From the French meaning “promenade,” an esplanade was originally the unsettled area between a citadel and the closest houses of town; now it’s a level stretch of open grassy ground, often with a view, as over a meadow, lake, or river. The term is applied to any flat and open area that serves as walkway and overlook—and so Esplanade is a prevalent park name in California, with that state’s singular outlook on the Pacific.

Larry Woiwode