Nehrling Gardens

Nehrling Gardens is a hidden gem in Gotha, located to the west of the greater Orlando metropolitan area. Dr. Henry Nehrling purchased forty acres in 1885 to perform horticultural research. Julian and Maggie Nally bought the property in 1935. After they died, developers purchased all but the remaining six acres. The Henry Nehrling Society took charge of grounds and the historic house in 2009. Nehrling Gardens is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Florida Heritage Landmark.


We came during their annual amaryllis festival. I have a black thumb so I didn’t care about the plants, which you could buy for $10 or so, but I love to stroll along shady paths at parks. This one didn’t disappoint. The mulched walking trails require diligence, but we watched our footing and did fine.


My attention was drawn to the historical house built in the late 1880s. We noticed how it had an inviting screened porch on stilts in back.


Vendors had set up shop to sell wares during this event, and musicians played near the entrance. I didn’t realize Gotha had originally been a German colony. That would explain the food truck at the park selling German cuisine.

If you walk all the way to the back and down a slight hill, you come upon Lake Nally.

The shady paths provide for a peaceful stroll. If you’re in the area, stop by to see this garden. It reminded me of Leu Gardens in Winter Park and Fairchild Gardens in Miami, albeit on a much smaller scale.



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Nature Trails in Local Parks

While our South Florida weather was perfectly temperate last weekend, we took advantage by exploring our local parks. Once the humidity kicks in, it’ll get too hot and buggy. So here’s where we took our daily walks:

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

On East Sunrise Blvd near A1A is the turnoff into this state park. We parked in the first lot and took the woodsy trail, enjoying the shade and searching for wildlife. We’d seen big turtles here before but they were hiding this time.

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Then we strode down a sandy path to the café and gift shop. Beyond this you can cross to Fort Lauderdale Beach. We walked a while along the street, admiring the glistening ocean and the boats in the distance.

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Our stomachs hungry for lunch, we stopped at the café on our way back and ate burgers. Then we drove around to the Intracoastal side for another stroll, watching the yachts and water taxis glide by.

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Tree Tops Park

Off Nob Hill Road near I-595, this shady park offers nature trails among decades-old trees, a boardwalk over a freshwater marsh, picnic tables, rental boats on a lake, and equestrian trails. It also has a trail on Pine Island Ridge, the highest elevation in the county at 29 feet above sea level. There’s a sculpture dedicated to a great Seminole leader as well behind the main building complex. The park is also listed on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.

We like the woods and started at the path near this tower that we climbed to the top for a view among the tree canopy.

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Then we followed to trail to the swampy area where we could see catfish and turtles in the murky water. I noticed an abundance of snails that hadn’t been there before.


Plantation Preserve Linear Trail

The Linear Park at Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club is a pleasant trail that loops around for 1.1 miles. This trail offers a historical Indian burial mound, varied native shrubbery, birds, and rabbits. Yes, this was the first time we’d seen the critters, and I counted about eight of them as we strode on.



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