On our third anniversary, my husband and I visited the Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, AR and loved it. Ever since then, I've longed to go back. When my son wanted to visit Ouachita Baptist University down the road in Arkadelphia, I had to take the opportunity to see it again. Even though we arrived just before the height of spring, the magic of the garden was just as beautiful as I remembered. My kids agreed.
Tucked away in the scenic Ouachita Mountains of Southwest Arkansas, the gardens are a refreshing gift to all who visit. With a balance of wooded beauty and serene lake views, the paths through the gardens provide the perfect place for relaxing with friends and family.
When we arrived, the tulips and daffodils were just starting to bloom. I can't imagine how incredible this place would be at the height of spring and summer.
There are so many unique areas to explore including beautiful bridges, waterfalls, and pavilions. I love watching my kids when we get back out in the midst of natural beauty. They each respond differently. My son breathes deeper and walks slower, my middle daughter smiles brighter and engages with others more, and my youngest daughter runs faster and observes intricacies more. It is a wonderful thing.
Watching my kids respond to the dormant garden, bustling with promise of spring, reminded me how important it is to soak up the beauty of God's creation. Slowing down is counter cultural. Our lives are packed with so many "good things" that we don't even have time to watch the drama playing out before us in creation.
I think this is why I love to travel with my kids. Traveling gets us out of our routine just enough to give ourselves permission to sit and admire a beautiful pond, marvel at the design of a flower, or breathe in the fresh air.
I'm working on not inviting so many activities into our lives that we can enjoy more times like this at home. However, sometimes we need a change of scenery to help us remember what it feels like to truly rest and relax.
Anne of Green Gables would have greatly approved of this garden as it offered great "scope for the imagination." I would have loved to have sat among the tulips and sketched them or dreamed up a fairy story that fit with the fairy garden. So much beauty inspires creativity because we desire to reflect the creativity God displays in his workmanship.
If you ever find yourself traveling through Hot Springs, Arkansas, make sure to make time for this glorious garden. Your soul will be thoroughly refreshed.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.