Monday, November 9, 2009
Maclay Gardens and my Blog's Birthday
Today is my blog's first birthday! I don't know where that year went, but I sure have enjoyed it. Thanks to all of my visitors and followers for making this so much fun. I appreciate each and every one of you!
This week I will be featuring pictures of Maclay Gardens State Park. Most people will say this park is more beautiful in the springtime when everything is in bloom, but I like to go in the fall too. The red hills of Maclay Gardens were home to Native Americans for thousands of years, but by 1825 the area became part of a land grant to the Marquis de Lafayette. A small African American community of farmers and plantation employees lived here in the late 1800's. By the early 1900's, it had become a quail plantation. In 1923, wealthy New York financier Alfred B. Maclay and his wife Louise purchased this property for their winter home and planted beautiful ornamental gardens surrounding it. Maclay originally named it Killearn Plantation and Gardens after his ancestral home in Scotland and later it was renamed Maclay Gardens in honor of Maclay, who died in 1944. In 1953, Louise donated the property to the state of Florida. The gardens and park were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 as Killearn Plantation Archeological and Historic District. Maclay gardens features hundreds of azaleas and camellias. There is also a reflection pool, a walled garden, a secret garden and beautiful brick walkways from which you can enjoy views of Lake Hall and the gardens. There are nature trails through the gardens, but hikers, bikers and equestrians can also head over to the Lake Overstreet Addition to the park and enjoy five miles of multi-use trails that wind through the woods surrounding Lake Overstreet and Gum Pond. Swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking can all be enjoyed in Lake Hall. There are numerous pavilions and grills along the lakeshore for picnicing. High blooming season at Maclay Gardens is from January 1-April 30 with the floral peak in mid-to-late March. Maclay Gardens is located north of Tallahassee.