Baby it’s cold outside! Hope everyone up north stayed safe, warm and indoors during the blizzard (looking at my nephew’s Snapchat of him playing outside in the snow… #helicopteraunt) and that all my Floridian friends put on an extra pair of socks over the weekend.
I’ve gotten a few questions regarding if I’ve started working out and the answer is (sadly) no. I am recovering from a kidney infection (don’t wish this upon my worst enemy) and I cannot begin the 21 Day Fix until I am done with my meds, so I get to live as a sloth for another week!
Over the weekend and after a few days in hibernation, I emerged from the covers, saw the beautiful blue skies and said, “Put on your best three winter coats. We are venturing out in this 34 degree weather!”
Destination: Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales
I was blown away on the history of how it came to be and get ready because I memorized ALL THE FACTS!
(Takes deep breath and begins…)
Edward W. Bok emigrated at six years old with his family from the Netherlands, with little money and knowing nothing about American customs or even the language. Through hard work, he became the editor of Ladies’ Home Journal, a position he held for 30 years. He was a fierce advocate for world peace and at one point offered $100,000 for the best practicable plan by which the United States might cooperate with other nations to achieve peace!
Like most northerners, Bok vacationed down in sunny Florida during the winters and became enchanted with its beauty and the sights from Iron Mountain, which at 295 feet above sea level is one of the highest points of the Florida peninsula. So he purchased land, had his friend Frederick Law Olmstead Jr. (one of the many high rollers that Bok knew) to design the garden, but there was something missing…
The Carillon and Singing Tower!
- The tower is a National Historic Landmark
- Built on St. Augustine coquina and gray marble from Georgia
- Bok fondly remembered music of carillons from his childhood and had a world-class carillon commissioned for his tower.
- There are only four carillons in the state.
- The bells weigh from 16 pounds to almost 12 tons.
- Unless you’re a high roller, chances of you going inside the tower are very, very slim.
- Bok passed away close to his beloved tower and is actually buried in front of it.
Another National Historic Landmark, the beautiful Mediterranean-style Pinewood Estate built in the 1930s can also be found on the grounds, but I’ll bore you with the facts another day.
There’s tons to see and do at the gardens and a lot of new things coming up! I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and will be coming back (hopefully around the holidays when the Pinewood Estate is decorated!).
What is your favorite hidden gem, museum or botanical garden in Florida?