Ok...this has to be one of the coolest most unique and magical places I have been to in a while. A couple of years ago I saw a friend post a few pictures on Facebook about this place and unfortunately she did not check in, I know who does that right? and the only indication of the location was a comment she made about being in a rock quarry. So off I went on my google search...rock quarry garden in Florida, botanical garden in Florida rock quarry, flowers in Florida rock quarry, waterfalls in rock quarry. Well, let me make this much easier for you guys...
I have had this on my bucket list for 2 years and so has my big sister. Sadly, with extremely busy lives we have just not been able to get there. So, on the rare occasion that I had the day off, I had no pictures to edit, or kids to take to and from school, or dog with a broken leg, yes, he broke his leg a few weeks ago, I was determined to make the 2 hour drive to Williston FL. I grabbed my phone, called my sis, grabbed my camera, grabbed my 13 year old daughter and niece and we headed out. The drive up there alone is really enough to make you go, you pass tons of rolling hills, and farm land. The entrance to the garden is nestled in what seems to be a neighborhood and leads you off road up a rocky hill to the top of the quarry. As we drove up the hill we encountered and entire herd of cows just grazing on the grass enjoying the open and airy hillside. Once inside you are greeted by Allie, the company dog and her friendly humans ready to welcome you inside.
This oasis was not always beautiful. Founded almost 23 years ago by Dr. Raymond Webber, this once hundred year old retired lime rock quarry was nothing more than a blank slate. At first, Dr. Webber wanted this to be a giant fishing pond, but over the years the idea for Cedar Lakes Woods and Garden grew to so much more. He decided to take his love of gardening to the next level and rock by rock he built the quarry into a garden that you will not find anywhere else in FL. The walls, floors and every inch of the once drab quarry is an enchanting garden, walking along the bridges, pathways, and stone steps makes you feel like you're in a fairytale, and the icing on the cake are the 2 resident swans living in the garden Sir Lancelot and his mate Gwenevere who is currently busy sitting on some eggs. Congrats love birds!
As we walked along the garden you could see how much love and dedication has been put into the garden. Everything from roses, azaleas, orchids, several flowing trees, a Japanese garden, bridges, gazebo, several waterfalls, a stocked koi pond, and a wooden hammock on it's own island, is the perfect place to enjoy the magnificent Florida weather year around. Now, for parents...I will mention, that if you want to walk around the entire garden leave the wooden hammock for last. It was a little difficult trying to get my niece and daughter up from the hammock and back on the pathway. Actually, now that I'm writing this...I'm realizing that it was actually my sister and daughter resting on the wooden hammock. Oh, and let me just mention the staff...they are truly excited you are there and are all super informative.
If you're looking for a view, then the Japanese garden has to be the best place for that. Perched high above the quarry you will find the largest waterfall and just above that, a massive Japanese inspired pavilion, climb the stairs to the top, and you will find a picnic table. Sitting high above the garden in this gorgeous structure makes you feel like the entire garden is yours and yours alone. Cedar Lakes offers events through out the year, be sure to click the link below and see what's going on in the garden.