After our Caribbean cruise we spent a week in Orlando, FL. The last time we were here was 30 years ago! (Living on the west coast, we head to CA to get warm.) Of course nothing looked like we remembered. Since our tastes have changed a little over the years we checked out different sites this time. The Bok Tower Gardens were highly recommended by a friend. It was well worth the hour drive south near Lake Wales.
You drive to what seems the middle of nowhere, then through the entrance gate, you see the tower in the distance. The orientation movie calls this a mountain but I guess that’s relative. This is the highest point in Florida.
The 50 acre garden was established in 1929 by Edward Bok and designed by Frederick Olmsted Jr., the famous landscape architect. The focal point is the pink marble Singing Tower. It is 205 feet tall and listed as a National Historic Landmark. There are regular live concerts of the 60-bell Carillon but we only heard a recording played over loudspeakers. Still, it was lovely and the tower is truly impressive!
The Pinewood Estate is now part of the grounds of the Bok Garden. It’s a 1930s, 20 room Mediterranean-style home built by C. Austin Buck. Buck was vice president of Bethlehem Steel and used this home as a winter residence. There are docent led tours through the house.
Back in the Bok Garden there is “a window by the pond” where you can see the wildlife without disturbing them.
These very cute baby ducks were walking on the lily pads!
It was well worth the trip and a nice way to spend an afternoon!