Bok Tower Gardens

In today’s video we visit the Bok Tower Gardens, an idyllic garden and a tower with a carillon envisioned by Dutch immigrant Edward W. Bok.  They have a visitor’s center with a museum. There is a recreation of Bok’s desk, a model of the tower which houses one of the largest archives of carillon music in the world, old pictures of the construction, and the original carillon keyboard, which is kind of like an organ keyboard but designed to be played with your closed fists.

When Bok arrived here in 1921 this was nothing but an arid sandhill, so he hired landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead to turn it “into a spot of beauty second to none in the country”. The tower was built at the highest elevation in the estate, and it is called the singing tower because of its 60-bell carillon. The whole thing was finished just a year before Bok’s death in 1930. Edward Bok was buried right here at the bottom of the tower, right in front of the ornate brass door.

This is one of the highest points in the whole Florida peninsula, which is not a whole lot, just under 300 feet above sea level. It is a very beautiful, idyllic place, great for having a picnic.

Enjoy the video!

Road Trip to Orlando (Part 1)


We are on the road once again. In the featured video, we drive up to Orlando through US-27, Okeechobee Road in these parts, as we exit Miami through the City of Hialeah. Most people take the Florida’s Turnpike going north, but if you have seen my previous posts and videos you probably know that I absolutely loathe that road, and since we are not in a hurry, we take this somewhat more scenic route.

We change it around a little bit, and take a detour right before the town of South Bay towards Belle Glade, which is really nothing to write home about. The plan is to go around lake Okeechobee on the eastern side and hopefully see the lake. The surroundings are a vast agricultural area, mostly sugar cane I believe.

As we continue going around the lake, there’s this tall levee to our left, so you can’t really see the water. The best place to see the lake and access the scenic trail that goes around it the lake is at the Port Mayaca Locks, on the eastern shore of the lake, which is so vast that you can’t even see the other side. I finally get to see this lake, after so many years living in South Florida. This is a place where we should have stayed for a while and relax, walk on the trail, but we must continue north if we want to make it to Orlando while there is still daylight. The next major town is Okeechobee, as we continue turning around to the north west as the plan is to merge with I-27 again and continue towards Orlando. This is another area which merits further exploring. There’s some artillery, a tank, and a helicopter, on display at Flagler Square in downtown Okeechobee, and the country side northwest of here is truly gorgeous, especially for flat Florida.

We cross the Kissimmee River, and US-27, and make a quick detour here to visit Henscratch Farms Winery, to buy some local wine and raw honey. The place is full of chickens roaming around.

Eventually we make it to our campground, the Orlando Thousand Trails. I have previously mentioned that we got a free membership to Thousand Trails with the purchase of Minitini, so this is very convenient. Our stay is free.

Check out the video.