Irvine Park is the gem of Orange County parks. It is nestled in the hills in east Orange and was part of the Rancho Lomas de Santiago. It was ultimately acquired by Jame Irvine and eventually deeded to the county with the stipulation that the 160 acre Oak grove portion should be kept “as natural looking as possible”. The park is now around 500 acres and somehow has been able to keep that rustic, rural feel when other county parks have succumbed to the sterile, concrete modern look. In some areas of this park, you can’t help but imagine what it was like back in the last 1800′s when it was a personal picnic ground for James Irvine. Over last couple years, my wife and I have developed the habit of taking a morning walk on weekends. There are many articles and reports that well document the benefits of physical exercise of this type. However, we have also discovered the mental and marital advantages of walking with the proper surroundings. We have found a walk around Irvine park to be one our favorites. First of all, one of the perks is that it gets us up and out of bed early on a Saturday or Sunday morning. We can often be found at the park as early as 7 to 8 AM. That’s an accomplishment for us. Likewise, the morning finds the park quiet with the peacocks actively feeding and a few other early risers grooming their horses at the stalls on site. Occasionally, you can see and hear the wild parrots in the trees. The oak grove is still there in the natural portion of the park and while walking through it, one begins to image what the area was like back around 1870. A walk around the park takes about an hour and the loop covers the entire park. Mary and I have also discovered that without the distractions of phone, radio or TV we are free to relax and talk a lot. We probably talk longer,about more things and make more plans during our walks than any other time. And, by the time we finish, its time for breakfast…..Which is another story. So, get up early, grab your spouse (or significant other) go to your favorite place to walk, enjoy the sights, listen to nature, watch life in general and have a great deep talk with the one you love. And, Oh,by the way, get some exercise at the same time…..