Posts Tagged With: nature trails

Paradise at Naples Botanical Garden

Naples Botanical Garden

TEDDY’s RATING: 

There’s nothing more relaxing on a beautiful day than strolling through a lovely, peaceful garden. And one of the most lovely that I’ve been to so far is the Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida.

This 170-acre site is located between the 26th latitude north and the 26 latitude south allowing it to showcase some of most diverse plants from around the globe, including those from Asia, Brazil, the Caribbean and, of course, Florida. And throughout the gardens, there are some amazing sculptures done by a native from Zimbabwe.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The garden is comprised of 7 areas.

In the Children’s Garden, kids can interact with the environment, water plants, play, and explore the incredible Butterfly Garden.

Teddy at Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The Brazilian Garden, with its bold colorful flora, pays tribute to Roberto Burle Marx, known internationally as the “father of modern landscape architecture.”

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The Caribbean Garden features tropical forests, exotic plants and even cactus.

The Karen and Robert Scott Florida Garden displays sabal palms, bougainvillea and silver palmettos, as well as Florida’s grasses, wildflowers and citrus trees.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The Lea Asian Garden is divided into several different “rooms” depicting the cultural diversity of that area of the world. It’s not just rice paddies and coconut groves. You’ll find ferns, palms, hibiscus and bamboos throughout this area.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

Cross the boardwalk over the Water Garden and see water lilies, lotuses and papyrus.

And The Preserve is a 90-acre nature sanctuary that is home to pines, oaks, marshes, mangroves and hundreds of animal species from eagles to otters, bobcats to tortoises.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

There are also 2.5 miles of walking trails on the property where you can lose yourself in the peace and quiet beauty. It’s also a perfect place for weddings or other events.

The Naples Botanical Garden is open 9-5 daily, 8-5 on Tuesdays.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.naplesgarden.org/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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North Carolina’s Fabulous Falls

TEDDY’s RATING: 

The word “Transylvania” usually conjures up images of vampires and Count Dracula. In North Carolina, Transylvania is a county in the western tip of the state. It’s home to over 250 waterfalls. Most of these waterfalls are accessible to the public because they are found in three of the state’s forests and parks: Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest and Gorges State Park.

I have only had a chance to visit a very small number of waterfalls in North Carolina: Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock in Transylvania County and Hickory Nut Falls near Chimney Rock.

             

          

Looking Glass falls is “the most photographed waterfall in the US.” Yeah, I took a lot of pictures of it myself.

        

          

Sliding Rock is a popular attraction in the summertime. You actually can slide down this slick rock to the pool at the bottom. In early May, it was too cold to go in.

          

Hickory Nut Falls is one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It’s not part of the Transylvania County group of waterfalls, but rather part of Chimney Rock State Park.

I look forward to exploring more of these fabulous falls in the future: Moore Cove, Cove Creek, Courthouse, Toxaway, Connestee, Whitewater, Bridal Veil, Hooker and Triple Falls just to name a few.

So, when you think about Transylvania, think about North Carolina’s waterfalls rather than Dracula!

Dates of Visit:  May 2012

www.visitwaterfalls.com

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: North Carolina, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Get Back to Nature at the North Carolina Arboretum

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Describing the North Carolina Arboretum in words is not an easy task. So, I’ll just let my pictures tell you all about it. I will include a few words, though.

The North Carolina Arboretum, just south of downtown Asheville, is a 434-acre public garden near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

      

      

There are 65 acres of lush cultivated gardens, 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, ever changing indoor and outdoor exhibits, a fabulous Bonsai collection, and the incredible quilt garden (which was being replanted on our last visit, but was beautiful in 2009).

      

The Arboretum is open daily, weather permitting, except for December 25th. There is no per person admission fee, but they have a parking fee of $8.00 per vehicle. Visit the first Tuesday of the month and parking is free.

      

      

You can grab a light bite at The Savory Thyme Café Tuesdays through Sundays. And if you’re looking for a location for your “green” wedding, the North Carolina Arboretum is the perfect place.

      

It’s a beautiful way to spend a quiet day getting back to nature. I recommend it.

Dates of Visit:  May 2009, May 2012

http://www.ncarboretum.org/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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North Carolina ROCKS!

TEDDY’s RATING: 

The Blue Ridge Mountains may not be as huge and dramatic as the Rocky Mountains, but I still like them more. Maybe it’s because in springtime they’re covered with beautiful emerald foliage and in the autumn they are a fireworks display of red, gold and bronze. And maybe it’s because the mountain ranges are so close to one of my favorite places, Asheville, North Carolina.

There are hundreds of places to hike and bike, picnic and nature watch throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’ve chosen three places I’ve visited in the area to showcase here: Chimney Rock, Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell.

CHIMNEY ROCK

Chimney Rock State Park is about 25 miles southeast of Asheville and located near Lake Lure. The centerpiece of the park is, of course, Chimney Rock, the base of which rises to an elevation of 2,280 feet. Climb to the top of Chimney Rock, another 315 feet, and you can see for 75 miles. In spring, summer or fall, it’s a lovely sight.

There are several trails throughout the park, some easy walks, some very challenging. I always opt for the easy-going trail to the base of Hickory Nut Falls, one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi.  It may be one of  the easiest of the trails, but it’s still a bit of a walk. However, deep into the forest it’s so quiet and relaxing. You really feel like you’ve escaped from the stress of your every day world.

If you’re an experienced hiker, take the challenging Skyline trail to the top of the falls, 404 feet above the base. While on this trail, you can see several unusual rock formations like the Opera Box, Devil’s Head and the Exclamation Point, which is at the very top of the Skyline trail, another 200 feet above Chimney Rock itself. Several scenes from the 1992 movie version of “The Last of the Mohicans” with Daniel Day-Lewis were shot in and around Chimney Rock State Park.

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN

Grandfather Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains with an elevation of 5,946 feet. It’s 70 miles from Asheville. The first time I ventured from Asheville to Grandfather Mountain the roads were extremely fogged in. I wasn’t able to make it up there until my next visit to North Carolina the following year.

The highlight of your journey to Grandfather Mountain is the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, which is a mile above sea level and affords 360 degree views, on a clear day, of up to 100 miles. Built in 1952, this 228 foot steel structure is America’s highest suspension footbridge.

Grandfather Mountain State Park has 11 hiking and nature trails. You can take a leisurely stroll through the forest or choose to explore the more rugged terrain through Grandfather Mountain’s backcountry climbing ladders and cables up the cliff faces

The park is home to 73 rare and endangered animals, many of which you can observe in their natural settings in one of the seven environmental habitats. Cougars, white-tailed deer, river otters, black bears and golden eagles are housed here. These habitats are not like ordinary zoo cages. Instead of being artificially created, they were built around the animals’ native habitats. You get a great up-close view of these animals, seeing how they live in the wild. Now, in the wild, black bears don’t normally wave at you for nibbles of food, but these do. They were very entertaining.

Grandfather Mountain has also been featured in a film, Tom Hanks’ 1994 movie “Forest Gump.”

MOUNT MITCHELL

Mount Mitchell is part of the Black Mountains and is the highest point east of the Rockies at 6,684 feet. Just 35 miles northeast of Asheville, Mount Mitchell is reached via an incredible scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Mount Mitchell State Park was the first state park in North Carolina, established in 1915 and named after Elisha Mitchell who was the first one to determine the mountain’s height. At the summit, which is  fogged in most days, lies an observation platform and a memorial to Mitchell. In addition to Mount Mitchell, there are several other peaks in the area over 6,000 feet above sea level including Mount Hallback, Mount Craig, Big Tom and Balsam Cone. With 8 miles of hiking trails throughout the park, you can truly get back to nature here.

So if you love the mountains, which I do, and you live on the east coast, which I do, you can have a wonderful mountain adventure without having to travel all the way across the country.

Hike the Blue Ridge Mountains because North Carolina ROCKS!

Dates of Visits:  2001-2006

http://www.chimneyrockpark.com/

http://www.grandfather.com/

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/momi/main.php

Categories: North Carolina, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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