Wednesday, 2/8/12 - Less than 10 miles from our RV park in Clearwater is a 170 acre park where the Botanical Garden & Heritage Village are located in Largo, FL. They are open Wednesday thru Sunday and NO ADMISSION is charge....how's that for a deal.
We packed up our trusty ice chest with lunch and headed out about 10:30 am this morning and found a parking spot first in the Heritage Village. There are more than 30 historical building on the grounds of this 21 acre living-history museum. They are all buildings from the early days in Pinellas County (which we are in.) www.pinellascounty.org/heritage
Of the buildings there, several have volunteers that staff them and give tours on the 1/2 & 1 hour, in period costume. The first tour we took was of the House of the Seven Gables a 1907, 13 room Victorian home of an upper/middle class winter resident. (One of the first snow birds!)
We also had a tour of the McMullen-Coachman Log Cabin built 1852, which is the oldest existing structure in Pinellas County. In this 3 room log cabin the Mrs. had & raised 11 children and was also a mid wife, who birthed 60 children in this home. YIKES...
We also enjoyed the Walsingham House (1915) which was a physician's home and office. The volunteer on this tour was an tall, elderly gentleman with a white coat & stethoscope around his neck showing us all of the Doctors equipment, the instruments, X ray machine & my personal favorite - a birthing chair. This guy did a great job in explaining everything.
However, Wills personal favorite was the H.C. Smith Store (1915) which was an early neighborhood grocery store with service garage in the back and a barbershop. I could hardly get him out of the garage to move on. It was filled with old tools, signs, 2 old donated cars and it has been the project of the Pin-MAR Antique Car Club. As for the barbershop, you just can't get an "old barber" out of the shop.
The rest of the place consisted of an old Bandstand, Church, Schoolhouse, a Beach Cottage and many more. They have done a wonderful job in preserving these building and have lots of volunteers there working. We had our lunch at a picnic table inside the grounds of Heritage Park and afterwards moved onto the Botanical Gardens which are located "next door."
The Botanical Gardens www.flbg.org are 150-acre garden that have many themed areas and lots of herbs, palms, roses and more. After crossing over a bridge into the Gardens we wandered through out the different areas. Of course, there were not many flowers blooming but the place is beautiful and so well cared for. Some of the different areas we went into were:
A walled area called the Wedding Garden with a gazebo and seating area for weddings plus very special topiaries. Palm Garden a variety of all the palms grown in Florida, Herb Garden, showing medicinal, kitchen herbs, Butterfly Garden, plants that encourage butterflies. There at 15 more different sections in the Botanical Garden, which of course, we wandered through all of them.
By 3:30 pm we were exhausted and didn't know if we could make it back to the car, which was a good walk back to, but of course we did and really enjoyed our day. Thank you Florida, for a wonderful FREE day in a very special place but most of all - NO rain & the sun was back out. Much love to all our family and friends.