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!


  1. Wee those Camellias with the aluminum? If so, they may have been prepping them to take cuttings. My great-aunts showed me their method ages ago. I can't remember exactly, but I think it was (1) make a deep cut (2) brush with root hormone (3) wrap in foil for some amount of time and (4) cut off with roots started.

    1. Those could very well have been camellias. Thanks for the explanation! Although, it would be quite exciting for Maclay Gardens to be a savory, Willy Wonka-esque park. That would be the baked potato tree!

  2. What a great post Paula! You've certainly made me want to visit. Your pictures are beautiful. I love the one of Olivia opening the gate. Sorry the start and finish of your visit were so rough. Hope you asked for your money back on that hotel night.

    1. Thank you, Sherry! I definitely want to go back and visit during bloom season. The colors must be so brilliant! As for our hotel stay, we are rewards members for that particular chain. We had other issues with our stay, and you can guarantee we contacted the general manager as soon as we returned home. While we paid for the one rotten night, they comped us enough points so that we'll be able to stay free a couple of nights at another location of our choice.

  3. I sure wish you could have gone there a few weeks later. MacLay Gardens are gorgeous in the spring when the dogwoods, azaleas and wisteria are blooming.

    Olivia is growing up. Say hello to her for us.

    1. I bet the park is bursting with color right now! We'd love to go back. And yes, Olivia is growing up too quickly. She always asks how you and Al are doing!

  4. Hey Paula!
    Sherry said everything I was thinking. :)
    I love your photos and descriptions of your adventures!
    Ryan's class has a sort of zoological notebook they're putting together and one of the animals featured is the ring-necked snake. :) Happy Spring!

  5. Holly, that is awesome! The snake is so tiny. Did you show Ryan? Maclay Gardens is in full bloom right now, and it kills me that we aren't there to see it. You should come here and we'll head up there, deal? :D