Tuesday February 16th 2016
Today was a beautiful day with a high temperature close to 80. It didn’t start off as a beautiful day. At about 4AM my weather alert radio went off with a tornado warning for two counties including mine. A quick check of the cell phone weather radar app and the local TV channel showed the real danger to be to the east beyond my location given the direction of the storm front. I had set the weather radio alarm based on the vague reference to severe weather on the 11PM news.
My adventure for the day was an outing to the Bok Tower and Gardens in Lake Wales Florida. It is about 30 miles south of the RV park. This would be my third visit to the tower and gardens. My first visit was probably in the 1970s.
Bok Tower is a 205 foot tower built on one the highest points in Florida called Iron Mountain. It was built in the late 1920s by Edward W. Bok an immigrant from the Netherlands. The tower contains a 60-bell carillon that can be heard throughout the gardens. Today there were recorded carillon music pieces at one and three in the afternoon. Live presentations are conducted at various times throughout the year.
The gardens surrounding the tower were designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead Jr. the son of the man who designed Central Park in New York. It has many paths and varieties of plants designed to have some plans in bloom at all times of year. At this time most of the blooms are varieties of Camellias.
The overall facility is under a major overhaul. A new visitors center with a cafe and gift shop has been completed. New paths and other facilities are still being completed. The tower is having some restoration work done and the carillon bells are currently covered to protect them. I might return later this winter when the carillon may be played live and other plants will be in bloom.