Glancing back through some photos, I realized I totally forgot to post this page. Bok Towers is a pretty cool place to visit and gives a glimpse into old Florida. It is located in Lake Wales, Florida, built upon one of the highest points of peninsular Florida, called Iron Mountain.
I’ve visited numerous times through the years but it is really catering to the needs of the community and building upon its initial foundation more so than ever.
The garden entrance sets the stage for your visit. Fountains and a wall of air plants is one of the first things seen. This visit was about meeting friends at a midway point, my aunt joined us and got some exercise along with fresh air.
While this display wasn’t anything special, it did add a special touch for those visiting the gardens that day, knowing the names of flowers that were blooming.
The entrance also houses information about the tower, its construction and the carillon inside.
There probably could be an entire post just on the construction of the Tower and Gardens, but for those really interested, just google it. However, I felt a few facts were warranted, so here you go.
It was built in the 1920s by Edward Bok and dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge. It was designed as a ‘contemplative garden and bird sanctuary’ on the original 250 acres. Marble from Georgia and Coquina from north Florida are the two primary materials that decorate the actual singing tower that house the carillon. There’s so much more to say, but unless you’re really into the history, writing about this gets kind of dry.
Walking towards the tower surprises abound and are spread through the uphill walk.
Occasionally the tower peeks out between the foliage and it can generally be seen throughout the garden as you walk to the highest point.
The 205-foot neo-Gothic and art deco tower houses one of the world’s finest carillons with daily concerts. While guests can no longer go inside the tower – unless by special arrangements – inside are 7 levels, which houses a library, a research center, maintenance & equipment storage with the ground level being called ‘The Founder’s Room’. There are 4 carillions in Florida, approximately 200 in North America and 600 throughout the world. Of course, now I’m curious where the other 3 are.
Part of Bok Towers Gardens also includes the nearby Pinewood Estate. While built in the 1930s, it was acquired by the Gardens in 1970 and allows visitors to enjoy the 12,900 square foot Mediterranean-style home. Inside is lovely and while mostly a self-guided tour, docents are in several rooms to answer questions.
Before ending our visit, we walked the 3/4 mile Pine Ridge Nature Trail. It was quiet, peaceful and nature-centric, of course.
Our last stop in the gardens was the Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden. This probably impressed me the most. They have numerous activities to engage kids and parents alike or just use the time to sit and enjoy being outdoors.
This quote from Edward Bok was a nice way to end the tour and this post. Spending time at Florida’s other attractions allows you to see another side of this state before Walt arrived.