Eden lights up for the holidays

December 10, 2008

Wesley mansion at Eden State Gardens. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors
Wesley mansion at Eden State Gardens. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The historic Wesley House decorated through the holidays

One of the most beautiful parks in Walton County sits along Tucker Bayou in Point Washington in Southern Walton County. Large moss covered live oaks, gardens, walking trails and panoramic views of the bayou provide a visual delight for the visitor to this dynamic and historic State Park.

The focal point of the park is a newly repainted mansion – the two-story Wesley house with large white columns and wrap-around porch. Originally owned by the Wesley’s a wealthy Florida timber family, the mansion was purchased in 1963 by Lois Maxon who renovated the home, and created a showplace for family heirlooms and antiques. The collection of Louis XVI furniture is the second largest in the United States. The house is now owned by the State of Florida, and is the centerpiece of the park.

Through the month of December, the mansion lights up for the holidays thanks to a local volunteer group, The Friends of Eden, and other local volunteers who have assisted in decorating the house for the holidays. The house is now decorated and open to view every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays through Dec. 31. The rest of the park is open 7 days a week.

Eight local groups have decorated each room of the mansion in different themes, The Cultural Arts Association, The Seagrove Garden Club, The Green Thumb Garden Club, Seaside Chapel, Historic Point Washington Association, Windswept Ladies Association, The Custom House and the Women’s Art Network. You can vote for your favorite room, with the winners awarded plants and bragging rights.

There will be volunteers dressed in period clothes to describe in detail the history and features in each room. There will also be a special chef dressed in period clothing, cooking food in the style reminiscent of the 1850-1860s.

About the Friends of Eden
The Friends of Eden Gardens State Park is a volunteer organization of approximately 150 members with a core group of about 25 who assist the state park staff in repairs, maintenance and enhance the garden facilities. The park covers 124 upland acres with more than 10 acres of public grounds.

For more information about the Friends of Eden go to http://www.friendsofedengardens.org/

Hours of Operation
The park is open 7 days a week. Guided tours of the Wesley Mansion are available hourly Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (including holidays)

Directions
Eden Gardens State Park is located in Point Washington, off U.S. 98 on C.R. 395.
For more information, call 850-231-4214.
181 Eden Garden Road, Point Washington, Fl. 32459
The parks website is
http://www.floridastateparks.org/edengardens

[geo_mashup_map]
Park Fees
$3.00 per vehicle
$1.00 for Bikes and Peds
$3.00 per adult house tour
$1.50 per Child house tour