Friends are flowers in the garden of life. ~ Proverb

By Dalia Colon

Ashley and I have been best friends since we were 3, when her family moved in down the street from mine. Twenty-seven years later, we live 1,200 miles apart but catch up as though nothing's changed.

Ashley is by far the sweetest flower in my friendship garden. So it was only fitting that when Ashley came to visit me for one last girlfriends' getaway before I became a mom, our weekend included a stop at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales. If you're looking for something different to do with your BFF, try these ideas:

1) Do lunch. Ashley's a foodie (growing up, we worked in her parents' restaurant). So when it comes to eating out, she's a tough customer. But even she had to admit the selection at Bok Tower Gardens' Blue Palmetto Cafe goes beyond the standard museum cafeteria fare. We daintily enjoyed our salads... and then split a brownie. Isn't that what BFFs are for?

2) Take in a concert. Ashley and I have come a long way since performing "Hot Cross Buns" on our recorders during kindergarten recitals. Now that we're grown-ups, we have grown-up muscial tastes. So Bok Tower Gardens' twice-daily carillon concerts are more our speed. And now that we're allowed to stay up after dark, the monthly Moonlight Concerts are a nice way to unwind.

3) Join the club. Forget gym memberships and book clubs. Why not pay for a membership you'll actually enjoy using? Perks range from private tower tours (talk about bonding!) to discounts at other area museums, depending on your level of membership.

4) Plan your wedding. What's more picturesque than getting married in a garden? And who better to help check out the scene than your BFF. For details on getting hitched at Bok Tower Gardens, fill out the form and download the Wedding Guide at

5) One word: Shop. Window shopping is fun. Shopping for real is even better. And with affordable gifts and souvenirs, the Bok Tower Gardens gift shop is full of wallet-friendly ways to commemorate your girlfriends' getaway.

To start planning your visit, check out