Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pinewood Estate and Gardens

In 1932 Bethlehem Steel Vice President Charles Buck built a winter retreat next to Bok Garden.  He liked what Bok had done with the gardens and hired the same landscape architect- Frederick Olmsted Jr..  The Bok Gardens acquired the home in 1970.  The home is a rather long sprawling Mediterranean- style building.  I found it difficult to take a picture which would adequately do it justice because of its length as well as the many live oaks and tall pines which surround it.  While waiting in line to enter the house we had time to admire the side garden.
In the rear of this garden is a most unusual Christmas tree made of bromelaid plants.
The docent who greeted us at the door informed us we were to imagine that it was the first Christmas after the victorious D-Day in 1944.  Mr.Buck took great joy in decorating his home and hosting his family and friends for extravagant celebrations at his winter home.
Pictured above is the entrance hall.  Notice the wooden beams overhead, and a stone floor with decorative tile on the steps.  Holiday greens and candles, as well as a Christmas tree certainly add a warm festive feeling to this area.  This is a twenty room mansion, but the only other room I wish to mention here is another location in the house which exudes a similar feeling of warmth and comfort.
Many rooms on the first floor are formal, but the Loggia room pictured above is where the Buck family and their guests could relax, drink hot toddies, and talk about their day of either horseback riding or hunting.  At least that is what we were told to imagine!
Pictured above is the rear of the house, which is quite beautiful with a sweeping wide lawn leading down to Mountain Lake.  Also here is an Oriental moon gate fountain and an English style country garden.  Three large porches offer wonderful vistas, including a view of the Bok Tower.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Singing Tower

It is our wish that you, our readers, had a blessed Thanksgiving.  Our was spent with our daughter Melissa and husband Spencer.  How our meal came together is a very convoluted saga, starting with a teething and fussy baby who just wanted to be held, and a two-year old who burned his hand on the smoker and also wanted to be held.  We drafted the men folk into action, doing baby holding as well as peeling potatoes.  Our Thanksgiving meal did eventually makes its way to the table, and was quite delicious.  Looking back on that day I can only say it was a good day, and I am still thankful for the grandchildren!  However, the next day I did feel in need of rest, so we went on a road trip to Bok Tower Gardens, a trip of about 80 miles one way.  The gardens and tower were the dream of  Edward Bok who employed an architect, landscape architect, and bell founder to make his dream become a reality.   The gardens were dedicated by President Coolidge in 1929.
Our first stop after our arrival was the visitor's center.  Pictured above is a floral display between the dining area and the museum.  Poinsettias as well as air plants dominate the exhibit.  This is the first day of their holiday extravaganza.  In the museum we learned about Bok's life and how he came to build a 205-foot neo-Gothic carillon.  E.Bok was editor of the "Ladies Home Journal" for 30 years.  At the age of 6 he immigrated with his parents from the Netherlands.  He remembered that his home country had the greatest concentration of carillons in the world, which inspired him to also build one.
In the museum we learned about many of the interesting features of the tower.  It is made of pink Georgian marble and coquina.  It houses a 60-bell carillon.  The gold entrance door has carved on it scenes from the first 6 days of creation.  The day we were there two concerts were played, and on the half hour one song was played- some of which were Christmas carols.  The gardens comprise of 50 acres of shaded woodland garden and a bird sanctuary.  Quite a beautiful place to wander while listening to a concerto by Mozart!  Roses are still blooming and the camellias are beginning.