Pinewood Estate Garden & Mansion

Previously I shared spring at Bok Tower Garden at Lake Wales, Florida. Today we’ll tour Pinewood Estate garden and mansion which is nestled in the Bok Gardens.  A separate fee gains you entrance to Pinewood Estates, an enchanting 20-room Mediterranean-style mansion. Originally named “El Retiro,” meaning “retreat” in Spanish, the Estate was built in the early 1930s for Charles Austin Buck, a Bethlehem Steel vice president.  Now this historic Estate is open for tours throughout the year to visitors of Bok Tower Gardens.

Grounds of Pinewood Estate
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Elkmont Ghost Town The Great Smoky Mountains

Have you been to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?  Straddling the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains are the highest mountains in the Eastern United States with sixteen peaks rising more than 6,000 feet. Part of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the Smokeys are an ancient treasure over 300 million years old.   World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park. Today we’ll visit Elkmont Ghost Town, the remnants of a recreational community of the east Tennessee wealthy in early 20th century.

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The Rusty Pelican Restaurant, Key Biscayne, Florida

I moved to Miami back in the 1970’s. I felt like I was living in paradise with blue skies, beautiful beaches, and great food.  During my first year living in Miami, some of my friends took me to The Rusty Pelican for my birthday.  Located on Key Biscayne in the Miami Bay, this restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy all that contemporary Miami has to offer.

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A Beautiful Day in Miami

One of my favorite places in greater Miami is Key Biscayne. Key Biscayne is a Florida town on a barrier island across the Rickenbacker Causeway from Miami. (The causeway is named for WWI flying ace, Eddie Rickenbacker. He and his wife had a home in Miami toward the end of their lives.)  The view of Miami across the Miami Bay is always wonderful, but some days it’s incredible.  Today’s photo is one of the best.

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A Visit To Cracker Country at The Florida State Fair

It’s usually late summer or early fall when most people think of their State Fair, but that’s not typically the time Floridians think of theirs. The first week of February is when the magic begins for us. We don’t have the drastic change in seasons to remind us it’s time for the annual fair. Don’t think that means in the 112 years the Florida State Fair has existed that there weren’t times when we had to trade our shorts and flip-flops in for a pair of jeans and long sleeves. Our blood runs a little thinner than most here in the Sunshine State. When the mercury dips below 70, we understand the dangers of prolong exposure to the elements, and we break out the socks and a light jacket.  February is usually a bright, warm time to explore and have fun at the fair.

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Welcome to Miami!

Back in my 20’s, I moved from Tennessee to Miami, Florida.  Miami is an international city filled with multiple cultures and of course beautiful weather.  I fell in love with Florida back then and lived in greater Miami and greater Ft. Lauderdale for many years.  I moved to the west coast of Florida back in 2008, but I love to go visit friends in South Florida.

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The Florida Botanical Gardens, A Tampa Bay Favorite

Quote on walk

Pinellas County Florida Botanical Gardens 
12520 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774

For me one of the highlights of the Tampa Bay Area is the Florida Botanical Gardens. The Gardens is a Pinellas County learning experience as well as a beautifully exotic horticultural garden. It officially opened to the public on Dec. 2, 2000, and currently showcases 25 gardens and display areas with 10,000 plants on 150 acres.  Admission is free but a donation of $2.00 is suggested to help fund the maintenance of the gardens.  It is open Monday through Friday 7 am to 5 pm and is closed on weekends and on county holidays.  There are special hours of operation  for  the Christmas Light display which you can see here.

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Naples Botanical Garden, Amazing Landscape Architecture

Besides the silver sandy beaches, Naples, Florida is home to an opera, an orchestra, a beautiful art museum, and a world-class tropical garden.  Naples Botanical Garden is a 170-acre tropical  garden paradise that features the plants and cultures of the tropics and subtropics between the latitudes of 26 degrees North & South.  Well designed and well-kept, it is a delight even for non-plant lovers. There are so many unique outdoor environments to explore on the sprawling campus with helpful free maps to guide you around.



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