Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Holiday Home Tour at Bok Tower Gardens

Pinewood Estate

Bok Tower Gardens is one of Florida’s hidden gems. It sounds funny calling a 205-foot tower on top of the highest point on the Florida peninsula “hidden”, but somehow it is. Close to the busy theme parks of Orlando, it feels a million miles away.

We’d been to Bok Tower Gardens once before, but this weekend’s visit had a different purpose – to take the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate. Pinewood Estate is a Spanish-style home built in the early 1930’s as a winter retreat for Charles Austin Buck, the vice president of Bethlehem Steel. It was acquired by Bok Tower Gardens in 1970 and is now open to the public with admission to the gardens.

Each year at Christmastime, Pinewood Estate is transformed into a winter wonderland by designers and volunteers. Since this year was the 20th anniversary of the Holiday Home Tour, the design themes for the rooms were selected from the best themes of the past 19 years. Every room was beautifully and differently decorated – from the whimsical “not a creature was stirring” theme in Mr. Buck’s suite (complete with little field mice) to the uber-ornate tree explosion in Mr. Buck’s daughter Lucy’s bedroom. Something new this year was an Elf on the Shelf in each of the major rooms. Ron and I had fun trying to spot all the elves, although Ron was a lot better at it than I was. I was so busy taking pictures that a couple of times I took a picture of an elf without even realizing it. So many Christmas decorations! I was one happy girl. :-)

After we were done touring the estate, we had lunch at the garden’s cafe, wandered the grounds and listened to the carillon bells playing Christmas music. There wasn’t as much color in the gardens as there was on our last visit (it is December, after all), but the Visitor Center had a beautiful display of red and white poinsettias.

the loggia

dining room

living room

carolers and elf
When I took this picture, I didn't see the elf until Ron pointed it out

carolers detail
How did I miss that?

Mr. Buck's suite
Mr. Buck's Suite

not a creature was stirring

children's room
Children's Room

children's room bed

Lucy's room
exploding tree

Lucy's closet
Lucy's closet

Pinewood Estate fountain

Pinewood Estate door


Bok Tower Gardens Visitor's Center
plant identification display at the Visitor Center

Bok Tower
Bok Tower

Bok Tower door
tower door

Bok Tower

Travel Tips: The Holiday Home Tour will be open daily through January 4. Hours are Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.


  1. Thank you, Susan, for taking us along with you on this beautiful holiday tour! You and I have always enjoyed looking at houses, old and new. Did you notice the dressing table in the children's room - so like my grandmother's which became mine and then yours. I guess it qualifies as an antique now!

  2. Really beautiful! And perfect timing, with an anniversary year, so you could see particularly good theme examples.