Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘outdoors’

Relax with Nature at Dawes Arboretum

Dawes All Season Garden

Dawes Arboretum

Imagine being where no one is in a hurry. Dawes Arboretum could be the perfect place for you! This nature haven is dedicated to increasing the love and knowledge of trees, history, and the natural world. Young and old walk around the grounds at a leisurely stroll and traffic has a speed limit of 15 mph. Ah!  This is a spot to relax!

Way back in 1917, Beman and Bertie Dawes purchased a farm known as Woodland in Licking County. The family renamed it Daweswood and began planting trees, from all over the world, that would grow in Ohio. He hoped to encourage others to plant trees at their farms also. In 1929, Dawes Arboretum was formed and by then, Beman had planted over 50,000 trees and purchased more land.

The Visitors Center is a great place to begin your visit. Here you can pick up a map to guide you throughout the 1800 acres, and discover a little history of Dawes Arboretum as well as their family.  Beman Dawes’ father was a Civil War veteran, who served in The Iron Brigade. His brother, Charles, served as Vice-President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge.

Dawes All Season Garden

Dawes All Season Garden

One of my favorite spots is walking leisurely through All-Seasons Garden behind the Visitors Center. Here you are greeted with the flowers of each season from Spring through Fall – tulips to mums. There is a wide variety of plants here, some perennials and some annuals, but all striking in their setting. Name plates are frequently found near trees and plants with both their scientific and common names for easy identification.  Benches provide a spot to relax and to take time to smell the roses. A charming gazebo offers a touch of shelter on a rainy or sunny day, and provides another spot for viewing the garden.

Lake at Japanese Gardens

Lake at Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Garden creates one of the most tranquil spots at Dawes. With a beautiful small lake at its center, the plants of Japan weave their way around the pond and into your being. Give your feet a rest in the small meditation house at the edge of the reflecting pool to let the tranquility soak in.  A stone path crosses the pool filled with colorful koi, making it a favorite of young and old alike.

Since Dawes is located in Ohio, the Buckeye state, it seemed only fitting that buckeye trees would be included in the landscape. The Dawes family decided to plant 17 trees in the shape of the number seventeen honoring Ohio’s admission to the Union as the 17th state.

Large Hedge spells our Dawes Arboretum.

Large Hedge spells our Dawes Arboretum.

Dawes Observation Tower

Dawes Observation Tower

Perhaps you will notice as you approach the arboretum that there is a large hedge, which spells out DAWES ARBORETUM quite clearly. As you slowly drive through the wooded areas, toward the end of your tour, you will arive at The Observation Tower at the southeastern end of the arboretum. Climbing the tower gives a great view of the surroundings including the hedge. This hedge is thought to be the longest hedge in the world at  2,040 feet long and approximatley six feet high. Bernie Dawes decided to build the hedge for the enjoyment of planes flying into the Columbus Airport.

Bald Cypress Swamp Trees with Knees

Trees with Knees

One last treat before you leave is the Cyprus Swamp. This Bald-Cypress Swamp is one of the most northern swamps in North America.  A delightful boardwalk gives guests an up-close and personal view of the trees and their root system, as well as the creatures in the water.  The bumps you see coming out of the water have given these trees a nickname: Trees with Knees. Botanists aren’t really sure what their purpose is but some think it might help them breathe, while others think it is perhaps to help brace them from the wind.

Every season of the year brings a variety of trees, plants, and blossoms to center stage. This is definitely one of those spots where you can enjoy a walk through the trails, or a drive down the roadway, at any time of the year.  Beautiful scenes appear around every bend.

Meander through the grounds anytime of the year surrounded by the beauties of nature at Dawes Arboretum with over 16,000 living plants. It’s opened 362 days a year and admission is free.  You’ll want to come back each season!

Dawes Arboretum is located near Newark, Ohio just off I-70.  Take Exit 132 , Route 13 , and proceed North on Route 13 for about three miles.  The entrance is located on the left hand side of the road at 7770 Jacksontown Road.

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Buffalo Hills Resort Welcomes Native American Pow Wow

Native Americans are proud of their heritage as was witnessed at the gathering of tribes near Senecaville, Ohio at Buffalo Hills Resort.  Indian Pow Wows join together tribe members  for dancing, singing, socializing, and most of all, honoring their Indian culture. This seemed like the “real thing” as Native Americans congregated for their own enjoyment, not just entertainment. Any lessons learned by White Man were considered a bonus.

Did you ever taste Frybread? Native Americans will often remark, “Frybread is the story of our survival.”  Over a hundred years ago when the US forced Indians to take “The Long Walk” from Arizona to New Mexico, they nearly starved in their new landscape. To keep them from starving, the US government gave them flour, sugar, and lard – the makings of frybread, which later led to various health problems. At the Pow Wow, authentic Indian food was served by concessions and Frybread was delicious either served as the base for an Indian Taco, or covered with sugar and cinnamon. Also on the menu were Buffalo Burgers and Gator Nuggets on a Stick, with Snowballs for dessert.

Native costumes caught the eye of visitors as Indian maidens seemed to float over the ground with their smooth movements.  Delicate woodland flowers and vines added beauty to the deerskin dresses, as did the unusual jewelry made with the help of Mother Nature. Necklaces and bracelets were designed from acorns, spices, dried corn and seeds. This beautiful maiden was called Gentle Dove and said to be a Messenger for Love and Peace.

A circle of baled hay made a comfortable place to observe the Indians’ presentations. In the afternoon an entertaining storyteller told traditional Indian legends, most of which centered around animals.  All their stories have special meaning, and hopefully an effect on the listeners. The story of a Snake taught children to beware of wild animals, while the adventures of Bear and Rabbit with Buzzard described why Buzzard has a deep mark on his face to this day.

John Red Deer filled the spot of medicine man for the day with his extensive knowledge of herbs for healing. While there were many interesting items in his display, the popular 7 Grandfathers All Purpose Salve topped the list. As you can see from the sign, it can be used for many different ailments as well as a detox. John Red Deer feels inspired to make this in cream, liquid for detox, and even in stick form to carry with you for cuts and bites.

Peppermint and Spearmint form the base of this magical salve plus seven other herbs, which he feels he will reveal soon so others can carry on his work. Plants are harvested as he is guided by the voice of Spirit, and later the herb combination is brewed during the Summer Solstice.  This time of solar and lunar infusion gives the perfect blending of the herbs. A severe storm this year, while he was making the salve, produced two hours of intense energy, which John Red Deer felt increased the strength and effectiveness of that salve. His plans are to make a medicinal soap in the near future.

With the drums and flutes of Southern Pine in the center of the circle, the evening dance was a pleasure to watch.  Leading the procession of dancers were Native Americans carrying the USA flag, an MIA flag, as well as their traditional eagle staff with an eagle head on the top. The opening prayer was given first in Choctaw language, followed by English.

Songs were sung to relatives who had passed on to another world and veterans were honored with the blowing of the eagle whistle. Beautiful dresses filled the center and individual dances were performed.  The Jingle Dress glistened in the sunlight and jingled to the beat of the drums.

To close the evening, couples did a Potato Dance with a potato held between their foreheads as they constantly moved to the music. The last couple to keep the potato from dropping to the ground was the winner of a small monetary prize.

Find an Indian Pow Wow in your area to attend so you, too, can learn of the American Indian traditions. While sometimes stories are heard about the Indian attacks long ago, they basically wanted to be peaceful people and enjoy their style of life in the quiet of their homes.  Imagine sitting in the woods with the drums beating, chants filling the air, and the Spirit surrounding you. That’s the way life is meant to be!

Buffalo Hills Resort encompasses over 300 acres in southeastern Ohio making it one of Ohio’s largest campgrounds. Campers have their choice of primitive camping, parking for their RV, as well as cabin or perhaps teepee rental.  While it isn’t far from the interstate, it is definitely peaceful country and near Seneca Lake. Leaving I-77, take exit 37 to the East  (State Route 313) until you come to the four-way stop at Senecaville.  Make a right hand turn on State Route 285  then shortly a left at the fork on State Route 566, also called Opossum Run Road. After a couple miles, campers will find Buffalo Hills Resort on the left hand side.  

Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island

Nearly 100 years in bloom ! Fifty acres of beautifully landscaped floral beds capture your attention as you wander along the meandering paths through Butchart Gardens near Victoria, British Columbia.  The Canadians certainly created a masterpiece here on Vancouver Island.

Robert and Jennie Butchart, pioneers in the manufacture of Portland Cement, came to Vancouver Island in 1904 because of rich limestone deposits needed for cement production. A few years later, the limestone quarry was exhausted so Mrs. Butchart pictured it replaced with a beautiful garden.  Being transported by horse and cart, tons of top soil were placed on the floor of the quarry.  Little by little the floor blossomed into the spectacular Sunken Garden, which is one of the exquisite spots at Butchart Gardens.

While Mrs. Butchard enjoyed planning her garden, Mr. Butchard collected ornamental birds from all over the world. A parrot lived in their house, peacocks strutted across the front lawn, and birdhouses were placed strategically throughout the garden.

Totem poles carved by artists of the Tsartlip and Tsawout First Nations are a recent addition to the gardens. Totems are very symbolic and designed to tell a story, quite often starting at the bottom. This particular totem tells a story about Butchart Gardens. The bottom figure represents all the people who come to the gardens. In the center is carved a whale, symbolizing the fact that people traveled from afar to arrive here. On top is the mystical, yet powerful, thunderbird, which watches over the gardens and protects it with his outstretched wings.

In 1939, the Butcharts gave the gardens to their grandson, Ian Ross  for quite the spectacular 21st birthday present. Ross Fountain was installed on the 60th Anniversary of the gardens. The Ross Pond with fountain looks great at any season, or any time of the day or night. Today the gardens are still family owned with great-granddaughter, Robin-Lee Clarke, being the present owner/manager.

Through a floral covered archway, visitors find themselves in the relaxing Italian Garden, which includes a dining area where you can sit outside or enjoy the view of the beautifully landscaped pond from inside. Afternoon tea outside under the beautiful hanging baskets, and plants cascading from window boxes, is a scrumptious experience.

Butchart Gardens is delightful every season of the year, which seems quite surprising for Canada. But the gardens are located on the coast so their weather is a little milder than what we might imagine Canada to experience. Beautiful Night Illumination occurs each evening, when the garden looks magical with the flickering lights. Saturday Fireworks draws such large crowds, people sometimes wait in line for hours to get inside the gates.

Every year millions visit these gardens at all seasons of the year in one of the loveliest corners of the world.  Maybe you will get a chance sometime soon to visit there too. During my last visit in the summer when glorious blossoms were at their peak, they even offered me a job in their greenhouse or gift shop.  See you there?

Butchart Gardens can easily be reached from every direction on Vancouver Island. Start out on Route 17, then turn west on Keating X Road, which becomes Benvenuto Avenue and leads directly to the gardens. Cruise ships frequently stop at Vancouver Island and offer transportation to the gardens as well.

Amazing Scenery Along the Pacific Coast Highway

The surprises kept coming on the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway, which began in Washington and continued along the edge of the Pacific Ocean through Oregon and California, stopping at San Diego. Meandering roads kept driving speeds at 15-20 mph, or perhaps it was partly due to the spectacular views. When driving and watching the scenery at the same time, slower speeds were definitely required especially with many steep cliffs at the ocean’s edge.

With beaches galore and piers aplenty, Pacific Coast Highway, also known as America’s Most Beautiful Drive, renewed your spirit and your senses, as you encountered many unusual scenes along the way. This curving highway passed right  through the awesome giant redwoods on a stretch called Avenue of the Giants.This was the place where trees were large enough for a car to drive through or even have a gift shop inside. Words can not describe the wonder of these giants as you attempted  to look skyward  to see their highest branches. These towering trees, rock formations and ocean waves made you realize the power of Mother Nature and the role she plays in our beautiful world.

Even on a foggy morning, the picturesque combination of mountainous cliffs  on one side, and the waves crashing against the rocks on the other, made your heart beat just a little faster. After spotting a sign that said Pebble Beach Golf Links, thought the golfers in my family would be happy to know I stopped for a visit, as this is home to some of the world’s most prestigious golf tournaments.  Evidently it was a day without a tournament scheduled, as admission was granted to drive up to the luxurious lodge and even to walk on the course. My camera definitely wanted to snap a picture of the famous 18th green to prove my story wasn’t fiction.

Near Big Sur the mountains seemed to plunge into the Pacific. Unusual black rock formations rose out of the water to create amazing and different views around each bend of the road.  . These towering black rocks made a sharp contrast against the constant waves of the Pacific and the blue sky. Surfers in their wetsuits rode the waves and kayaks bounced across the ocean. A couple young men enjoyed hang gliding and the winds must have been perfect that day as they were airborne  for a very long time.  Might have to try that on another trip to experience the sensation of flying! Everywhere you felt the happiness of people relaxing from the cares of the day.

There was no resisting the temptation to find a place to pull off the road and walk on the beaches. Leave your shoes behind so you can feel the power of the waves wash over your feet. Two golden labs approached with a frisbee in their mouth so ended up the day playing catch with the labs.  Memories of the ocean will live on, long after the footprints in the sand are gone.

The Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1, begins in Oxnard, Washington and continues along the coast through Oregon into California all the way to San Diego. Sometimes Highway 101 bends inland so watch carefully if you want to enjoy the scenic journey along the coastal region.

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