LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) — Located in Polk County, the City of Lake Wales is about an hour and a half away from Tampa and southeast of Lakeland.
Bok Tower Gardens, a National Historic Landmark in Lake Wales, is a hidden gem you can go on a road trip to with your family this summer.
“Just take a break and enjoy life and enjoy the beauty of what is naturally around you. I think now, more than ever, people have really been able to take that experience and really enjoy it,” Bok Tower Gardens Director of Horticulture Brendan Huggins said.
Since 1929, The Gardens has been open for visitors to explore its hiking trails and several gardens, as well as listen to the music played from The Singing Tower.
“I’ve never seen a more beautiful tower than this one that’s the first thing,” Bok Tower Carillonneur Geert D’Hollander said. “It’s just gorgeous with all that Georgia marble,”
D’ Hollander is the fourth full-time carillonneur at Bok Tower Gardens’ and for more than 35 years, he has studied, performed, taught, arranged and composed carillon music.
“As a musician here, you can create some kind of collective happiness. People are just happy. Afterwards, I come down and do these meet and greets, I talk to them and it’s just these smiling faces all the time. It’s so nice and so fulfilling,” D Hollander said
Bok Tower Gardens is open 365 days a year and you can find the music schedule for The Singing Tower on the Gardens’ website.
Less than ten minutes away from from The Gardens, you and your family can also visit Spook Hill, where cars appear to travel backwards uphill.
“People ask us about Spook Hill all the time and they go ‘what is it, is it real, is it just an optical illusion, am I really on a hill?'” Lake Wales History Museum Director Jennifer D’ Hollander said.
Spook Hill is known as a gravity hill and you can experience it yourself by driving your car up to the white line on the street, putting it in neutral and feeling it roll back.
According to Jennifer D’Hollander, the legend says an Indian Chief and a gator that was raiding the town were killed in a battle that created the small lake near Spook Hill. So when you feel your car rolling back, could it be the gator seeking revenge or the Indian chief protecting the land?
You can find more places to visit on your trip to Lake Wales on Visit Florida’s website.