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The towers of the faux castle ruins at Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany. Established in the mid-1800s by Baroness Wilhelmine von Verna, it was sold to the city in 1911 and has since been a public park. Unfortunately, you can't go inside the castle.
The towers of the faux castle ruins at Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany. Established in the mid-1800s by Baroness Wilhelmine von Verna, it was sold to the city in 1911 and has since been a public park. Unfortunately, you can't go inside the castle. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
The towers of the faux castle ruins at Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany. Established in the mid-1800s by Baroness Wilhelmine von Verna, it was sold to the city in 1911 and has since been a public park. Unfortunately, you can't go inside the castle.
The towers of the faux castle ruins at Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany. Established in the mid-1800s by Baroness Wilhelmine von Verna, it was sold to the city in 1911 and has since been a public park. Unfortunately, you can't go inside the castle. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
A child checks out the shell limestone-clad obelisk at Verna Park in Ruesslesheim, Germany. It is one of the oldest things in a park that was established in the mid-1800s.
A child checks out the shell limestone-clad obelisk at Verna Park in Ruesslesheim, Germany. It is one of the oldest things in a park that was established in the mid-1800s. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
A turtle catches some rays on a rock in the pond at Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany, in April 2021.
A turtle catches some rays on a rock in the pond at Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany, in April 2021. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
A modern precision sundial at Verna Park in Ruesslsheim, Germany. You read the time at the left edge of the shadow. Either it or my cellphone clock was two minutes off.
A modern precision sundial at Verna Park in Ruesslsheim, Germany. You read the time at the left edge of the shadow. Either it or my cellphone clock was two minutes off. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
People enjoy a sunny spring day at Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany. In the background is Eremitage,  also called the Alten Muehle, or Old Mill. Not really a mill, Baroness Wilhelmine von Verna, who founded the park, used the building as a retreat.
People enjoy a sunny spring day at Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany. In the background is Eremitage, also called the Alten Muehle, or Old Mill. Not really a mill, Baroness Wilhelmine von Verna, who founded the park, used the building as a retreat. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany, on the banks of the Main River, is a nice place to spend a sunny afternoon. Established in the mid-1800s by Baroness Wilhelmine von Verna, it was sold to the city in 1911 and has since been a public park.
Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany, on the banks of the Main River, is a nice place to spend a sunny afternoon. Established in the mid-1800s by Baroness Wilhelmine von Verna, it was sold to the city in 1911 and has since been a public park. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
A tree blooms in bright white at the Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany. Also known as the Stadtpark, or city park, it is an expanse of green in a town mostly known for its industry, especially the Opel car factory.
A tree blooms in bright white at the Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany. Also known as the Stadtpark, or city park, it is an expanse of green in a town mostly known for its industry, especially the Opel car factory. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Looking up at a spring sky past the roofless monopteros in Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany.
Looking up at a spring sky past the roofless monopteros in Verna Park in Ruesselsheim, Germany. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Rowers glide upon the Main River in Ruesselsheim, Germany, just outside the city's Verna Park. The opposite side of the river is quite industrial, but the park and the banks of the Main are a nice place to enjoy a sunny afternoon.
Rowers glide upon the Main River in Ruesselsheim, Germany, just outside the city's Verna Park. The opposite side of the river is quite industrial, but the park and the banks of the Main are a nice place to enjoy a sunny afternoon. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

For a city known more for its bustling industry than its tranquility, it was surprising to find that Ruesselsheim has a lot of green to enjoy.

Despite living nearby for a long time, I didn’t really know much about this central German town except that it’s home to the sprawling Opel car factory.

But while looking for a relatively corona-safe place to go on a sunny spring afternoon, I wondered if there was anything else to see there.

Ruesselsheim is on the Main River, so I thought a stroll along its banks might be nice. Checking a map, I discovered a green square abutting the river’s floodplains called Verna Park.

It’s named after its mid-19th century founder, Baroness Wilhelmine von Verna. Also known as the Stadtpark or city park, it’s really not that big at about 14 acres, but it is pleasant.

The English garden-style landscaping is surrounded by an old stone wall and includes a pond, a music pavilion, a circular colonnade topping a small hill and even faux castle ruins.

We decided to just meander the crisscrossing paths and enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and the sounds of birds singing.

Soon, instead of birdsong, the sounds of squealing children filled the air. We rounded a corner and came across a playground between the park’s monopteros and the music pavilion. Though small and without swings, it’s still a nice place to let the wee ones work off some energy.

Supposedly the baroness had the colonnade, called a monopteros, built in honor of her dead husband. Concerts at the pavilion are on hold due to the coronavirus.

The Eremitage — also called the Alten Muehle, or Old Mill — is a small, half-timbered, two-story building. Not really a mill, the baroness used the top floor as a retreat with a view across the park. The bottom floor housed the turbine and pumps that once powered the garden’s fountains.

Across from the Eremitage is a cool precision sundial. Looking a bit like a bent quarter moon, you read the time at the left edge of the shadow thrown by the bend. Either it, or my cellphone clock, was two minutes off.

We stopped at the pond, its fountain not working, unfortunately, to watch turtles sun themselves on the rocks.

The tall, shell limestone-clad obelisk is one of the oldest things in the park, dating back to the mid-1800s.

There are around 500 trees growing here, and some of the more exotic are identified by little plaques. Among them are trees from the U.S. and an evergreen from Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.

The fake castle ruins, with its two towers connected by a bridge, are tucked into a corner of the park. Unfortunately, entrance isn’t permitted.

A passage in the wall and under the levee leads out to the Main and its floodplain. You can walk atop the levee for a view of the river.

We strolled down to the river’s edge and watched the boats go by. Not far from here, it flows into the Rhine.

Nearby are the Opelvillen, two manor homes that are now an art and cultural center, and the Festung, a 600-year-old fortress that houses the City and Industry Museum.

They are worth visiting, but we’ll save those for another day.

abrams.mike@stripes.com Twitter: @stripes_photog

Directions: Enter Ludwig-Doerfler-Allee 4, 65428 Ruesselsheim am Main in your map app. It is about 12 miles from Wiesbaden and 60 miles from Kaiserslautern.

Times: Open daily during daylight hours

Cost: Entrance is free. Parking on the street is 50 cents for each 30 minutes up to 3 hours. The APOCA Parkhaus an der Festung at Taunusstrasse 5, costs 70 cents per hour or 5 euros for the day.

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