Contributed by Tara Bush
There's a hidden gem in Williston Florida. Where's Williston you say? A short drive southwest of Gainesville and northwest of Ocala. Located in beautiful horse country, sandwiched between the Blue Grotto Dive Park and Devil's Den Historic Spring, the Cedar Lake Woods and Gardens is a geological masterpiece. The botanical gardens boosts cascading waterfalls, large koi ponds and breathtaking views. Florida is primarily flat so the waterfalls were created from the 110 year old abandoned limestone quarry. The excavated rock was used to construct Highway 27. Originally purchased as a private giant fishing pond, but slowly, rock after rock, it was transformed. After 26 years of hard work, the gardens opened in 2014 for the public to enjoy.
In June the park opened to their first car show among the shade trees at the entrance to the park. The drive to the park off the main road was something of a challenge and should not be attempted by low riding vehicles. At first glance the front entrance appears to still be abandoned and the road is bumpy but the many flock of birds showed that the environment was perfect for them. But then a slight drive through the woods and a beautiful field emerged, perfect for a car show.
After wandering around and visiting with car owners, it was time to take in the gardens. The main path wanders through the woods along the top rim of the quarry. Another path meanders through the sunshine going from one island to another along the water's edge. There was a food truck plus a covered pavilion with a musician. Knowing the heat in June, we arrived early to make the most out of the “coolest” part of the day. By early afternoon, the heat drove us home. We stopped by the famed Yard Art Emporium in Barberville where they advertise 3 acres of whimsical pieces. There is something for every tacky person here.
It was an enjoyable morning driving along the backroads in a classic convertible and I would encourage everyone to see it at least once. The next show is June 18 and information can be found HERE.