 70s and 80s. Their shade is worth gold on a hot summer day. There are a couple of dozen barbecue pits, strategically placed under the oak trees. There is a nice-size playground that would please any kid who takes their play seriously. The swimming pool is not impressive, but is just right for a summer day.

The couple was amazed. The place was perfect. Seating 500 was no problem. Benches and seats included. The shade came in form of a dozen majestic, oak trees. The redwood stage was set and built at the base of a 50-foot-high oak. The stage was literally built around the tree hugging the trunk of the old relic. A band could fit their equipment and instruments under the cool shade. Impressive. There are dozens and dozens of cement benches and matching tables that can seat over 500.

The park is the ideal place for a family reunion (any size), perfect for a romantic winter walk among the oaks and is a great place for a wedding. Simply said: Greenfield Oak Park is the jewel of South County.

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