Central Florida’s Lakes Country
‘Gardens and Groves’
January 7-11th, 2008

Hosted by
Central Florida Visitors & Convention Bureau


Thursday, January 10, 2008

This morning it was a quick breakfast at the hotel then we were off to Westgate River Ranch. Surrounded by thousands of acres of protected wildlife preserve, this 1700 acre ranch has it all! First item on the agenda was an airboat ride…fantastic! We did have to wear protective head gear because you cannot even hear yourself while the boat is running, but it was a great ride and we even managed to point out some birds and an alligator – can you see him? Look at his eyes looking straight at us…after this some of the gang went horse back riding while others of us just wandered around the small zoo…a brand new baby goat just born the day before. After the group got back from their horseride, we viewed some of the rooms of this authentic ‘Dude Ranch’ Clean, comfortable and very quiet, this is the perfect place for big meetings or a fun filled family getaway. They have it all here, including stores, mail, and more. We had a great lunch here as well. www.wgriverranch.com

Then on to Historic Bok Sanctuary. Bok Sanctuary is one of Florida's original tourism venues. Located on the highest point on the Florida peninsula, Bok Tower Sanctuary is a national landmark, including 128 acres of gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmstead Jr. and a bell tower housing one of the world's great carillons. You enter the gardens through the brand new visitor center and from learn go on to discover both the landscape gardens and the very beautiful 205 foot neo gothic and art deco tower. There is also a 20 room Mediterranean style mansion built in the 30’s that you can wander through that the industrialist C. Austin Buck lived in. As we wandered around the gardens, the sound of the carillon playing was all around us. There are daily concerts at 1 and 3 p.m. You must also take the time to go through the gift shop. It was a great place to pick up goodies to take home…and speaking of goodies, do not leave without having some ice cream in the Carillon Café! I wish I loved close to Bok so that I could take in all the educational programs they have as well…do check their website for all the details. www.boksanctuary.org 

We enjoyed dinner at Harry’s Old Place. Unique, rugged, and comfortable could be used to describe Harry's Old Place on Lake Ned in Winter Haven. The menu features a wide range of seafood, including shrimp, oysters, lobster and fresh catches of the day. I enjoyed a low calorie meal of chips, shrimps, ribs and coleslaw – and enjoyed every tasty morsel of it! 863-324-0301


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