By Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher ©2016
Spring in North Carolina is a burst of colors, fragrances, sounds, tastes and sensations that will awaken your soul just like the warm southern breezes awaken the bulbs and buds that have waited through a drizzly winter to come to life. Bring your sunglasses because when the Carolina blue sky appears, your eyes will be overwhelmed with beauty.
The Azalea Gardens behind the WRAL-TV 5 television studios on Western Boulevard are open all year and provide a different look for each season. Many think springtime is the best time to walk along the well-maintained paths that showcase thousands of flowers as well as whimsical artworks and fountains. It’s hard to believe this idyllic, pastoral location – spread on 3/4 of an acre – is located next to North Carolina State University. Keep in mind the blooms come on all through the spring, so the peak time varies from year to year.
The gardens are open free to the public all year from dawn until dusk. There is free convenient parking plus no reservations needed. Bring your camera (check out some of our photos and clips on the accompanying slideshow and video). You can bring food to enjoy at one of the picnic tables provided. Note: No grilling is allowed, alcoholic beverages are prohibited, and trash must be removed. Many benches are available throughout the garden, and restrooms are open during the spring. Smoking and pets, however, are not permitted.
There are 45 different varieties planted in the garden, but there’s more than just flowers. You will find birdhouses, wind chimes, fountains and artwork throughout the site. For example, there’s a whimsical bench where three wise monkeys sit, depicting their well-known phrase “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”
All in all, the site is a positive message of not only WRAL’s commitment to giving back to the community, but also to making beauty accessible for everyone. For a chance to let nature wash over you, make an effort to visit.
If You’re Going: Get more info on the gardens at http://www.wral-gardens.com or call 800-532-5343 or 919-890-6000. WRAL-TV’s Azalea Gardens are located behind the WRAL-TV 5 studios at the intersection of Western Boulevard and Avent Ferry Road, just across the street from North Carolina State University. The main entrance can be accessed from Centennial Parkway. There’s no admission and plenty of free parking.
Also, go to www.visitraleigh.com for a wealth of information on the City of Raleigh – what to see and do, where to eat and stay and more.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy:
• Other stories by Newbern and Fletcher
• Other Stories by JS Fletcher
• Stories by Kathy M. Newbern, Luxury Travel Examiner
International and Luxury Travel Examiners J.S. Fletcher and spouse, Kathy M. Newbern, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.