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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    Florida
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    Default Bok Tower Gardens Lake Wales

    We visited this national historic landmark and really enjoyed it. If you travel here from Disney World, it will take about 1-1/2 hours by car.

    Mr. Bok was a long-time editor at Ladies Home Journal. He was instrumental in designing and creating Bok Tower Gardens. The gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who was also involved in some other notable garden designs including Central Park in New York.

    The Bok Tower was visible to us about six miles before we actually got to the location. It sits on the highest point in Florida. After paying our entrance fee (It was reduced a bit on the day of our visit since the Pinewood Estate was not open on that day.), we drove another 1-1/2 miles through orange groves to the parking lot.

    As we were parking our vehicle, we could hear the carillon (which plays briefly each 1/2 hour with longer concerts at 1 and 3 daily). To be honest, I wasn't sure what a carillon was before this visit. Basically it is a piano like instrument with long keys that are depressed. Each key is attached to a wire which moves the clapper to strike the bell in the tower to create the sound. It is quite lovely to hear.

    At the visitor center, we were provided with a map of the grounds and a list of music that would be playing that day. Our first stop was a theater which plays a 9 minute film on the history of the place. It is on a continuous loop so you can enter or leave as you please. Also at the visitor center, is a small museum with artifacts such as the original carillon keyboard and a replica of Mr Bok's office.

    When you exit, you are free to roam the grounds along with its variety of paths. While the grounds are quite lovely, they must be even more so when all the plants are in full bloom (which they were not during our visit). We did wander through the Pollinator Garden designed to attract bees and other pollinator insects. We did see a number of butterflies in this area. There is an outdoor kitchen which is used for culinary classes but was not in use during our visit. Near this area is a kitchen garden featuring a number of edible plants and herbs. We did not go in but viewed Hammock Hollow which is a play area for children - very pretty and nicely done.

    We walked the path to the Bok Tower. Much of it is uphill but there are many lovely areas with benches along the way so one could rest if so inclined. There is also a shuttle service for those who can't make the walk. We also noted that there are wheelchairs and scooters for rent for those who might need these. Once we reached the tower which is beautiful and constructed of marble and coquina, we were treated to the best view in central Florida. Mr. Bok is buried just in front of the large brass door which leads to the interior of the tower. The interior of the tower was not accessible to guests.

    Although we walked around the exterior of the Pinewood Estate & Gardens - also very lovely - the interior was not open to visitors on the day of our visit. I suspect this is because the house is decorated for the holidays and they were likely in the process of removing the decorations before opening the house back up for visitors. I will definitely need to return to explore this 20 room building!

    Lunch was on-site at the Blue Palmetto Cafe. The food was very good and reasonably priced.

    We spent about 3 hours in all at Bok Tower Gardens. I'm sure it would have taken us another hour or two had we availed ourselves of one of the guided walking tours (included with admission and available at noon and 2 pm on the day of our visit and had been able to tour the interior of the Pinewood Estate.
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    faline@intercot.com

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Morristown NJ
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    Default

    Sounds like a relaxing way to spend the day
    - Lynn -
    INTERCOT Staff: Theme Parks, DVC

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Default

    Very nice review. I like Bok Tower Gardens too! I think it might be a tad closer than your report though. I would say it is about 30 minutes from Disney, when I take the Route 4 to Route 27 route. Although it is possible that maybe you drove a scenic route or was the traffic bad? Just wondering.
    Journey into your...LegoŽ Imagination Center
    If you can dream it...you can build it!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by ILoveLegos View Post
    Very nice review. I like Bok Tower Gardens too! I think it might be a tad closer than your report though. I would say it is about 30 minutes from Disney, when I take the Route 4 to Route 27 route. Although it is possible that maybe you drove a scenic route or was the traffic bad? Just wondering.
    I didn't actually drive from Disney but from my home and that took me about 45 minutes. I googled directions from Disney World to give folks who are staying there some idea of how long it might take from there.
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    faline@intercot.com

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Oh, I see. No worries, since I pass Bok Towers on my way to/fro between Disney and my Florida house; I thought I'd ask about the route - I'm always open to scenic drives. Bok Towers is a really nice land mark that I use to gauge how much further I have to go to get home and of course as you've shown; it is a great place to visit. Thanks for posting your trip report.
    Journey into your...LegoŽ Imagination Center
    If you can dream it...you can build it!

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