Monday, March 11, 2013

Tallahassee, Day 3: Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

State Parks visited: 61

Our final day in Tallahassee started out in a very rough way.  The fire alarm at our hotel began sounding around 1:30 in the morning, and we did the responsible thing: waited in the parking lot for the all clear.  It never came.  The alarm went on for some time before we finally decided it was a cruel joke, and we headed back in to bed.  A half hour later...another alarm.  And a half hour after that?  Oh yes.  The alarm...pulled as a joke, but pulled so hard the wires within it broke and continuously shorted out...was ongoing when we sat in the lobby and had our breakfast.
It was not a good experience.
We packed up our belongings as quickly as we could and then traveled a few miles down the road to Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park.  It was our last stop before heading back home.
The weather was gorgeous, albeit a little warm, as we strolled down the cobblestone pathways.  And while it wasn't the grand blooming season Maclay Gardens is known for, we were still treated to some gorgeous sights:

The gardens are situated next to Lake Hall, and we stopped in a small pavilion to relax and enjoy the view:
Before long, a butterfly felt bold enough to land right in front of us.  Can you guess what type of butterfly it is?

This is a Red-Spotted Purple.  Interesting name, right?
This is the Maclay House.  It wasn't open for tours during our visit, but we took a look around outside:

It has a beautiful view of Lake Hall, and the occasional visiting fowl:
Somewhere within the property is a hidden gem, a little secret garden.  We were lucky enough to find it.

After exploring the secret garden, we took off to explore the area around the pond. 
These things looked like baked potatoes, resting in the bushes.  As best as we can tell, they were grafting plants and using the foil for protection.  If you know otherwise, please tell us!

We came across a little creature that looked like either a really large worm or a very small snake.  It was, unfortunately, deceased, having either been stepped on or run over.  I later learned we had found a ring-necked snake!
After making our way around the pond, we didn't stay much longer.  It was a long drive home and we needed to begin the journey.  There was enough time to head to the nature trail and look (unsuccessfully) for a geocache, and I got covered in seed ticks in the process.  It was a horrible way to end the day, but the beauty surrounding us more than made up for it!  It was gorgeous when we were there in the fall.  I can't imagine how beautiful it is in the spring!
The End!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Back from the edge of the Earth

I'm here.  I promise.  I've been remiss about posting, unfortunately, and there are many reasons.  Last fall, my blog started getting a bit of attention from some folks I admire.  There's nothing like attention to turn off the faucet of creativity.  Then we lost my father-in-law...suddenly, and very sadly..., and our holidays were a bit more somber than they ever have been.  It's been tough, getting back into the swing of things.

But, I'm here.  I promise.  And I'll be back posting...soon, I hope.  We did spend one last day in Tallahassee, and then there was our pre-Christmas getaway to O'Leno State Park and River Rise Preserve.  They were good trips, and you deserve to read about them.