Retired friends traveled the US in their 5th wheel for 9 years and settled in Sebring Florida. Reconnecting has been fun. The bonus is discovering Florida beyond Tampa/St. Pete.
This time we arranged to meet at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida. (Yes, there are still rolling fields of citrus in Florida—here they are.) Bok Tower, as towers go, is a beautiful 205′ art deco bell tower, situated in a peaceful garden setting of 50 acres designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr..(Dad Olmstead designed Central Park in NYC).
Paved walkways make for easy viewing of garden features with plenty of benches along the way and for listening to the daily concerts. Bells are played from a keyboard by a person named a carillonneur. Who knew? We heard both familiar and unfamiliar music while we relaxed in the green serenity surrounding us. We were told that this was the highest point of land in Florida.
Bok Tower Gardens was donated by a successful immigrant from the Netherlands named Edward Bok. He was Editor-in-Chief of Ladies Home Journal for 30 years. President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the tower in 1929. Mr. Bok so loved this area that he requested to be buried in front of the tower.
Now for the food: Counter service in the Blue Palmetto Cafe was very efficient. Place your order from an avocado populated menu and your meal is brought to you inside or out. My choice excelled in freshness, taste and beauty. When I asked how they procured such perfect avocados, someone guessed that they were frozen food service slices. Bravo! boktowergardens.org
“Avocado Tuna Salad $12. A scoop of our homemade tuna salad on a bed of artisan mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, roasted pumpkin seeds, and zinfandel vinaigrette”.
Oops, forgot to mention that the gardens were featuring edible and ornamental pepper plants to “spice up your summer” — most likely to make up for the seasonal lack of blooming azaleas, camellias and magnolias. No matter, the kitchen garden offered many plants, including Okra, which I had never observed blooming.
Usual admittance to the gardens is $15.00. In our case, since we belong to the American
Horticultural Society, all of this adventure was treated as a reciprocal admittance.
Another day: Lake Placid Florida, Clown Museum and town of many murals.