Day 1,282 of Traveling the World, Lake Wales, FL. April 27, 2021.

Such a pretty place to find in all the busy-ness of Florida! Bok Tower Gardens offers serenity, quiet, and solitude, even though there were streets, cars, parking lots, and a youth group just steps away. All we heard was the wind rustling the leaves of the trees and the fronds on the palms. Utter bliss. In the middle of all this beauty stands Bok Tower, a 60-bell, 205-foot tall carillon (also called the Singing Tower). Twice a day, a carilloneur plays a 30-minute afternoon concert! The tower is surrounded by a moat, and regular visitors are not admitted inside.

The site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was established in 1929 by Edward Bok, editor of the Ladies Home Journal. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who was instrumental in bringing New York’s Central Park to completion. The park consists of 250 acres of various types of gorgeous gardens. Some are manicured lawns with carefully planted oaks, while others evoke the desert, and yet others have the feeling of a wildflower field. As you can see in one of the photos, we even found a “Nun’s Lily.” Wild turkeys and cranes are commonly seen on site. Early on, flamingos were intended to be one of the park’s attractions, but the winter proved a little too cold for the tropical birds.

You can see the tower in the first few photos, along with a photo of the kiosk broadcasting the live feed of the person inside playing the beautiful songs. At the very end of the photos is a short video clip to give you an idea of how lush and gorgeous the bells sound. The man next to Mike fell asleep!

One thing we found curious is a small building that was built on the property called Window by the Pond. We couldn’t find it, as we passed this building several times, thinking it housed the restrooms! We met a lovely couple named Debbie and Tom, also looking for it, and Tom disappeared inside – he had found the window on the pond! It was a small room with six or seven benches facing a large window, and everybody sat and looked at the pond, seen in the last photo before the video. That was it; no video, no explanations. So, of course, it led to conversation!

Building a carillon tower in the middle of a garden is certainly an unusual idea, one that we haven’t encountered anywhere else in our travels. It was a great way to spend a day.