Founders Room inside Bok Tower
Beyond the Great Golden Door
Every visitor who comes to Bok Tower Gardens and gazes up at the Singing Tower’s Great Golden Door eventually asks the same question: “How do I get inside?”
Those exclusive, it is simpler than you might think to gain access to the Founder’s Room. Only Members who have committed to support Bok Tower Gardens at the Sustainer Level or above may pass through the Door. Of course, the benefit is well worth the cost when it allows you to bring your family back any time for a year and introduce two new friends to the Gardens each visit – all for around a single adult admission to the nearby House that the Mouse built. And what, exactly, waits behind the Great Golden Door? The
Founder’s Room is a spectacular, soaring hall. Ascend the winding wrought-iron stair leading to a balcony with a commanding view of a room where every last inch is a work of art. Tall Gothic window alcoves to the east and west. The floor is a mosaic anchored by the six-pointed Star of Creation and surrounded by representatives of the animal kingdom and celestial zodiac.
Etched into the brick above the mantle of the gigantic fireplace are the words that became Bok’s catalyst: “Make your world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.” By supporting Bok Tower Gardens you not only get to view this inscription, but also help to make it a reality.
Bok Tower Gardens is located at 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales, Florida 33853. For admission prices, carillon concert schedules, program dates and special rates, call 863.676.1408 or visit www.boktowergardens.org.
A delicious salad and sandwich served at Blue Palmetto Cafe
BLUE PALMETTO CAFÉ
There is plenty on the menu to please any palette at the Blue Palmetto Café. Choices include tasty salads, savory sandwiches and terrific wraps. And – on those sultry Florida afternoons – nothing beats the heat better than an old-fashioned ice cream cone. Pull up a chair, relax – perhaps tip back a cold beer or sip a glass of wine – and savor a lunch or early dinner every bit as splendid as the rest of your day at Bok Tower Gardens. Blue Palmetto can also supply the perfect picnic lunch or a decadent sweet treat to energize your hike through Bok’s floriculture wonderland.
The Mystery of Spook Hill
The Legend of Spook Hill persists because it is a purely Florida fable, a tale of heroic natives waging a fierce struggle against a cold-blooded interloper.
As the story goes, after the tribe of Native Americans that would become the Seminoles broke away from the Cherokee Nation, some of them settled in the lush rolling hills of the Lake Wales Ridge. For a short time the tribe lived in relative bliss, far removed from the terror and calamity facing their cousins to the north. Then, without warning, catastrophe! A huge bull alligator invaded the lake and began terrorizing the tribe during the night. The chief, Cufcowellax, a man of extraordinary courage and strength, set out to defeat the evil spirit. The epic battle that followed lasted a full moon’s turn until, finally, the alligator was vanquished and the people saved. Upon his death the great Cufcowellax was buried beside the lake where he defeated the evil spirit.
Decades later, citrus workers were startled to find that their mule teams struggled to haul wagons down the hill leading to the lake. Years past and wagons made way for automobiles. Residents found that, at a certain point in the now-paved road, their cars would roll uphill. Word spread and folks came from far and wide to test this strange – and spooky – phenomena.
Cars, trucks, vans and SUVs have all experienced the power of Spook Hill, but one question remains…will the ghosts of the great chief and his scaly rival possess your RV? There’s only one way to find out. Go to Wales Drive and park your front tires on the white line. Check your mirrors, put it in neutral and let your foot off the brake…
Geocache: Global Fun That Saves You Money
Geocaching is a high-tech scavenger hunt played all over the world by fortune seekers looking for hidden caches of fun.
The Golden Front Door to Bok Tower
But you don’t need a pirate ship or your own scurvy crew to plunder this treasure. All you need is a GPS device and a spirit of adventure. The “rules” of the hunt are fairly simple: Take something from the cache. Leave something else in the cache. Write the location and the items taken and left in your logbook.
Bok Tower Gardens is affiliated with Polk County’s Trek Ten Trails Geocache program. Once you have completed four of the ten Polk trails, present your validation card with stamps from any four out of the ten trails to receive free admission to Bok Tower Gardens. You can get your free validation cards from any Polk County Library, Polk’s Nature Discovery Center or the Lake Wales Depot Museum.
If you can’t make it to any of the scheduled Geocache events to get your card stamped, be sure to snap a picture of the cache and write the location in your logbook. Once you arrive at Bok Tower Gardens be on the lookout for the three bonus geocaches located along the Pine Ridge Trail.
The last organized 2010 Polk County Geocache event happens at the end of October, but you can click over to www.boktowergardens.org keyword “geocaching” for the latest updates about the program.