Living the Sweet Life            Eden Gardens October 2023

Hey my Sweet Lifers! 

Well I spent most of the tail end of my summer and into fall stomping up and down the roads all along 30A in Florida. There are so many parks and unspoiled sea lines it’s breath taking. A peaceful and preserved place for every creature great and small to live a sweet life. Florida surprised us as we were delighted with the tall pines reminding us of our North Carolina heritage and a sea that is as beautiful as we have ever dipped into.

One special place is a garden called Eden where publisher Lois Maxson purchased the garden in 1963 for around twelve thousand five hundred dollars. It is beyond breathtaking and a place where you can almost see the grounds filled with ladies sipping lemonade and children playing all around. There’s the beautiful Wesley house, and there’s the 600 year old wedding tree which can not be missed as she stretches herself sprawling; leaving a path for squirrels to scamper and butterflies to meander in her dappled shade. Originally, the land was purchased by William Henry Wesley in the 1890’s and their home was home base for their lumber company from 1890 until after World War I. The property sits against the unspoiled Tucker bayou on the southwest corner of Choctawhatchee bay. By the time that Lois Maxson found and purchased it there had been several years of disrepair. She spent a million in restoration of both the gardens and the house with 163 acres of majestic oaks and installed a looking glass pond. On Christmas Eve in 1968 Miss. Maxson donated all of her estate to the state of Florida.

Brian and I spent an afternoon wandering through the gardens and you could feel the spirits of those who had once escaped into her loving arms so long ago. We saw a raccoon walking about near Tucker Bayou. He nodded to us as if to say “Have a wonderful day ma’am!”and went on about his business. We smelled sweet delightful roses in the garden and we stood under the moss covered stately trees watching as the breeze swayed their hang. It is a place where I envision myself setting up an easel and painting, dropping a pole and watching for some supper to catch my hook and of course with yellow butterflies sprinting about; a place that I will write most likely many books God willing. It feels like home. 

Take Care of You and Stay “Sweet!” 


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