Oh dear, the time has finally come. The Last Day Of Vacation!
As you can see we are feeling a little ambivalent; both sad and happy about it. Happy because we had a GREAT time and sad because it's nearly at it's end.
We had quite a few ideas of what we might do on this last day. Perhaps we should go back to Universal and visit that other park that we got rained out of seeing. Or maybe we could return in the sunshiney day to do the Swan Paddle Boats? Or go to the Water Park? Or Volcano Bay? Or the Chocolate Museum. Or, Or, Or....Well there are always a lot of possibilities.
What we decided to do was head toward home by way of Bok Tower Gardens.
After all of the noise and the crowds and the neon and the noise and the crazy, I think we were both yearning for calm and quiet. Gardens are the perfect balance to everything else in the Universe.
We had heard about Bok Tower Gardens but never visited before. And we assumed it was just a pretty garden with a big tower. No idea what the tower was about honestly. We did Zero research on this in advance because it wasn't something we planned to do until we decided that day. So we looked it up on our phones, Tim punched the address into the cars' GPS and off we went to the unknown world of Bok Gardens.
As soon as we arrived, we knew it was the right decision. It was just so lovely! Indescribable really. Stunningly beautiful gardens, whimsical decor and funny little entry ways as far as the eye could see, and then even farther than that.
Paths, walkways, ponds, dragonflies, butterflies, birds, trees, shrubs and flowers in every direction.
Some of the gardens had themes, like the kitchen gardens, which was not just vegetables and herbs but also fruit trees! The children's garden was both fun and beautiful and musical too! There was a wild flower garden, a butterfly garden, a nature preserve, hiking trails, the tower itself AND an estate to tour! We were there for hours!
I noticed that as we were walking along enjoying the peace and the beauty (and me taking endless photos) that we could feel ourselves relax...I mean that, literally...I could actually feel any stress just washing away as we followed the trails. It was wonderful!
And then we made our way slowly to the mansion. The docents were wonderfully informative. Each of them talked about only the one room to which they were assigned so they were very knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions before handing us off to the next docent.
The house was originally built in 1932 for Industrialist Charles Buck. Every single room had differently patterned and coloured, hand-made wall tiles , different and very interesting ceilings, differently designed doors and a different pattern of adobe floor tiles. There were a lot of innovative things like floor pivots for all of the doors instead of hinges, and exterior pocket doors, screened doors AND windows (rather unusual for the time) and stunning grounds and gardens surrounding it. It was a beautiful home and of course, we really loved the history of it.
Once I finally tore myself away from the mansion, we set back out upon the trails and we could hear, in the distance, bells. We followed the sound to the actual Bok Tower. Oh my! Very Impressive!
The actual tower was dedicated in 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge. It is 205 feet tall (!) and is also called the Singing Tower because of the carillon bells that play the most beautiful music every half hour. I immediately fell in love. How could I not?
The tower is situated on a hill which is referred to as a "mountain" and I suppose considering that this is Florida, any elevation at all would seem pretty high up. It is surrounded by what seems to be a moat of sorts and yet more lovely gardens and a lovely park with trees and grassy areas and plenty of places to sit and relax and take it all in. I don't know if they allow weddings there but if they do, I bet they are amazing!
It took awhile, but finally even I was done - for this time around at least - although I would love to return another time. So with carillon bells still ringing in my head, we got back in the car and finished our drive home.
It was a wonderful vacation with so much fun we could barely fit it all in. Here it is a week later and we are still talking about it! We always have such a great time, every where we go. We are funny that way.
Thanks for allowing me to relive it all one more time :)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.