Sunday, April 21, 2024

4/8 Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Historic Spanish Point

I've been driving for several days in a row and recovering from a bunch of infected mosquito bites that required me to go to urgent care a few days ago, so I am late getting several items posted.  I have downloaded photos, so hope I can get them sorted and posted by later tonight.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I visited the second of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.  This one is several miles south of Sarasota along the Gulf of Mexico, at a place called Spanish Pointe.  It originally consisted of a large family compound with several homes and was donated to the botanical gardens because of its location and variety of plants. 

I parked my big motorhome at the entrance parking lot, and started walking, following the signs below. 

What I did NOT know was that I had parked at the public library lot, which acted as an overflow lot for the botanical gardens.  This meant that I had a very long walk to the real parking lot and entrance!! (They gave me a ride in a golf cart on the way back.)

There is a lot of walking in this botanical garden even when you DO get to the right parking lot and entrance booth!  One of the first buildings I found was what had originally been a garage and utility building, but was now an archeological museum.   
Ancient peoples also lived in this area, particularly on the peninsula where these homes are located.  Because this Gulf here was loaded with oysters, the ancient peoples picked thees up from the shallow water and ate them in groups on the peninsula, building up a "midden" of shells over hundreds and thousands of years.  Such middens are common throughout the world and became the foundations for living structures, including this building.  (See also the Neolithic community of Skara Brae that I visited in Scotland that is built into a midden: )

On the left, behind the glass, is a section of the oyster midden here.

And a closeup of the shells in the midden.  Lots and lots of meals of oysters eaten here! 

This is the end of the peninsula looking out over the waterway and homes in the distance.

Another home at the end of the peninsula.  

Another view looking down the peninsula. 

The main home was located about halfway back along the peninsula, and has a lovely, formal garden.

The house is now used as a restaurant, serving very good food. 

After a pleasant lunch, I headed back down the trail to another part of the gardens.

This area has a lot of mangroves and also oyster beds.

This is part of an aqueduct that the owner had built to provide water for her fountains.


Another one of the homes.  This one was open to the public to view the inside, however.

Very interesting crooked tree in the yard!!

While there is not much original furniture, other than the hand-carved bed seen here, the paneling is gorgeous.  I am guessing it is cypress.

Most of the paneling is just straight-grain wood, but the "curly" cypress on the stairs is amazing!!

It was a pleasant day with a cool breeze coming off the Gulf.  Before air conditioning, homes of the well-to-do in Florida were built along the coast for those breezes and also because originally, it was easier to get to them via boats than roads, which were mostly lacking back then.   

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