While you are attending the NAHB
International Builders’ Show® (IBS) this coming January, you should plan to
visit a few sites outside the convention center. One favorite pastime for many
building industry professionals is experiencing historical tours—to take in the
architecture and breathtaking gardens that often accompany these preserved
found three unique homes in the greater Orlando area that are listed on the National Register of Historic
Places that you may want to consider touring this January.
Located just minutes from downtown
Orlando, the Harry P. Leu Gardens are nestled adjacent to Lake Rowena and boast
50 acres of pathways with over 40 plant collections from across the
In addition to the beautiful
gardens, visitors can also tour the Leu House Museum—a restored 19th-century
home. In 1936, Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane, purchased the property,
and during their worldly travels, they brought back plants and seeds for their
“Leu Gardens demonstrates plant
materials suitable for cultivation in USDA Zone 9b. The climate of Central
Florida permits Leu Gardens to grow and enjoy a wide array of temperate and
tropical plants.” 
can take a self-guided tour of the gardens or schedule a 30-minute home tour
between 10:00 AM and 3:30 PM.
Stetson Mansion is hailed as the “largest, grandest, and
most historic home ever built in Florida before the 20th century.” It is located less than an
hour from Orlando, in Deland.
The house was designed by popular
Philadelphia architect, George T. Pearson, in 1886 as a winter retreat for famed
hatmaker, John B. Stetson. It was the only richly detailed “Gilded
Age” mansion built in Florida. The home’s architectural design includes 16
of the nation’s most rare and intricate parquet wood floors and 10,000 pans of
original lead glass windows.
“The Stetsons were known for
hosting magnificent parties and gatherings for local townsfolk and elite
society including President Cleveland, the King
and Queen of England and Henry Flagler, who built a rail spur right to the
estate so friend Thomas Edison could install one of the world’s first home
still a private residence, the estate has recently been restored and welcomes
guests for tours. A bonus to IBS 2018 attendees: The Christmas Tour will be
open through January 18, 2018.
Listed as a National Historic
Landmark, the Bok Tower Garden professes to be one of Florida’s first
attractions. Located approximately 30 minutes west of Orlando, visitors can
enjoy nearly 50 acres of gardens surrounded by Pinewood Estate, a 20-room
Mediterranean-style 1930s winter retreat and the 205-foot art deco and
neo-Gothic Singing Tower.
One of the largest
attractions is the Singing Tower carillon concert—a 60-bell musical symphony
that is played daily at 1:00 and 3:00 PM.
Visitors can also enjoy a light meal at the Blue Palmetto Café or walk the Pine
Ridge Nature Trail that takes you through a unique habitat that once
covered millions of acres of the Southeastern United States.
“Dedicated in 1929 as a gift of
gratitude from Dutch immigrant Edward Bok, a humanitarian, Pulitzer
Prize-winning author and world peace
advocate, Bok Tower Gardens remains a true American treasure. Today there are
nearly 700 acres of citrus groves, woodland gardens, nature trails,
conservation lands and endangered plants where visitors can explore
breathtaking sights around every corner.”
Continue to follow our blog for
more ideas on how to maximize your time at the Builders’ Show. You can discover
why All Homes Start Here—at BuildersShow.com.
Leu House: By (Ebyabe) – Own work, CC
BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2258849
Stetson Museum: By Ebyabe – Own work,
CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1612667
Bok Tower Garden: By Averette – Own
work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3687211
 Longleaf Pine Trail – Walking & Hiking | Bok Tower Gardens, Bok Tower Gardens is currently closed, https://boktowergardens.org/tower-gardens/pine-ridge-nature-trail/
 Bok Tower Gardens, http://www.visitorlando.com/things-to-do/attractions/Bok-Tower-Gardens/31145/