Our Morning at Airlie Gardens

I had told my husband and boys that one of my "must see" items on our trip to North Carolina was to go to Airlie Gardens and see my sister's owl.  I have heard so much about these gardens from my sister, aunt, and mother but had never been there and while I really wanted to see the garden themselves I could not wait to see the owls. 



Each year Airlie gardens picks a statue theme and has local artists decorate them; artists submit design ideas and so many are chosen.  The completed statues are displayed around the park and then auctioned off after a certain period of time.  It's a great fundraiser for the gardens and I would bet it brings in lots of extra visitors at a time of year where the gardens aren't at their best.  My sister was chosen as one of the artists this year and while she shared lots of photos of the whole process with us I really wanted to see it in person.

We started wandering around the gardens; which sit alongside the water and take up 67 acres of land. 

The Airlie oak is almost 500 years old




They have a long dock that extends over the water and we saw so many birds. 



One of the first owls we came upon-- each has a plaque with the name of the artwork and the artists name. You can walk all around the owls to see all the details.


There are lots of ponds and bodies of water throughout the park and we saw turtles and even more birds.



I wish I had snapped a photo of the backside of this owl; the detail was just incredible with all the repeating patterns and everything done in shades of blue and white. 



This is my sister's owl!  And would you believe I didn't think to snap a photo of the backside of this one either?!  There's a beautiful sunset and more trees... 





I loved that some artists added "extras" to their owls like this crown, extra eyes, and face (that we think were made out of clay).










I got a shot of the family examining this wizarding owl up close.








This suck was sleeping near the fountain and kept opening one eye to keep an eye on us. 



A weaving spider and web.


I loved the crown of flowers added to this owl's head.


The boys all enjoyed the butterfly building-- we saw lots of butterflies!
 












Once back outside we headed over to another fountain.



This mosaic owl was just amazing! In certain spots you could see the white of the owl sculpture through the colored glass pieces so they almost seemed to glow. 




Another really neat sight was the Bottle Chapel.  My aunt was telling us that back when it was built it was a real community project as everyone was asked to save their glass bottles to donate. The more we looked at it the more details we saw.  It was really neat!








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Comments

  1. What a lovely park! I really like the flowers in the butterfly house. You should be very proud of your sister!

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    1. I definitely am! It was so neat to see the whole process as she shared each step of it with us.

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  2. Oh my gosh these gardens are just beautiful- you must have loved it there!

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  3. What a stunning garden. Those owls are just amazing works of art.

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    1. I seriously thought of bidding on one... until we learned that bidding starts around $5,000 (definitely out of my price range).

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  4. The owls are amazing, and I love your shots of real birds as well!

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    1. Thanks! We saw a really beautiful rainbow colored bird too but it flew away before I could get the photo.

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  5. This is a place I would love! The owls are so cool and much bigger than I thought - I could only tell in the picture with the family too!

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    1. Yes, they are around 4 feet tall so definitely a good size.

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  6. I love visiting all kinds of gardens, this one is really beautiful! And the owls are gorgeous with all those great details! I can totally see myself forgetting to photograph the back of them too!

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    1. We were having a ball walking all around them and inspecting all the details.

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  7. What a beautiful place! I love all of the owls!

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    1. They really are such neat works of art and all of them are so unique.

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  8. So pretty! I love all of the owl statues too!

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    1. That was definitely the highlight for me having dabbled in the arts all my life.

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  9. Oh wow! What an exciting place to visit, especially with your sisters owl. It sounds like such an honour. The owls are fantastic. x

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    1. I thought it was a real honor too! I can't remember how many submissions they get each year but I know it's a large number of them and the committee has a hard time narrowing them down.

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  10. Such a beautiful garden to visit. Love the butterflies and the owls. You must be so proud 0f your sister. Have a happy week.

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  11. What a great looking place! The owls made me smile as I did a tour around Bath in UK a few years ago when they were all over the city. I loved the brightness and the stories they told. I wrote a post about it called A Hoot of a time in Bath!

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    1. I'm going to have to go check out that post; it sounds so fun!

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  12. What a fabulous park, and I love the owls as well. Some beautiful designs.

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    1. They really did have some beautiful designs.

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  13. How wonderful was this walk around a beautiful space and to see the owls too...especially your sister's!

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, the optional prompt is Time. I hope to see you link up again. Warmest wishes, Denyse.

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    1. It was a wonderful walk around; and the heat had broken so it wasn't too hot to enjoy either.

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  14. What a beautiful garden! I don't know if I'll ever make it to NC again, but if I do, this is on my bucket list. What a cool fund raiser too!

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    1. I thought it was a fabulous fund raising idea too; it's been very successful for them in the past.

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  15. That place has something for everybody! The owls are a very cool exhibit along with the beautiful flowers and creatures.

    Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!

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