Friday, May 13, 2011

Dawes Arboretum

On Mother's Day, we took a little trip out to Dawes Arboretum, which is located in Newark, OH.  It's really beautiful there - 1,800 acres of trees, flowers and gardens.  I've been there a couple of times before, but DH never had & the kids didn't remember the time I took them, so it seemed like a nice place to go on a beautiful Spring day!

Since Dawes is so big, we limited our trip to the area around the Dawes house, roaming around the gardens and trees near the house and then taking a tour of the house.

The small portion of the arboretum we visited was full of gorgeous, mature trees.  Almost every tree has a sign near it, telling you what kind of tree it is.  If it was a special planting, there is a plaque at the base of tree, letting you know who planted to tree & the year it was planted.  One huge mature tree I saw had a sign stating it had been planted in 1935.  It was so idyllic and peaceful, wandering from one enormous tree to the next.

The dogwood trees were in bloom:

This is an appropriately named shagbark hickory:

After wandering around for a while, we made our way to the Dawes house.  The house was built around 1867 and was purchased by Beman and Bertie Dawes in 1917 to be their country home.  At the time, the house was situated on 140 acres.  When the Dawes' founded the arboretum in 1929, they purchased additional acreage, and at that time had 293 acres.  Anyway, the house is a lovely brick home with 12 foot ceilings, almost all of the Dawes' original belongings....and no photography allowed!  But it was a real treat to be on the tour and see their home.  And, thankfully, none of the Bachsters broke anything - there were antique breakables everywhere!  That earned them a trip for ice cream afterwards!

After our tour, we checked out the garden:

The best part of the day was the pond behind the Dawes house.  Our oldest saw a salamander as we approached, and there were whirligig beetles all over the place (we love whirligigs).  Then our 5-year-old caught a damselfly - she was so thrilled!

We explored the Cypress Swamp on our way out of the arboretum, hoping to see salamanders again (no luck, but I spotted a very cool beetle).  We really just scratched the surface of this lovely place.  I still haven't been to the Japanese Garden & it's one of Dawes' highlights.  There are also lots of trails to explore, an observation tower to climb, an area of magnolias (I must check that out next Spring).....many, many reasons to return.  But at that point, we were all tired and definitely ready for that ice cream!


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