Intending to visits best Gardens/Parks in the US? Say no more... Try these three!
NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN
Ø New York
In New York City, there is a thriving plant life. Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife Elizabeth Gertrude Britton visited the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London in 1888, and were inspired to create a magnificent, great garden in New York as a result of their visit.
A sprawling, luxurious 250-acre (101 ha) landscape was created on a native forest site cut through by the Bronx River, and it now boasts an unparalleled collection of more than a million plants as well as architecturally magnificent historic structures. An enormous Victorian glasshouse housing 11 habitats including American and African deserts, rain forests, aquatic and carnivorous plants is the Garden's crowning achievement. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is soaring and light-filled, and it serves as the Garden's focal point. The Thain Family Forest, located in the Garden's heart and particularly vibrant when the leaves turn red and orange in the autumn, is the largest remaining piece of New York City's original wooded landscape and is also worth mentioning.
In addition to a conifer arboretum, which is stunning in the winter snowfalls and resplendent with cherry trees in the spring; a meticulously designed rose garden; and an azalea garden, which erupts into a canvas of bright pink, purple, and coral flowers in late April and early May, the NYBGS 50 gardens are intertwined with nearly a mile of walking paths. This is truly a delight all year long.
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
Ø NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA
Bringing Appalachia's rugged ridgeline under control. The carefully curated vistas of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which swoop gracefully into valleys from raptorlike heights, have become iconic images of the United States. It passes through fields that were farmed by Native Americans centuries ago, 19th-century pioneer homesteads and mills, and the hazy peaks of the southern Alleghenies as it travels from western Virginia into North Carolina. In addition to being known as America's Favorite Drive, the parkway also offers a slow road S. through a spectacular landscape, with a 45-mph (72-kilometer-per-hour) speed limit.
The 469-mile (755-km) road, which is bridged with stone and curves around the highest peaks in the eastern United States, was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and opened to traffic in 1935. It took more than half a century to complete. Engineering teams blasted 26 tunnels through solid mountain rock, leaving other summits to serve as a visual break between the views. While orchestrating a series of pastoral panoramas along the course of the highway, landscape architect Stanley Abbott strategically repositioned silvery weathered cabins and other built elements along the course of the highway.
Those who come today can see the first blush of purple rhododendrons climbing up the hillsides in the spring, or contrast the brilliant autumn foliage of the ridgelines with the still-summery meadows beneath them in the fall. Hiking trails that have been well-maintained are marked by historic signs and markers.
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK
History is something to savour. On the outskirts of Hot Springs, Arkansas, there isn't much room for the dizzying pace of modern life - at least not at the northern end of town, where the city meets the border of a national park. Bathhouse Row, where elegant buildings sit atop a paved-over creek of thermal mineral water, is the focal point of the historic section of town, which was known as the American Spa in the 1800s and early 1900s.
These luxurious bathhouses, built between 1892 and 1923 out of marble, stained glass, and other high-end materials, were a significant upgrade from the original canvas tents and wood-frame bathhouses that drew in those seeking to soak in-and drink up-the healing waters in the early days of the railroad. Nowadays, Hot Springs is a mix of spa town, historical site, and shopping destination all rolled into one. Hot Springs' history is well documented by the National Park Service, but the best way to truly experience the place is to dive in—or, better yet, slip in—and truly soak up the aroma and history. A sliver of America's original eight spas-the Buckstaff Bath House and Quapaw Baths & Spa-still use natural hot spring water, serving as a historical link between the country's first spa craze and our modern-day adoration for treatments.
Despite the fact that Bathhouse Row isn't the only thing to see on Central Avenue, and the town wasn't just known for its hot water, it was also a hotbed of gangster activity and a favourite hangout for politicians, whether coincidentally or not. A stroll down the boulevard should include stops at the opulent Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, where you can walk among the columns where Al Capone and his cronies used to congregate, and the informative Gangster Museum of America, where you can learn everything there is to know about organised crime and organised crime figures. While the buildings appear to be stuck in time, the National Park Service has embraced the modern era in its commitment to finding new uses for some of the former bathhouses.
There are a number of contemporary businesses that have opened in these historic buildings, including the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery, which is a great place to cap off a bathhouse day with even more fiery waters (and a bite to eat). You shouldn't be surprised to see people walking around with water jugs as you explore. Several spigots located throughout the city allow residents and visitors to take their drinking water on the go. Even the National Park Service sells memento water jugs in its gift shop as a way of commemorating visitors to the park. It's important to remember, however, that Hot Springs got its name for a reason: the water is an average of 143°F (62°C).